Saturday, 14 May 2011

Gears of War 3 BETA

Should probably tell you this first... To be brutally honest, I have not been a fan of the Gears of War series. Yes, you did read that right (played the first one marginally, thought it was rather bleak and I personally didn’t get along with the third-person over-the-shoulder perspective. Also played a bit of GoW 2) I thought the BETA for Gears of War 3 was pretty damn enjoyable.

Since starting the BETA on the 18th of April (I had previously ordered Bulletstorm: EPIC Edition, which might I say is one of the funniest and original games I have played, therefore allowing me to access the BETA early) I have been clocking in several hours overall with my friends, dismembering opponents arms and thrashing them on the head with said arm, yes you did hear me right. The BETA itself (at the time of writing) only consisted of two maps and one game type, which kept me sufficiently entertained and helped me keep my mind off of the real world.

Well, what can I say? The 360 just seems to be getting more and more advanced with its graphics as it gets older and older. The detail that has gone into this game at every step is astounding, the detail that has gone into such things as straddling a dying opponent while literally beating seven shades of fecal matter from his slowly disintegrating face is astonishing – it’s like Epic wants you to revel in the pain of your enemies. And you do. A lot.

The mapping and design of the levels has had a lot of thought put into it as well. Every map has its flaws, such as camping spots, but even the maps that do have it in here have been altered to put the abusers at risk. Such as the popular camping spot in the map Thrashball, it has been left out in the open, towards the centre of the map, so even if you are camping there, one small mistake, such as popping your head up over the side, and you are immediately visible to the rest of the map, allowing for easy grenade and headshot kills.

While playing the BETA to this game, some aspects of sound in this game pleased me, while others were just a bit... meh. Don’t get me wrong, the sound of when you charge up to a locust and shove your bayonet into their back is glorious, the general underlay sound was rather lacking. By this I’m talking about the general background noise – there wasn’t enough blood curdling screams or funny remarks from team characters, and when you did hear them you had to be right next to them to understand what they were saying. I must admit though... Cole train does have some funny little remarks.

Now here, for me is where this gets a little bit rough. As not a very huge fan of the prequels, I find myself at a bit of a loss here... While I think the game itself is fantastic, there is something just a little too different in the controls for me to be fully comfortable with it. The kickback on some weapons, while understandable, was often a bit exaggerated and I would end up shooting the air around the enemy rather than shooting into the enemy. Furthermore, the running feature - while I understand wearing the heavy suit and carrying X amount of guns can weigh you down a bit, would it hurt to be able to turn a little bit more when running? I would often find myself running into walls or cover instead of where I needed to go. This may just be me, as I am still relatively new to the franchise, but then you could say it’s not very newbie-friendly.

Not much I can really say about this, as it was a Multiplayer BETA, so I will just leave this one out for now.

While I can see myself returning to other games relatively early, a lot of my gaming buddies have literally not stopped playing this BETA. With the addition of more maps and game modes I can see this lasting for a long time to come, and even I will probably clock a fair few hours into this game.


79 out of 100

Even though this game comes from a series I previously shunned and didn't enjoy, Gears of War 3 has made me think anew of Epic’s third-person sci-fi shooter, and I will probably end up buying GoW 1 & 2 again now... If you have previously shunned this series, now would be a good time to give it a go, as it’s kind of a breath of fresh air compared to all these ‘Modern Warfare’-esque shooters that are appearing everywhere nowadays.



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