Extensive Gears 3 Beta Impressions

   

Those that follow my blog will know that I'm a big Gears Of War fan.

 Usually that knowledge is accompanied by some form of bewilderment or confusion, which is understandable. I can't really explain why I love the Gears franchise so much. I play the games obsessively, I have read all the fiction (yeah, there are Gears of War books. They suck, for the record), I filled out a chunk of the Gears wiki pages here on Giant Bomb and I even have a few Gears of War action figures and T-Shirts. It's bordering on unhealthy. So when I heard that I could get into the Gears 3 beta by buying a copy of Bulletstorm, I immediately did so. I didn't particularly enjoy Bulletstorm and it was promptly returned to my local GAME and exchanged for store credit. I had entered the DLC code into my account already, so my plan was to simply rent the game on the 18th and play that way. My Gears 3 pre-order would come into effect the following week, so it didn't seem like a big deal.


However on Friday I was scrubbin' around at home when Cliffy B started tweeting out Gears 3 ViP beta codes. This would save me some money not having to rent out the game from blockbuster, as well as getting me into the beta 3 days early, so I was pretty excited at the opportunity. After some quick investigation it became apparent that there were actually a large number of Gears Devs tweeting the codes, so I followed the ones with the fewest followers, to minimise the competition, and sat there in front of my computer hungrily waiting for codes to get dispensed. I set up TweetDeck with a filter so it was only showing me posts with the #Gears3Beta hash-tag and bumped up the refresh rate to max which meant the posts were hitting my feed up to 10-15 seconds before they were going up on Twitter. I made sure I was logged onto xbox.com as well, so I could instantly copy across the code and hit enter. After about 20 minutes of desperately scrabbling for codes that were being snatched up within SECONDS (literally two or three seconds) I managed to tag a code. I raised my fists triumphantly into the air, turned on my Xbox to begin the install, and went to get a beer while the Gears 3 Beta Downloaded. 
Big shout to Mark Rein for my beta code. Cheers, buddy!

Since Friday I have clocked a lot of hours with the Gears 3 beta. 

You unlock new character + gun skins by completing a certain amount of matches. For example, 20 King Of The Hill matches get's you Cole, 50 Matches in total get's you Cole Train (Thrashball Cole) and 90 matches get's you the Gold Retro Lancer. I had unlocked everything except the gold lancer within 24 hours. Yeah... I played a lot.

So there have been multiple news articles explaining what the beta involves, what guns and game-types, but very little actual information about how the new features will effect gameplay. This blog is designed to address exactly that. I played the fuck out of Gears 2, and I know all about the Gears fiction, so i'm probably in as good a position as any to fill in the gaps. So... here we go:

Charging with the Bayonet looks fantastic, and hearing the primal scream your character emits whilst running is also fucking awesome. 


The Matchmaking

Probably the best feature I have seen on the beta is the matchmaking. 

Finding and joining matches is quick and painless, the interface is clean and the game loads fast. Once a public match ends players are instantly taken to the next match and thrown right back into the action, so there is never more than about 30 seconds where you aren't shooting someone. It feels very dynamic as a result, and it's very smooth compared to the Gears 2 Lobby system which felt somewhat clunky. Players can quit at any time and their scores will be kept, as well. This means if you drop out of a game while the scores are still showing, or while the next level is loading, you will still receive all your XP and points. The drop-in drop-out nature of the matchmaking is to the games credit. The only flaw with the system I have found so far is with the team-balancing, and the game has frequently dumped me into a team full of AI against a fully human set of opponents. I give them a good run for their money but the AI is still pretty docile, meaning that unless you get some real people on your team you are probably going to die.

The Guns

The questions that seem to be getting thrown around most frequently regard the shotguns. 

The Gnasher was obviously one of the most popular guns in Gears 2 for it's brute force, and it's similarly favoured in the beta. However the new guns make the game a lot more interesting by addressing many different playing styles. For example, in Gears 2 I favoured the Lancer over the Gnasher, but often had to resort to the Gnasher because of the range at which most conflicts were taking place. The Lancer was pretty redundant, designed for long-range precision as oppose to spraying up close. The Retro Lancer addresses this by being more powerful, yet moderately less accurate, and with some pretty brutal recoil. The optimum range for the Retro Lancer, therefore, seems to be just between those of the Lancer and Gnasher, making it perfect for countering players who just like to roll in close with a shotgun. Considering this was the main tactic of Gears 2, this makes it useful for killing just about everyone.   To make the standard Lancer more versatile, the recoil is practically non-existent (as with the hammerburst) and the clip size has been almost doubled, meaning you get a beefy stream of bullets to hose down your enemies with. The HammerBurst has been plugged as the marksman's weapon of choice with minimal recoil and extreme accuracy in Iron-Sight mode. It's also very quick to reload, and can score headhots. Which is nice.


