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Gears of War 3 Beta Impressions

I’ve spent a few hours playing the Gears 3 beta today and I’m so impressed with it that I had a difficult time ripping myself off the TV to write some impressions up for you guys. Excitement to talk about the experience got the better of me though, so here we are!

First thing’s first: the game is not immediately enraging to play because of connection, hosts or lag. The game runs rather smoothly–more so than whatever they’ve been implementing on Gears 2 (since they’ve been testing out their new infrastructure in the updates to Gears 2). There are still some ‘HOW THE FUCK DID THAT HAPPEN, I SHOT THE GUY?!?’ moments, but they’re not very frequent. For the most part I felt like any time I died, it was my fault–and not the result of not actually being where the game shows me, as was often the case in Gears 2.

Secondly, the new arsenal of weapons has effectively spiced the gameplay up. I’m not sure how I feel about the game revolving around power weapons though–especially since it seems as if the spawn timers for power weapons is much, much quicker than 2. Hopefully this is ironed out come launch time, since control of the power weapons means control of the map: and by spawning them so often, players who initially get control will be better able to retain that control.

While we’re on that note let’s talk about some of the new weapons specifically. I’ve got to start with the digger launcher first, since despite having only used it less than a dozen times, it’s already my favorite weapon in the franchise. Gears of War is a game that revolves around cover–we all know this. The digger, however, laughs at your silly little concept of cover. It burrows underneath the map and explodes once it hits either a wall, or a person, whichever comes first. The obvious question, then: what cover? Hitting someone with this slow-moving weapon fills me up with such glee, and it really changes the dynamics surrounding cover. Nothing is as safe or as certain as it used to be when you’re behind cover now.

The sawed off shotgun…there’s not much to say there aside from it being obvious fan service to the legions that cling to the final-destination fox only no items like mentality of shotgun-only play. It has 4 shots, though a single shot can kill multiple people if you’re close enough. It takes forever to reload. I would not be surprised if a good deal of the hardcore players embrace this addition fully, there’s a very decisive no-frills feeling that comes with it. You hit someone, they’re dead–that’s it. The gnasher doesn’t have that certainty, even at close range.

The retro lancer is extremely inaccurate, but god does it hurt if you land the bullets. It’s real draw, I would say, is the OHKO charge move that comes with it. You may surprise enemies who are unaware that you’re not just sprinting, but charging up a deadly assault.

I’ve yet to lay my hands on the one shot, so I don’t have anything to say about that just yet.

In terms of game-types, I only have Team Deathmatch unlocked right now. I’ve never been much for TDM in my shooters, but Epic’s choice to make the lives pooled may soon change that. This means that a single person cannot carry a team. More importantly, it encourages more team-based play because it is in your best interest that everyone performs optimally. On the other hand, it might prompt much abuse from highly skilled players who resent less-skilled players for bringing down the team. Speaking of team-oriented play, however, another welcome addition is the spotting mechanic. Zooming in on an enemy with your left trigger, then clicking in your left stick will ‘spot’ that enemy for the rest of the team. Though not many people do it online at current (there is no indication as to how to do it in-game, however), it is a very useful tool for those of you that want to play as a team.

There’s other things to talk about but the game, it beckons me~

P.S. For those of you wondering, yes, I’m playing as Anya right now. However, it’s not because I finally get to play as a female character in Gears, but because I can’t play as my favorite blue power ranger. Otherwise, I never play as female characters–despite their inclusion, the “right” way to play always feels like donning the male appearance. That probably says something, but I lack the articulation right now to pinpoint what, exactly.

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Save/Kill Carmine Campaign Raises $150k for Child’s Play

Also known as the ‘Fate of Carmine’ campaign, which up until recently had been reported to lean towards saving Carmine. Via sales of avatar items and real shirts, Gears fans managed to raise a six figure check for the charity. And, because of that, Dude Huge would like to thank you:

Now, the question is: will Carmine live? Or will he die? We’ll have to wait until the release of Gears 3, it seems, to find out!

Do You Have Your Gears 2 Wings Yet?

If not, you may want to get on that–Rod Fergusson, Gears of War executive producer, is teasing some sort of prize in Gears 3 for players who have attained the 100th level on Gears 2 multiplayer. “Trust me. Having your wings in Gears 2 will mean something to you in Gears 3. Nuff said,” notes Fergusson. What that prize could be is still a mystery, but golden weapons are always a nice touch.

Getting to level 100, of course, is no easy feat: take this from someone who has invested months’ worth of time (no joke) into the Gears multiplayer and barely has an upper 60th level. Fortunately for you, not only is Gears 3 still a ways away, but there’s also an upcoming XP event on Labor Day. The XP multiplayer is not set in stone yet, since Rod is taking all the Gears of War Facebook fans and dividing by 1k to dictate what the XP multiplier will be–right now there are 21,544 fans, so that means we’re sitting on x21 XP. The counter stops at midnight tonight, so if you’re interested in getting your wings come this Labor Day weekend, make sure to “like” the Gears Facebook page–the more people who like it, the more ridiculous the XP multiplier can be.

In the meantime, make sure to check out the newly released Gears 3 wallpapers–one of which is pictured above–over at the media section of the Gears webpage.

Gears 3 Looks GOOD In Action

Normally, footage gamers see is not reflective of what we actually get to play: we’re plagued with an abundance of misleading CGI animation. There are, of course, some exceptions to this rule: Gears 3 is an example of a game that looks nearly as good in-play as it does in CGI. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at these four animated gifs depicting the multiplayer portion of the game in action.

