Gears of War 3 Preview
Gears of War 3 box art
System: Xbox 360
Dev: Epic Games
Pub: Microsoft
Release: September 20, 2011
Players: 1-10
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p
Human vs. Locust: an Epic Battle
by Joshua Wirtanen

The Gears of War series is the third most popular game series on Xbox 360, only behind Halo and Call of Duty. So the forthcoming Gears of War 3 is a big deal. But every time a big name sequel is announced, there's a tendency for the news to cause a nervous flutter amongst the fans. Will the sequel truly live up to its predecessors? What could a sequel possibly provide that the original could not?

Epic Games keeps these questions in mind as they work to provide a third installment they hope will be worth the price tag. So far, it looks like Gears of War 3 strives very hard to please. Yes, there have been a few delays, but this just means that Epic is working hard to make sure the product that releases is as solid as possible.

Gears of War 3 screenshot

Of course this means online play must run smoothly from day one. Anyone who bought Gears of War 2 at release probably still has bad dreams about the sloppy handling of the online modes during those first few awkward days. But Epic has learned from its mistakes, and is doing whatever it takes to make sure that disaster is not repeated. This time around, Gears of War has dedicated servers instead of using the client-server only model found in Gears 2. That's right. Players are no longer at the mercy of the potentially slow internet connections of other users. This should help keep the lag to a minimum, and will even the playing field, since in client servers, the host will always have an advantage over other players.

Gears of War 3 will include a new gameplay mode called Beast. Remember Horde mode in Gears 2, where you had to fight off wave after relentless wave of Locust? Well, this is the opposite of that. You get to play as various Locust classes and fight off waves of humans. There are tickers, which are basically scurrying suicide bombers; boomers, beefy users of heavy weapons (they like things that go "boom"); berserkers, which can charge enemies with the force of a speeding train; Kantus, the healers; as well as others.

Some of these classes will be locked when you first start the game, but Epic wants to make sure there is a fairly good selection of Locust to play as right out of the gate. The Epic team have expressed their concern about the current state of video games, not liking the fact that you can pay $60 for a game, yet have to spend hours upon hours unlocking things in order to even begin enjoying it. So while there are certain things locked in the beginning, there are enough options open that the game will still be a blast to play before you unlock all of those extra goodies.

The other multiplayer modes are getting revised as well. Annex mode is getting absorbed by King-of-the-Hill, making for a greatly improved version of King-of-the-Hill in which the location your team must hold will change after a set increment of time. Team Deathmatch is being added as well, but with a special Gears twist: each team will be given a limited collective amount of respawns, and once those are used up, dying will knock players out of the match.

Gears of War 3 screenshot

There is a new version of the popular Horde mode introduced in Gears 3, but Epic is not ready to talk about it yet. Judging by the improvements we've seen already, we have high hopes that the new Horde mode will be at least as satisfying as the old one.

There have been some gameplay tweaks as well. One exciting new feature allows players jumping over an obstacle to kick an opponent on the other side. Epic hopes this will encourage more aggressive gameplay and discourage players from spending too much time cowering behind obstacles.

Gears of War 3 screenshot

And story mode is back, of course, offering both solo play and up to four player co-op. The story of Gears of War 3 takes place a year-and-a-half after Gears 2. But don't worry, if you want to find out what happens during that eighteen-month period, just check out the novel series by Karen Traviss, who is also writing the script for the Gears of War 3 game.

It sounds like Gears of War 3 will give us a satisfying conclusion to the series. In an interview with Spanish gaming website MeriStation, Gears design director Cliff Bleszinski had this to say about the story: "You can expect that we'll answer the majority of the questions that players have about the history of the world and what's going on. We're not going to answer everything, but I can tell you this will be the conclusion to a trilogy." So, it looks like we'll be getting some closure with this chapter.

With all the great new features Gears of War 3 boasts so far, it's definitely bringing change to the Gears series. Whether it's a positive evolution or a negative one is still yet to be seen, but so far, this game looks like it's going to be a worthy finale.

By Joshua Wirtanen
CCC Freelance Writer

Game Features:

  • Enthralling cinematic story: Experience the epic finale to the Gears of War trilogy and fight alongside Delta Squad to rescue humanity. Discover the fate of Marcus and his surviving comrades in this immersive and emotionally engaging story.
  • Unparalleled gameplay: Gears of War 3 builds upon the series' genre-defining gameplay and captivates players in an intimately intense action game. The latest chapter in the saga introduces new playable COG characters and fresh challenges with ferocious enemies.
  • Explosive multiplayer: One of the definitive multiplayer experiences on Xbox LIVE, Gears of War 3 features new cooperative and competitive multiplayer experiences for veteran players and rookies alike.
  • Amazing visuals: Gears of War 3 pushes the envelope for stunning visuals on Xbox 360. Through the latest advances in Unreal Engine 3 technology, the game delivers improved graphics, animation and lighting that immerse you in the destroyed beauty of the rich environments.

  • Videos / Game Trailers
    Gears of War 3 What Have I Become? Trailer - click to enlarge
    What Have I Become? Trailer
    Gears of War 3 OG Slick Documnetary - click to enlarge
    OG Slick Documentary
    Gears of War 3 E3 2010 Debut Gameplay Trailer - click to enlarge
    E3 Debut Gameplay Trailer
    Gears of War 3 Ashes to Ahses Trailer - click to enlarge
    Ashes to Ashes Trailer

    Screenshots / Images
    Gears of War 3 screenshot - click to enlarge Gears of War 3 screenshot - click to enlarge Gears of War 3 screenshot - click to enlarge Gears of War 3 screenshot - click to enlarge Gears of War 3 screenshot - click to enlarge Gears of War 3 screenshot - click to enlarge Gears of War 3 screenshot - click to enlarge Gears of War 3 screenshot - click to enlarge Gears of War 3 screenshot - click to enlarge Gears of War 3 screenshot - click to enlarge

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