Gears of War 3 Preview

Gears image

Sony recently published Insomniac’s Resistance 3, their biggest console exclusive shooter for the fall, and now Microsoft is set to do the same with Epic Games’ Gears of War 3. GOW3 hits stores September 20, and, based on early impressions from video game websites like 1UP, IGN, and Kotaku, this just might be the best game in the series.

Like its first two installments, GOW3 features the same intense third-person/first-person gunplay that demands the strategic use of taking cover to bring down the Locust alien race. The active reload system has returned, in addition to the series’ trademark emphasis on co-op play. Team-based mission objectives, similar to a GOW2 sequence where players carried a large box while fending off enemies, are also a part of GOW3.

What’s new this time around is four-player co-op support for the campaign, larger-scale battles, bright outdoor environments, new weapons and unique gameplay sequences such as a zip-line and a hallucination section. The opportunity to play as different characters like GOW fan-favorite “Cole Train,” along with new female soldiers and a time-shifting storyline is also innovative.

Plot-wise, GOW3 takes place after the events of the second game and the main crux of the story is that Marcus Fenix (voiced by John DiMaggio, the voice of Bender on Futurama) is searching for his long-lost father (Adam Fenix), who’s rumored to still be alive.

The biggest change to GOW multiplayer from past games is dedicated servers, which will make matchmaking less frustrating for everyone. Even better, if someone quits a match, the game won’t be dropped, and bots will take the place of players who are too cowardly to stick it out. Multiplayer modes from past GOW games, like Team Deathmatch and King of the Hill, return with more refined structure and balancing. Also, a few of the new multiplayer maps will feature environmental effects like earthquakes and floods.

Best of all, for those who suck at shooters, GOW3 is very novice friendly, with a training ground mode and handicaps that track player performance so hardcore players won’t slaughter inexperienced players. New and improved weapons, like the sawed-off shotgun, Retro Lancer, Hammerburst, One Shot sniper rifle and the Digger, help freshen up the gameplay for multiplayer veterans. The Digger is especially gruesome. Players can kill nearby enemies through its earthquake effect or fire it directly at them causing the target’s body to explode literally at the neck.

Other welcome new multiplayer tweaks include aiming reticules, which show accuracy rating for all guns, and smoke grenades, which now stun opponents causing them to drop heavy weapons. GOW fans will be happy to hear new abilities have to the multiplayer modes. Such as the mantle kick (a new move that can be used to attack people hiding in cover), a self-revival technique for near-death moments, using your captive as an explosive device and, lastly, a new execution kill involving the Snub Pistol.

A new reward system similar to Call of Duty, where players can earn medals, ribbons and titles to advance their rank, has also been added to GOW’s multiplayer mode. Interestingly, a multiplayer event calendar rewards players with unlockable costumes, executions and weapon skins. Lastly, most intriguing is a new mode called Mutators, which allows users to mod select game modes. All of this new content will go a long way towards extending GOW3’s lifespan for gamers.

GOW3 ships in three separate versions on the launch date. The Standard edition only includes the game and retail case, while the Limited Edition, priced at $79.99 comes with an Octus award box, an Octus service medal, a fabric COG flag, Fenix family mentors and a code to unlock Fenix’s father as a multiplayer character. Gamers who spring for the $149.99 Epic Edition get all the features from the Limited Edition, in addition to a giant Marcus Fenix statue, a 96-page art book and the Infected Omen Weapons pack, which comes with five skins for the five starting weapons in the multiplayer modes.

Microsoft is celebrating the GOW3 release with a crimson red GOW themed 320 GB Xbox 360 with two matching red controllers and the game for $399. The special-themed GOW controllers and faceplates are also available to purchase separately.

This article originally appeared in the UWM Post. Check out the original article here.

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