The Sawed Off is only really useful in certain circumstances. 

It takes an age to reload (two or three seconds, even with an active reload) so it's only really useful against single opponents unless they are all clumped together on a capture point or something. It also requires you to be right up in a dudes face, almost the same range you would be to chainsaw a guy, in order to be effective. The result, however, is insta-death for anyone on the receiving end, and without the paralysing animation of an execution or chainsaw kill. Because of it's terrible range the Sawed Off is most effectively used to ambush and blind-fire round corners, or to sneak up on enemies who haven't seen you yet. A frontal attack will fail when countered with any other gun, so you really have to pick your battles. It seems to work well as a complimentary weapon with the machine-guns, for example. I'm currently rockin' the Retro Lancer as my main, as it's versatility works in most situations, but switch to the Sawed-Off whenever I want to get the drop on somebody. So far the results have been spectacular. 

A lot of people seem worried that the power of the Sawed-Off is going to make the Gnashed redundant, but they have nothing to worry about.

The Gnasher is still super popular and most of the people I play against still seem to favour it over all the other guns. It's still the best weapon for a direct attack, and any time the Sawed-Off can kill you, the Gnasher would be just as effective in terms of power, though getting that precision shot is slightly more difficult. Players still seem to be adapting to the wider range of guns like the Sawed Off and Retro Lancer which really even the playing field when it comes to close quarters combat. The best thing about the Sawed Off is that it has put an end to those stupid shotgun showdowns from Gears 2 where the last two players would strafe in circles shooting at each other for 20 seconds unable to hit anything. The Sawed Off clears the screen, literally. However, if you miss with it then you are fucked, so be careful.  

Grenades

 The smoke grenades are now officially useful again, creating a larger and more impressive cloud of smoke that actually serves as some pretty decent cover. If enemy players are too close to an exploding smoke grenade then they will cover their face with their hands, making them unable to fire, but are not rooted to the ground like they were originally in Gears 2 (Until they patched the flinch out, making the smokes useless) and are still able to roll away to safety. A pretty solid tactic is to stun enemies with a Smoke and then use the time when they are stunned to get in close with a shotgun or rev up the chainsaw bayonet. The Incendiary is the new flame grenade that works very much the same as the Ink in that it leaves an area on the map which will hurt any enemy players who venture too close. The blast radius of the Ink has been reduced and it is now no longer a large cloud of smoke, but a more focussed patch of poison. As such I tend to keep hold of them and tag them onto meat-shields as a distraction rather than a meaningful weapon. Because of their reduced radius, the Ink and Incendiary aren't particularly good proxy traps either, so I haven't really been sticking them to walls much.

Power Weapons

 The One-Shot is an absolute beast that will destroy anything it touches, as the name implies. However it makes a sharp beeping noise when aimed, and there is a laser to accompany it so it's pretty easy to spot when it's being aimed at you. The Digger Launcher is pretty cool as well, frequently replacing the traditional boomshot, though the path-finding of the projectile is somewhat unreliable. I have frequently had shots explode on contact with walls and objects, instead if digging under them as advertised. 
Many people will be pleased to hear that the Longshot is now a lot less accurate outside of the scope, so it's a lot more difficult to down people with a quick active-reload up close. Lastly, the Gorgon Pistol now fires a continual stream of bullets as oppose to it's burst fire in Gears 2, making it a much more useful SMG. I use my pistol a lot as the Retro Lancer downs people before killing them, so I frequently find myself grabbing enemies as a meat shield, and the Gorgon is very useful.


The Multiplayer Modes

Team Deathmatch

Is kinda fun, though I prefer objective based gameplay so I haven't really played much of this beyond what I needed to unlock the new characters. The limited number of lives makes sticking in a group a key tactic as it makes it much easier to revive squad-mates. It's very similar to the Rush tactics of Battlefield, where you need medics to prevent your reinforcements from being depleted. It's a smart way of promoting organised team-play and communication.

