Gears of War 3 Beta
Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: Epic Games, Inc.
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Release date: September 20, 2011 (full product)
The Gears of War series has been one where I have loved the single-player campaign; it’s got lots of action and is just really fun to play. I have always felt the multiplayer lagged behind other games, especially Halo and Call of Duty. With this said, I was very anxious to try out the final game in the series, Gears of War 3, and see if they had brought their multiplayer up to snuff. Several of my gripes have been dealt with, others not so much. Hopefully they can be fixed before the final build; this is after all only the beta. Here are my long-standing complaints with Gears multiplayer and how they have been addressed.
Slow match making: This always drove me crazy. In Gears 2 I would wait FOREVER to get into a match. I’m happy to say this has been totally addressed in the beta for Gears 3 and I have only had to wait a fraction of a minute to get into playing. Sometimes I’ve noticed that I’m stuck as an observer while a computer controlled player is still going, but I’d rather that than a wait screen.
Slow player movement: The people just feel so clunky in Gears. I always felt this more in the multiplayer. The movement speed is definitely faster than in Gears 2, but still feels slow in comparison to other games. It could be the third-person perspective, but I always feel like I just can’t get where I want to in time.
Poor weapon balance: This is still there. There are way too many one-shot weapons that can be used. All too often, the game becomes about who can memorize where the power weapons are and get to them first. This always frustrated me the most about these games. They are just so over powering that you can’t compete. At least the power weapons in Halo each have weaknesses that go with them. Not much weakness in the Boom Shot, besides slow reload speed.
The beta also has some other new hotness. There are two new starting weapons, the retro Lancer and the sawed off shotgun, as well as two new weapons you can pick up along the way, the Digger Launcher and One Shot. The One Shot is a weapon that brings in a kind of air strike. I haven’t used this weapon, nor have I seen it used, so I’m not sure if it actually made it into the beta. The Dig Launcher I have seen, and used, and it’s really fun. It throws a grenade underground, and it travels until it comes into contact with someone, when it will pop up and explode — kind of like a traveling land mine. It only goes in straight lines, but it’s great for flushing people out of cover or taking care of campers. The sawed off shotgun is a smaller, supposedly more powerful shotgun, but it only holds two rounds. I haven’t found this to be any stronger than the existing shotgun and it holds less bullets, so I’m not impressed. The Retro Lancer is just like it sounds, an older Lancer. Big difference is instead of a chainsaw there is a bayonet on the end, which you can use to charge your enemies and impale them on the end, which is really cool if you can get it to work. The bad thing about this weapon is its accuracy is awful! At any distance you can’t hit anything because of recoil. I would have liked a new rifle in the game that you could actually use.
Also new in the game are a slew of new executions. I won’t spoil what they are like, so that you get the, “holy crap that was awesome moments” when you do each one. They look great! Also looking great are the maps. Very textured and a very nice size. The inclusion of some interactive elements is a nice touch as well.
In all, some nice improvements have been made for this final chapter in the Gears trilogy. I very much look forward to its final release, and hopefully a few more tweeks.
If you haven’t been able to play the beta, each person currently in it will have some invites to hand out starting Monday. I may have a couple extra to hand out. I’ll keep you posted.