Next week the conclusion of the Gears of War trilogy will hit store shelves and gamers consoles all over the world, and it’s shaping up to be one hell of a game. But that’s a week away, and a week can be a long time when your patiently waiting for a game to arrive, so how should the time be passed? I know, by coming up with the top five reasons Gears of War 3 is going to kick ass.
Like chainsawing people in half wasn’t enough.
I’ve never been a big fan of Gears of War’s online antics, instead favouring the campaign and maybe just an hour or so on the multiplayer action before the shotgun barrage gives me a headache. But Epic have been fiddling about with the multiplayer quite a bit, and if the recent Beta is anything to go by the final product will be a far tighter multiplayer experience that we’ve seen previously.
The map designs offered in the Beta will still tight affairs, thereby encouraging the shotgun again, but now the Lancer has a little more kick, and the Retro Lancer can level freaking elephants with just a few rounds, so that should help ensure that shotgun players don’t rule to the maps anymore. But here’s hoping for some nice open area’s where those deadly Lancers and Hammerbursts can really open up and create some tense longe range firefights.
A brand new ranking system has also be stuck in there to help encourage you to fight for those points so you can unlock the next cool thing and brag to your mates before they blow your head off with the Sawn-off shotgun, because bragging isn’t cool. These unlocks include brutal new execution moves, weapon skins, characters and Mutators which can be used in Private Matches to change the game rules. It’s not got quite the depth of the likes of Battlefield 3 or Modern Warfare 3, but it should be enough to keep players happy.
But the most important detail in Epic’s latest multiplayer is the inclusion of dedicated servers, which means no more blaming your death on lag. This should mean matches will run nice and smoothly, making for a much better experience that Gears of War 2’s rather laggy online offering.
Horde mode wasn’t a new idea when it arrived in Gears of War 2, but it sure as hell managed to make it famous. It’s now several years on since Gears 2 launched and we still have plenty of games using Horde-escque modes in their multiplayer offerings. But now Gears 3 is coming and it’s bringing a revamped Horde mode with it.
The basic concept of it remain the same; you and, hopefully, several of your friends get together and hold off against waves of increasingly difficult enemy Locust. It might not sound like the most exciting mode on paper, but when you’ve got a few friends together and you’re surrounded by the Locus horde it’s a lot of fun.
The big change here is that Tower Defense mechanics have been integrated into the gameplay; players can choose a location on the map to act as a Command Post, so picking the best location will be key. Every hard-earned kill will net you some lovely cash which can be used to purchase defenses to help you hold out against the enemy army. Barbed wire, turrets, decoys and even a Silverback mechs can all be bought using your hard-earned money. But watch out, because every ten waves a boss creature will be sent to make your life a misery.
These new changes should make Horde 2.0 a considerably more strategic game mode with plenty of depth. The new defenses should encourage players to band together and create the best defense layout that they can.
BRING ON THE BEASTS
Horde mode may very well be incredibly fun, but if you flip it over and let the gamers play as the Locus instead of the COG forces, then it’s automatically even more fun. And that’s exactly what Epic have done with the inclusion of Beast Mode, a Horde-style mode that lets you take control of Tickers, Grubs, Berserkers and more while attempting to blow up/shoot/trample the COG forces that stand in your way.
You’ll have to start your new Locus career as a lowly Ticker or Wretch, attempting to blow up or bite the ankles of any unlucky COG soldiers, but taking down foes will net you points which can be used to upgrade to a more powerful form of Locust, such as the Berserkers or Boomer. The biggest challenge for Epic here is how differently a Ticker will control compared to a Berserker, and keeping it all balanced will be even trickier.
Horde mode is already great fun, so throwing in the ability to play as the Locust can really do no harm, and getting to play as a Berserker is just an instant ten in the awesome-of-cool scale.
The 2-player co-op that the series has been sporting up until Gears 3 has been some of the best in gaming. Taking on the Locust hordes with your mate while journeying through the world of Sera is just plain fun, and unlike many other never felt tacked on. There were hints of a deeper co-op experience trying to rise to the surface with moments where Marcus and Dom would have to split up and help each other out by providing cover fire or activated switches. One standout moment was trying to maneuver a large crate while being attacked on all sides from Wretches determined to rip you to pieces. These moments never quite managed to deliver completely on their potential, but will still bloody good fun.
But this time around Epic are kicking things up a gear (terrible pun intended) and throwing in an extra two-players into the co-op mix. This isn’t just a feature thrown in for good measure, though, Epic are intent on making it the best co-op experience they’ve delivered. The first step is a return to the more open battlefields seen in the first game, giving the other three players plenty of space to maneuver, cover each other and work together. They’re also looking to improve those moments when players are going to have to split up or actually communicate to advance, such as a moment early in the campaign which has one player putting out fires while the others defend him/her.
If Epic manage to nail it, Gears 3 could become one of the best co-op experiences available to gamers and will have plenty of replay value.
THE END OF THE TRILOGY
This one is pretty obvious, but with Gears of War 3 ending the current Gears story arc, you just know that Epic will be going all-out to deliver some of the biggest, most badass moments we’ve seen in the series. Of course, there’s always anxiety when it comes to ending a story; can they deliver the finale the series deserves? Can they produce even more awesome in-game moments?
But most importantly, it’s the end of the story, the end of Delta squads fight and possibly the end of humanity. While many people don’t enjoy the Gears of War universe and story, it thoroughly captured my imagination right from the start. And now, humanity is standing on the brink of extinction, barely surviving, barely holding onto life as they band together to try to survive. It may not be the deepest sci-fi story told, but the Gears of War series has always done an amazing job of portraying just how brutal war is, even if it is against a freaky species. There’s a lot of story threads to get wrapped up in Gears of War 3 and Epic are promising that fans will get their questions answered, thanks to the story being written by Karen Traviss, author of four Gears of War novels. What’s the deal with Adam Fenix
But the rest of the world can go to Hell for all I care, because ultimately it’s the fate of the battle hardened, wise cracking and fatigued looking Delta Squad that interests me most. With humanity poised to be pushed off the edge of the void into extinction and the new Lambent Locus closing in on all sides, it’s hard to see how their story can have a happy ending.
Categories: Opinion Piece