Capture The Leader 

Probably my favourite of the new game types. It's like a cross between Guardian and Submission from Gears 2, a cross between capture the flag and ViP mode. One player on each team is made the leader and the other players must protect their leader whilst trying to capture (meat-shield) the enemy leader. Once captured they must be held for 30 seconds. If both leaders are captured, the countdown timer stops until one leader is dropped. The main reason this game-type works so well is because the leader is actually given the tools required to be a valuable asset to the team instead of just a helpless AI that needs babysitting the whole time. The tac-com ability (pressing LB to see your team-mates on the HUD) now shows x-ray positions of friendly players, very similar to detective vision from Batman: Arkham Asylum, but the leader has the ability to also see enemy players as well. This means they can keep their team constantly updated as to enemy positions and respawn locations, etc. This is especially useful on the map Trenches, which features a sand-storm that covers the entire map in a blanket of sand, minimising visibility. Being able to see your team-mates and enemies through the sand is therefore very useful, and your team relies heavily upon your communication skills. 
Lastly, if you are the leader and you are captured by the enemy you have the ability to struggle against your captor by pressing B - this sounds kinda pathetic, but when you do so it effectively prevents them for firing or moving for a couple of seconds, potentially giving your team an advantage over your captor.

King of the Hill

Pretty much the same as it ever was, though the King Of the Hill matches currently last stupidly long amounts of time - up to 20 or 30 minutes for some of the longer games - so after unlocking all the characters I needed I haven't really gone back to those. Hopefully they will make them a bit shorter when the game hits retail.


I fucking love this gun!

The Characters and Levels

 The characters are pretty basic, not much to say really. The one notable exception is the Leader for the COG is Prescott, not Hoffman. Prescott served as a COG soldier (as did all politicians) during the Pendulum wars before Emergence day, however it was considered only a formality and he never actually saw any action. It's an interesting inclusion to have him here as by the end of the third Gears Of War book, Anvil Gate, which bridges the gap between the second and third games, Prescott has lost all power and authority as Leader of the COG and Hoffman is pretty much doing whatever the hell he wants. I think Cliffy B even mentioned that the third game is set when the COG had dissolved and Prescott had fled to an unknown location, so his inclusion here is somewhat strange. But then again, they have Cole in a fucking Thrashball uniform, so attempting to find continuity amongst the Gears 3 multiplayer characters seems somewhat futile.

The levels look really great.

 My favourite is probably Old Town, which is set on Vectes island, where the COG re-established themselves after Jacinto was sunk. The island is situated behind a deep sea trench which had prevented the Locust from tunnelling there, and housed an old naval base which had been de-militarised because of supposed toxic leakages. This is soon discovered to be false and when the COG arrive they find a small community of COG citizens who have been living on the island since the Pendulum wars and have never even seen a Locust before. Knowing all this, it's nice to finally get a chance to see some of the smaller COG settlements before they got all fucked up, and the level looks appropriately beautiful. I especially like being able to kill chickens with a Retro Bayonet. Good times.


So, I think that's all the important stuff covered. If anyone has any specific questions then I shall do my best to answer them. Otherwise I guess I will see some of you in the beta when the Bulletstorm kids get in tomorrow. 

I will be the one killing you.


Thanks For Reading
Love Sweep
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Edited by Sweep

   

Those that follow my blog will know that I'm a big Gears Of War fan.

 Usually that knowledge is accompanied by some form of bewilderment or confusion, which is understandable. I can't really explain why I love the Gears franchise so much. I play the games obsessively, I have read all the fiction (yeah, there are Gears of War books. They suck, for the record), I filled out a chunk of the Gears wiki pages here on Giant Bomb and I even have a few Gears of War action figures and T-Shirts. It's bordering on unhealthy. So when I heard that I could get into the Gears 3 beta by buying a copy of Bulletstorm, I immediately did so. I didn't particularly enjoy Bulletstorm and it was promptly returned to my local GAME and exchanged for store credit. I had entered the DLC code into my account already, so my plan was to simply rent the game on the 18th and play that way. My Gears 3 pre-order would come into effect the following week, so it didn't seem like a big deal.