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Carmine Might Be Saved! ‘Save Carmine’ Shirts Outselling ‘Kill Carmine’ Shirts on XBL

Look at this badass. Look at this fucking badass. That is NOT a guy you want to kill. That’s a guy you want on your team, a guy you’d probably stop to watch every time he decides to curbstomp someone. He carries a grinder with a single hand and he’s taking a chokeslam to an entirely different level with the other hand.

And, the internet agrees with me, so clearly I am right. Y’see, the ‘Save Carmine’ shirts are currently outselling the ‘Kill Carmine’ shirts. I, for one, did my part in purchasing a digital version of the shirts–though I intend on purchasing the physical threads online, too. Yes. Carmine will be saved, and the blue power ranger will deliver us against all evil.

Of course, those sales don’t account for the shirts that were sold at Comic-Con or online. In fact, including those votes might paint a different picture altogether–but I will have faith that the magic of the blue power ranger will prevail. It will be divine intervention by the COG gods.

Buy Your Save/Kill Carmine Shirt Online

Those of you that will be casting your vote to decide Carmine’s fate, good news: you don’t have to buy your avatar fake clothes anymore, because the Comic-Con shirts have appeared online, and you can buy them here. If you’re going to buy one, I’d get on this fast because there are probably very limited numbers of this shirt. They come in sizes small to extra large, and they cost 20 bucks each. Remember, right now the ‘Save Carmine’ shirts are outselling the ‘Kill Carmine’ shirts on XBL!

SAVE CARMINE!

Those of you interested in purchasing the digital threads for your avatar, you should be able to buy them via the XBL marketplace starting on July 29th.

Will Carmine Live? Or Die? You Choose His Fate For Gears of War 3!

This isn’t ‘vote or die,’ people, this is actually serious business. So, we have the Carmine curse, right? There’s one Carmine brother left, and we get to decide his fate. “It’s not easy being a Carmine. In fact, it’s often fatal—just ask Anthony or Benjamin. Oh wait, you can’t. They’re dead. With the release of Gears of War 3 swiftly approaching, things aren’t looking good for the latest lamb to the slaughter, Clayton Carmine—unless you do something about it.”

Yes: we, the people, get to decide whether the last Carmine lives or dies in Gears 3.

All you have to do is buy an avatar shirt stating what your vote is. There’s a ‘save Carmine’ and a ‘Carmine must die’ shirt. The best part? All the proceeds go to the Child’s Play charity.

I’m pretty sure this is the first time a franchise has ever done anything like this. Needless to say I will be casting my vote…right now, I’m leaning toward Carmine dies. Why? Because when Gears 4 rolls out, they’ll have to get momma Carmine in there. Then again, look at this new Carmine:

That looks like one serious motherfucker….look at him! He’s breaking a Locust’s neck with his bare hands. That’s some Chuck Norris shit right there. I’d feel bad killing him. Plus, I always play as the blue power ranger online anyway…hmm…

“Keeping with the series’ tradition, Clayton Carmine will be introduced in the trilogy’s final chapter, and like Anthony and Ben, the newest rookie brother runs the high risk of meeting an early death. However, unlike in the previous games, the Xbox community will choose whether Carmine lives or dies by purchasing special Gears of War 3 avatar gear on Xbox LIVE Marketplace.”

Those that find themselves at Comic-Con this year will be able to cast their votes early–by purchasing an actual shirt.

So, what will you be voting?

Watch Gears of War 3’s Beast Mode in Action

Honestly, I have no idea how I missed this clip during E3.

Things of note:

  • You see a new weapon in action. It shoots something underground, and this travels a short distance, and then explodes. This explosion can kill multiple enemies. Then again, can you name any special weapon in Gears which isn’t OP in the right hands? I can see this new weapon absolutely destroying in King of the Hill–you can bet that it will become the weapon of choice for that mode.
  • A new enemy type. It’s difficult to tell exactly which one, though. We do not, however, get to see it do anything special.
  • Unique powers for the locust shown…you can see the Kantus revive a downed teammate, for example.
  • The wretch is insanely capable. Like, way more capable than I ever remember it being…maybe it’s just stupid enemy AI, because all you need to do is smack it twice. Somehow, in this clip, we see wretches dominating Anya.
  • Tickers look like a crazy ride, thanks to the camera. It’s like roadie-run on CRACK.

All in all, GET HYPED. Class-based systems make pretty much anything better. It’s too bad that your enemies in beast mode can’t be helmed by actual people though.

Will Gears of War 3 Insult You For Sucking?

CliffyB posted a link on his Twitter to this picture, joking that “Gears 3 is being mean to me.”

Is that some sort of ranking? Or is it like Battlefield Bad Company 2, where you get this screen for killing yourself:

Either way, I feel that this screen can only be appropriate whenever a chainsaw kill happens. Of course, since the chainsaw bayonet is CliffyB’s baby, not only will this never happen, but the BS that is the chainsaw will also never disappear.

Brumak Roar: This is How they do it?

CliffyB, probable father to dude of all dudes Nathan Drake, posted a link on his twitter of a video showcasing a motion capture take for his upcoming title, Gears of War 3. See it below:

It’s a mocap for the Brumak, and it’s “menacing” roar. Now, I don’t know about you, but I had no idea that they actually built the monsters in real life and mocapped for the game! That’s insane. And it seems as if they make the monsters to scale, too, because that Brumak is pretty large.  I wonder what they do with the props afterwards? Do they have a room that’s full of those things? And how big will  the tentacle monsters be? Here’s hoping Cliffy releases a video to that too, dubs and all.