So I recently pre-ordered Gears of War 3 from GameStopÂ and received my Gears of War 3 Beta access code to join in the Beta fun with my brother. And I have to say I’m enjoying it – for the most part.Â The Gears of War series definitely deserves to be placed among the “great”/heavy hitter multiplayer game series like Halo, Call of Duty, or Battlefield. But there’s something to be said about the way that Gears of War feels and plays in multiplayer.Â Perhaps it’s unfair to compare it to it’s first-person counterpartsÂ mentioned above because GOW 1, 2, & 3Â are the only ofÂ their kind in thatÂ they’re 3rd person shooters that try and go toe to toe with the otherÂ 1st person shooters.Â But rather than blab about theÂ comparisons to other gamesÂ I think I’ll just go ahead with my thoughts of the Beta and essentially the entire GOW series.
Like playing with Tonka trucks
Gears of War is aÂ gigantic action/adventure/shooter sandwich that is crammed down your throat whether you’re hungry or not. The graphics are always astonishing, the story is well thought out, the voice acting, soundÂ and overall gameplay are of the highest quality. ButÂ being a player thatÂ is used to games like Halo or Battlefield, it’s tough to get accustomed to the feeling of GOW.Â The characters you play as are large, thick, muscle bound beefcakes that control just a heavy as they look.Â Where other 1st person shooters might feel like Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars, Gears of Wars feels like I’m playing with humongous Tonka trucks, crushing all the little guys in the way. If your hungry for the GOW sandwich, then you will enjoy every bite.Â Tearing the meat with your teeth like grinding your opponent into chunky bits with your Lancer Machine Gun’s attached Chainsaw. If you’re not hungry or only slightly hungry for that beefy sandwich, then it seems like it’s too much to handle and you might be put off by its “in your face” attitude robust controls.
Shotguns, shotguns, shotguns, oh yeah and shotguns…
Of the few BETA matches I’ve played there were times when I was reallyÂ enjoying myself.Â I felt like I was being rewarded with kills for playing tactically, and having specificÂ thoughts behind each of my actions. But all goes sour when matched with players who solely take advantage of some of the annoyances of the game.Â For instance, the introduction of the new sawed-off shotgun and regularÂ shotgunÂ allows players to hop around the map, dodging well aimed bullets, and blasting bodies into oblivion upon arrival. For me that doesn’t seem like a skilled tactician move. I get frustrated when players rush at you with their sawed-off, giving you no option but to try and play their brute force game.Â It’s not that I can’t handle close range combat, because in other games your equipped with skills or weaponsÂ to handle close encounters. In GOW you’re limited to only playing the shotgun game; players jumping and dashing quickly out of your view, and not being able to swing the camera around quick enoughÂ to catch where the little jumping bean bastards went. If you attempt to melee that person, they answer back byÂ pulling the triggerÂ as they intended and watch you disappear into a thousand pieces.
“Man, you just suck at using the shotguns!”Â That may be the case, but I think it’s quite frustrating to have all of these other dynamics to the gameÂ (sniper and assault rifles, grenades, pistols, a cover system, melee, mortars, etc.) get thrown out the window because I’m playing against opponents thatÂ are forcing me to use only one aspect ofÂ combat. It happens in other games too, but it seems that GOW has less tools inÂ its arsenal to combat these kind of players.Â All I ask is for some sort of balance system to counteract the “jump-jump-jump-shotgun to your face” play style.Â Maybe a jump/dash cooldown?Â I’m not the most physically fit person, but I think any athelete that tosses their weight around, dashing to and fro, would get tired pretty quick.Â And seeing as how GOW characters probably weigh 1 Ton each (excluding Anya – 1/2Â a Ton) maybe the distance of your jump lessens if used in succession until you allow your player to take a slight rest (1 second tops).Â Is that too much to ask?
But what about the Beta man?!
The game plays just like the other Gears of Wars, running and gunning, taking cover, and going on the hunt for power weapons to give you the advantage on the map. Each match plays out pretty quick, each team has an alotted amount of respawns (15), when those run out if a player is killed, they’re D-E-D, dead, until the next round and get to watch their buddies duke it out, or fly around the map via ghost cam. While I can’t say GOW3 is a new experience and I haven’t had a lot of time to try out every aspect, it is stillÂ some good violent action oriented fun. After pumping myself up to play, I can easily get sucked into the gorey testosterone driven gameplay. As you feel your teeth grit and your grip tighten on your controller after dying a very cheap death, Gears of War provides the opportunity to let your rage out.Â But only if you earn it.Â Â Shouting and swearingÂ at the screen when I die, calling everything “BS”, and then feeling the rush and reward of pommeling a downed opponent with their own arm; that I just ripped off of them.Â Or flipping my enemy over,Â whom I wounded and is now slowly crawling away, and beating his face in with my own fists.Â It’s really, really, really satisfying. And I think that’s where the GOW series has always delivered.Â Full out carnage.Â The multiplayer Beta has a few different play types.Â Team Deathmatch, King of the Hill, and Capture the Leader.Â I have spent the majority of my time in Team Deathmatch and the new addition of leveling and unlocks areÂ great.Â It seems that Call of Duty really made its mark on the gaming industry,Â it seems most games areÂ following the path of granting rewards for how much time played and how well you did. As you finish matches you gain experience that automatically unlock certain features as you reach new levels.Â Such as new characters to use for multiplayer.Â GOW3 Beta continues with the milestonesÂ from GOW2 where a pop-up will appear after killing your enemy in specific ways.Â After reaching whateverÂ predetermined amount, you’ll be awarded an achievement, most likely, or in other cases a new skins for your guns.
The Beta also does something that more games are and should be doing.Â Allowing you to unlock things before the full game is released.Â Much like Dead Rising 2: Case Zero which allowed you to reach level 5 and then import that save file into Dead Rising 2, GOW3 Beta will allow you to carry over some or all of your multiplayer progess once the full game is released in September. I think it’s aÂ great ideaÂ and should be used for all video games.Â What better way to increase and extend hype for your video game than allowing people to play just a taste of it beforehand and allowing them to transferÂ over what they did during the demo period.Â GOW3 probably won’t push too many envelopes, but I’m almost certain it will have an enjoyable co-opÂ campaign as well as aÂ streamlined multiplayer and need I mention horde mode?Â Gears of Wars has really earned it’s place amongst the big name, heavy hitter shooters out there. I’d say it’s worth a pre-orderÂ seeing asÂ you get a chance to hop in the Beta, but hurry up it ends Sunday May 15th, 2011!