However on Friday I was scrubbin' around at home when Cliffy B started tweeting out Gears 3 ViP beta codes. This would save me some money not having to rent out the game from blockbuster, as well as getting me into the beta 3 days early, so I was pretty excited at the opportunity. After some quick investigation it became apparent that there were actually a large number of Gears Devs tweeting the codes, so I followed the ones with the fewest followers, to minimise the competition, and sat there in front of my computer hungrily waiting for codes to get dispensed. I set up TweetDeck with a filter so it was only showing me posts with the #Gears3Beta hash-tag and bumped up the refresh rate to max which meant the posts were hitting my feed up to 10-15 seconds before they were going up on Twitter. I made sure I was logged onto xbox.com as well, so I could instantly copy across the code and hit enter. After about 20 minutes of desperately scrabbling for codes that were being snatched up within SECONDS (literally two or three seconds) I managed to tag a code. I raised my fists triumphantly into the air, turned on my Xbox to begin the install, and went to get a beer while the Gears 3 Beta Downloaded. 
Big shout to Mark Rein for my beta code. Cheers, buddy!

Since Friday I have clocked a lot of hours with the Gears 3 beta. 

You unlock new character + gun skins by completing a certain amount of matches. For example, 20 King Of The Hill matches get's you Cole, 50 Matches in total get's you Cole Train (Thrashball Cole) and 90 matches get's you the Gold Retro Lancer. I had unlocked everything except the gold lancer within 24 hours. Yeah... I played a lot.

So there have been multiple news articles explaining what the beta involves, what guns and game-types, but very little actual information about how the new features will effect gameplay. This blog is designed to address exactly that. I played the fuck out of Gears 2, and I know all about the Gears fiction, so i'm probably in as good a position as any to fill in the gaps. So... here we go:

Charging with the Bayonet looks fantastic, and hearing the primal scream your character emits whilst running is also fucking awesome. 


The Matchmaking

Probably the best feature I have seen on the beta is the matchmaking. 

Finding and joining matches is quick and painless, the interface is clean and the game loads fast. Once a public match ends players are instantly taken to the next match and thrown right back into the action, so there is never more than about 30 seconds where you aren't shooting someone. It feels very dynamic as a result, and it's very smooth compared to the Gears 2 Lobby system which felt somewhat clunky. Players can quit at any time and their scores will be kept, as well. This means if you drop out of a game while the scores are still showing, or while the next level is loading, you will still receive all your XP and points. The drop-in drop-out nature of the matchmaking is to the games credit. The only flaw with the system I have found so far is with the team-balancing, and the game has frequently dumped me into a team full of AI against a fully human set of opponents. I give them a good run for their money but the AI is still pretty docile, meaning that unless you get some real people on your team you are probably going to die.

The Guns

The questions that seem to be getting thrown around most frequently regard the shotguns. 

The Gnasher was obviously one of the most popular guns in Gears 2 for it's brute force, and it's similarly favoured in the beta. However the new guns make the game a lot more interesting by addressing many different playing styles. For example, in Gears 2 I favoured the Lancer over the Gnasher, but often had to resort to the Gnasher because of the range at which most conflicts were taking place. The Lancer was pretty redundant, designed for long-range precision as oppose to spraying up close. The Retro Lancer addresses this by being more powerful, yet moderately less accurate, and with some pretty brutal recoil. The optimum range for the Retro Lancer, therefore, seems to be just between those of the Lancer and Gnasher, making it perfect for countering players who just like to roll in close with a shotgun. Considering this was the main tactic of Gears 2, this makes it useful for killing just about everyone.   To make the standard Lancer more versatile, the recoil is practically non-existent (as with the hammerburst) and the clip size has been almost doubled, meaning you get a beefy stream of bullets to hose down your enemies with. The HammerBurst has been plugged as the marksman's weapon of choice with minimal recoil and extreme accuracy in Iron-Sight mode. It's also very quick to reload, and can score headhots. Which is nice.


The Sawed Off is only really useful in certain circumstances. 

It takes an age to reload (two or three seconds, even with an active reload) so it's only really useful against single opponents unless they are all clumped together on a capture point or something. It also requires you to be right up in a dudes face, almost the same range you would be to chainsaw a guy, in order to be effective. The result, however, is insta-death for anyone on the receiving end, and without the paralysing animation of an execution or chainsaw kill. Because of it's terrible range the Sawed Off is most effectively used to ambush and blind-fire round corners, or to sneak up on enemies who haven't seen you yet. A frontal attack will fail when countered with any other gun, so you really have to pick your battles. It seems to work well as a complimentary weapon with the machine-guns, for example. I'm currently rockin' the Retro Lancer as my main, as it's versatility works in most situations, but switch to the Sawed-Off whenever I want to get the drop on somebody. So far the results have been spectacular. 

