Preview | Gears of War 3 Hands-On
Format: Xbox 360 | Genre: Shooter | Publisher: Microsoft | Developer: Epic | ETA: Autumn 2011
Jennifer Allen turns all macho with her preview of GEARS OF WAR 3.
TYPICALLY GEARS of War multiplayer has always been a solid affair offering testosterone-fuelled chaos and the all too satisfying chainsaw kill, so how about trying it from the other perspective? That’s what Gears of War 3’s beast mode is all about and it’s damn good fun from what I’ve seen.
Beast mode is essentially Horde mode from the Locust’s perspective. Think of it as like half of Left4Dead’s versus mode, but the more entertaining half. After years of playing games from the good guys’ perspective, it’s satisfying to be plain old pure evil. The build I played was in a fairly early stage with only a few characters unlocked. Despite this, it was still immensely entertaining to play.
With the choice of playing a ticker, butcher or wretch; my kamikaze urges won through and I dived into playing a ticker to begin with. It’s just how you’d imagine from playing the single player mode. You run as fast as you can in the direction of your foes, tap RT and wait a brief moment before exploding – hopefully taking a few enemies with you. At times it might feel like a ridiculously cheap way to succeed but there’s still an untold childish joy to it all. I could have quite happily stuck to playing a ticker for a long time if it wasn’t that I wanted to try out all the characters available to me.
Two pronged attack
The butcher loses the speed of the ticker but offers two crucial advantages. It can soak up a ridiculous quantity of bullets, even better it can kill the AI player in one blow with a massive blade. The butcher is however incredibly slow and lumbering. He’s a big target that stands out quite obviously amongst the relatively low standing cover positions. This is where the strategy of Beast mode comes into play though. I played alone amongst AI but in the finished build, it’ll be possible to play amongst other people. In this case, it’d be an ideal scenario to send one person as a butcher to distract the CPU while others – in ticker or wretch form – could run behind the enemy and wipe them out from there.
The wretch admittedly was my least favourite of the classes to play as. In this preview build, it was the type that felt distinctly average compared to the other two offering obvious advantages. The wretch is reasonably fast and can attack reasonably well with a swipe of its claws, but it feels nowhere near as satisfying as the other two classes. In a group situation though, it clearly has its uses.
Further tactical elements are also introduced with the token system whereby each class costs a certain number of tokens. In the demo I played, we were assigned unlimited tokens but I assume in the final build, these will be much more limited. This will no doubt push players into certain classes at first, such as the humble ticker which only costs 1 token at the moment.
The final build also promises a lot more different classes to play as such as the Kantus, Serapede, Grenadier, 3 types of Boomer and the ever imposing Berserker.
Gears of War 3, at least in terms of this mode, is looking good, very good indeed. It’ll be interesting to see what else is uncovered about the title in the run up to its release in Autumn 2011.