A lot of people seem worried that the power of the Sawed-Off is going to make the Gnashed redundant, but they have nothing to worry about.

The Gnasher is still super popular and most of the people I play against still seem to favour it over all the other guns. It's still the best weapon for a direct attack, and any time the Sawed-Off can kill you, the Gnasher would be just as effective in terms of power, though getting that precision shot is slightly more difficult. Players still seem to be adapting to the wider range of guns like the Sawed Off and Retro Lancer which really even the playing field when it comes to close quarters combat. The best thing about the Sawed Off is that it has put an end to those stupid shotgun showdowns from Gears 2 where the last two players would strafe in circles shooting at each other for 20 seconds unable to hit anything. The Sawed Off clears the screen, literally. However, if you miss with it then you are fucked, so be careful.  

Grenades

 The smoke grenades are now officially useful again, creating a larger and more impressive cloud of smoke that actually serves as some pretty decent cover. If enemy players are too close to an exploding smoke grenade then they will cover their face with their hands, making them unable to fire, but are not rooted to the ground like they were originally in Gears 2 (Until they patched the flinch out, making the smokes useless) and are still able to roll away to safety. A pretty solid tactic is to stun enemies with a Smoke and then use the time when they are stunned to get in close with a shotgun or rev up the chainsaw bayonet. The Incendiary is the new flame grenade that works very much the same as the Ink in that it leaves an area on the map which will hurt any enemy players who venture too close. The blast radius of the Ink has been reduced and it is now no longer a large cloud of smoke, but a more focussed patch of poison. As such I tend to keep hold of them and tag them onto meat-shields as a distraction rather than a meaningful weapon. Because of their reduced radius, the Ink and Incendiary aren't particularly good proxy traps either, so I haven't really been sticking them to walls much.

Power Weapons

 The One-Shot is an absolute beast that will destroy anything it touches, as the name implies. However it makes a sharp beeping noise when aimed, and there is a laser to accompany it so it's pretty easy to spot when it's being aimed at you. The Digger Launcher is pretty cool as well, frequently replacing the traditional boomshot, though the path-finding of the projectile is somewhat unreliable. I have frequently had shots explode on contact with walls and objects, instead if digging under them as advertised. 
Many people will be pleased to hear that the Longshot is now a lot less accurate outside of the scope, so it's a lot more difficult to down people with a quick active-reload up close. Lastly, the Gorgon Pistol now fires a continual stream of bullets as oppose to it's burst fire in Gears 2, making it a much more useful SMG. I use my pistol a lot as the Retro Lancer downs people before killing them, so I frequently find myself grabbing enemies as a meat shield, and the Gorgon is very useful.


The Multiplayer Modes

Team Deathmatch

Is kinda fun, though I prefer objective based gameplay so I haven't really played much of this beyond what I needed to unlock the new characters. The limited number of lives makes sticking in a group a key tactic as it makes it much easier to revive squad-mates. It's very similar to the Rush tactics of Battlefield, where you need medics to prevent your reinforcements from being depleted. It's a smart way of promoting organised team-play and communication.

Capture The Leader 

Probably my favourite of the new game types. It's like a cross between Guardian and Submission from Gears 2, a cross between capture the flag and ViP mode. One player on each team is made the leader and the other players must protect their leader whilst trying to capture (meat-shield) the enemy leader. Once captured they must be held for 30 seconds. If both leaders are captured, the countdown timer stops until one leader is dropped. The main reason this game-type works so well is because the leader is actually given the tools required to be a valuable asset to the team instead of just a helpless AI that needs babysitting the whole time. The tac-com ability (pressing LB to see your team-mates on the HUD) now shows x-ray positions of friendly players, very similar to detective vision from Batman: Arkham Asylum, but the leader has the ability to also see enemy players as well. This means they can keep their team constantly updated as to enemy positions and respawn locations, etc. This is especially useful on the map Trenches, which features a sand-storm that covers the entire map in a blanket of sand, minimising visibility. Being able to see your team-mates and enemies through the sand is therefore very useful, and your team relies heavily upon your communication skills. 
Lastly, if you are the leader and you are captured by the enemy you have the ability to struggle against your captor by pressing B - this sounds kinda pathetic, but when you do so it effectively prevents them for firing or moving for a couple of seconds, potentially giving your team an advantage over your captor.

King of the Hill

Pretty much the same as it ever was, though the King Of the Hill matches currently last stupidly long amounts of time - up to 20 or 30 minutes for some of the longer games - so after unlocking all the characters I needed I haven't really gone back to those. Hopefully they will make them a bit shorter when the game hits retail.


I fucking love this gun!

The Characters and Levels

 The characters are pretty basic, not much to say really. The one notable exception is the Leader for the COG is Prescott, not Hoffman. Prescott served as a COG soldier (as did all politicians) during the Pendulum wars before Emergence day, however it was considered only a formality and he never actually saw any action. It's an interesting inclusion to have him here as by the end of the third Gears Of War book, Anvil Gate, which bridges the gap between the second and third games, Prescott has lost all power and authority as Leader of the COG and Hoffman is pretty much doing whatever the hell he wants. I think Cliffy B even mentioned that the third game is set when the COG had dissolved and Prescott had fled to an unknown location, so his inclusion here is somewhat strange. But then again, they have Cole in a fucking Thrashball uniform, so attempting to find continuity amongst the Gears 3 multiplayer characters seems somewhat futile.

The levels look really great.

 My favourite is probably Old Town, which is set on Vectes island, where the COG re-established themselves after Jacinto was sunk. The island is situated behind a deep sea trench which had prevented the Locust from tunnelling there, and housed an old naval base which had been de-militarised because of supposed toxic leakages. This is soon discovered to be false and when the COG arrive they find a small community of COG citizens who have been living on the island since the Pendulum wars and have never even seen a Locust before. Knowing all this, it's nice to finally get a chance to see some of the smaller COG settlements before they got all fucked up, and the level looks appropriately beautiful. I especially like being able to kill chickens with a Retro Bayonet. Good times.


So, I think that's all the important stuff covered. If anyone has any specific questions then I shall do my best to answer them. Otherwise I guess I will see some of you in the beta when the Bulletstorm kids get in tomorrow. 

I will be the one killing you.


Thanks For Reading
Love Sweep
Moderator
Posted by Enigma777

Not if I kill you first!

Posted by big_jon

I want to play this so bad. :(

Posted by jorbear

There is a whole lot of "fucking" going on in this post.

Does this mean Gears 3 also has an equal amount of "fucking"?
Posted by ZombiePie

So is Gears of War 3 fun?

Moderator Online
Posted by EpicSteve

I'm excited to try this out. 

Posted by Sparklykiss

My sister got the code for the beta this morning. I don't want to die. Oh goodness.

Moderator
Posted by Gabriel

Wow, there were Gears of War books?



Posted by RobotHamster

Awww Shittt, can't wait for it to come out.

Posted by Rudeboy217

Can't wait to play this tomorrow.

Posted by Sweep
@jorbear said:
" There is a whole lot of "fucking" going on in this post.
Does this mean Gears 3 also has an equal amount of "fucking"?
"
If you and I are involved, certainly.

@ZombiePie said:
" So is Gears of War 3 fun? "
For me it is. If you liked Gears 2 then 3 is of a sufficiently higher quality to make it worth playing. If you like competitive online shooting-stuff-in-the-face then it's definitely something you should check out.
Moderator
Posted by Daveyo520

so you still haven't said when you are giving me my beta code.

Posted by Little_Socrates

Weren't you supposed to keep your blogging to a minimum right now?


Whatever, thanks a ton for the in-depth overview, as I can't play the beta myself for a while off!
Posted by MrMatey72

I'm glad to hear the matchmaking is better.  But my question is it better at matchmaking you with people around your skill level this time?  Or is it to early to tell?  That was the main thing drove me away from Gears 2 multiplayer.

Posted by Sweep
@Little_Socrates: I actually typed this at 2am whilst sitting in university as a break from my work. Yeah, I write a 2,000 word blog as a form of relaxation. Bananas.

@MrMatey72: It's still too early to tell. There's only a few hundred people online at the moment (The highest I have seen was about 600 in the Team Deathmatch lobby) but the game also seems to prioritise matchmaking based on your location, so local matches will get priority. However as the game has been out for such a short amount of time, and the beta has a level 25 cap anyway, it's all a bit of a mess right now. I'm level 13 after hours of winning matches (I have a 1.8 K/D ration atm as well) and I'm usually the highest level in the room. I guess it would take a week minimum to hit the 25 cap. I'm not really worried about it as the level and XP isn't carrying over to the full game, i'm just trying to unlock everything while I can.
Moderator
Posted by Skrams

Pretty much agree with everything. I enjoy Retro Lancer after getting use to holding slightly down while firing as to keep up with the recoil. And I mostly use Gnasher as I always fuck up and miss with Sawed off. And KOTH does indeed last way too long. 8-10 minutes per round. 

I'm close to unlocking the Cole Train for retail and about 30-40 more matches until Gold Retro Lancer then I'll work on Retail Gold Retro Lancer.
Posted by ZombiePie
@Sweep:  Was Gears of War 2 fun?
Moderator Online
Posted by Sweep

Added some more info on new weapons including grenades and power weapons.


@Skrams: Yeah, I was slightly alarmed by how violent the Retro Lancer recoil is but once you get accustomed to it that gun is a beast. I love watching people roll into range expecting to gun me down with a shotgun and then getting torn up by my lancer. I don't use the charge much, though. Although it's pretty fun to do, it seems too easy to counter and exposes you slightly too much. If I want to get close and personal I switch to the Sawed Off.

I never liked the Gnasher, and I always hated how it was basically the only acceptable gun to use if you were serious about playing Gears 2 competitively. The changes in the Gears 3 beta are perfect for me, therefore.
Moderator
Posted by Sweep
@ZombiePie: Is that rhetorical? For me it was. What's your beef, zombieP? :D
Moderator
Posted by ZombiePie
@Sweep:  I haven't played a Gears of War game. Everything you are saying is in Spanish for me.
Moderator Online
Posted by Sweep
@ZombiePie: What, never? Why is that? Does the style of gameplay not appeal to you, or do you just not like chainsawing mutant alien insect-people in half?
Moderator
Posted by Skrams
@Sweep: Once I got use to the Retro Lancers Charge for instant kills I use it almost all the time. I actually use it instead of roadie running at the start of a round. I never really use it from the front though. At least I can't remember using it in a good situation from the front. Its more of a your shootng my dood dood, Ima stab you with a giant bayonet from behind dood. Its just a really good surprising flank tactic thingy. And I know the person on the other end probably just shit themselves. At least I usually do when randomly stabbed. And when I hear the 1 second of AAAAAHAHAAAH from the charge I know whats about to happen.
Posted by Captain_Felafel

Wait Bulletstorm was rubbish? No one told me! Shit, guess I need to return my copy. Ah, come on!!

Posted by Sweep
@Skrams: I'm having a lot of trouble with it where instead of impaling the guy I run into I just sort of bump into them and stun them. I think it's because they are in cover or I haven't been charging for long enough, but it leaves you super exposed and often the enemy can roll away and counter your attack. That's basically why I stopped using the charge, though I do think it looks awesome.

I also love how the characters respond when getting hit with a Torque bow. The first time I got hit I was playing as Dom. Just hearing him blurt "Crap" with a resigned sigh before exploding made me burst out laughing.
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Posted by ZombiePie
@Sweep:  Blood and gore.
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Posted by Skytylz

I'm very glad to hear the matchmaking is good, the slow matching really drove me away from it.  

Posted by Afroman269

Great read! It's awesome to see someone else who fucking loves the Gears games, especially multiplayer. I'm pissed I wasn't fast enough to get codes, so I'll have to wait till the 25th. I'm liking what I'm hearing about the weapons. My main concern is how similar does the game feel, in terms of character movement, to Gears 2? I never really liked the way you moved in Gears 2, I preferred Gears 1. Also are the dedicated servers up now? Notice any of the typical issues from the past games like bullet lag?

Posted by Skrams
@Sweep: Yeah the bumping into doods is when you haven't been charging for long enough. Not sure of them being in cover though. But yeah when it isn't a kill I'm usually blown away by a shotgun or I'm rolling away like a little girl. I've also never been good with a Torque bow so never used it. I rarely use map items besides heavy weapons. Also I love holding or rushing the nest on the Mining map whose name is escaping me.
Posted by Sweep
@Afroman269: I found bullet-lag very noticable in Gears 2 as well, as the dudes who I played with were all from the US. The dedicated servers seem to have solved that particular issue, though it remains to be seen how it will work when the servers are stressed.

I really like the character movement of this game, it feels a lot more fluent. The camera is a lot more flexible, meaning if you roll at an angle the camera doesn't jarringly flick to a new position and it's a lot less disorienting. Picking up items and weapons also requires a much more firm push of the X button so it's a lot easier to perform the correct actions. I still have nightmares from Gears 2 where instead of performing an execution I have picked up a stray weapon, only to see my downed enemy revive themselves and chainsaw me in half.

@Skrams: Trenches ;)
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Posted by Rawrz

I think there doing quite well with the multiplayer of Gears 3. Gears 2 got pretty annoying with all the nade tagging everywhere so im glad to see they did enough to stop kids from always doing that crap.  I havnt played Gears 2 in a long time so I may be misremembering but that lancer in 3 seems to down quicker then I remember.

Posted by JJWeatherman

After about 20 minutes of desperately scrabbling for codes that were being snatched up within SECONDS (literally two or three seconds) I managed to tag a code. I raised my fists triumphantly into the air, turned on my Xbox to begin the install, and went to get a beer while the Gears 3 Beta Downloaded.      

lol. That's pretty awesome.

Sounds like it's fairly balanced and cleaned up a bit. That's really all Gears 2 needed, so that sounds good. I'm slightly excited for the game's release, but It's still not completely drawing me in. Maybe it never will.
Posted by SlightConfuse

seems awesome might have to pre-order the game now 


interesting that they have prescott as playable, wonder if bernie or sam will be as well. 

Also remember that prescott's dick has some killer info on it
Posted by yoshimitz707
@Sweep Are you sure the cap is 25? I remember seeing someone at level 49 in a live stream.
Posted by FirePrince

I can't believe I read all of that.Good work Sweep, nice read!
First thing I'll be doing when I get Gears 3 is finish the campaign with a friend.

Posted by Sweep
@slightconfuse: They already said that Sam will be playable, and Mataki is in the campaign so will probably be in the Multiplayer as well at some point.

   Mataki!

@yoshimitz707: Really? Weird. All I know is there is an award for hitting 25 and I haven't seen anybody higher, though I wouldn't be surprised if you could grind up further than that.
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Posted by Yummylee

All I care about is having Kim and both of the now deceased Carmines making their way in through previous game save files <3.. OK, that's not all I care about, but I never played any Gears MP (I had a lot of fun split-screening Horde mode, though) having my membership firmly stuck in Silver, so it'll all be new to me heading in anyway, should I decide to get a months worth or so.

Posted by Oni

stopped reading when you called Bulletstorm rubbish. that hurts :( It's more fun than Gears 1+2 combined.

Edited by Sweep
@Oni said:

" stopped reading when you called Bulletstorm rubbish. that hurts :( It's more fun than Gears 1+2 combined. "

I hated it. I found it to be a repetitive, unimaginative one-trick pony that was equal parts crude frat-boy nonsense and painfully awkward sincerity.

EDIT: There, I edited my blog to be less provocative. Pussy.
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Posted by mracoon

For how broken it always felt, my friends and I had a great time in GOW2 multiplayer. Playing with people you know always helps distract you from problems in game so when everyone started moving on to different game I had no desire to play with strangers.

Everything I've seen of GOW3 looks very promising and I'm glad they pushed the release back if it means the whole experience is smoother and less buggy.

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Posted by Grimluck343

I like how the retro lancer has become the anti-shotgun. Instead of having shotgun duels 10 feet away from each other, the dude with the retro lancer gets the kill.

Posted by Bollard

Good read, thanks for summarising the beta for someone who won't get to play it :)

Posted by craigbo180

I could not read due to my furious jealousy of you being able to play the beta!

Posted by Oni
@Sweep said:
" @Oni said:

" stopped reading when you called Bulletstorm rubbish. that hurts :( It's more fun than Gears 1+2 combined. "

I hated it. I found it to be a repetitive, unimaginative one-trick pony that was equal parts crude frat-boy nonsense and painfully awkward sincerity.

EDIT: There, I edited my blog to be less provocative. Pussy.
"
Those words seem to apply directly to Gears of War, to me. Well, Gears doesn't require any creativity on the player's part, so I can see why you might think that.

ZING
Posted by Sweep
@Oni:
  
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Posted by Oni

good comeback bro

k I'll stop trolling your blog now

Posted by pikeplacer

Man I have spent at least 100 hours on the beta. WATCH YOUR BACK, I AM GOING FOR YOU!
Posted by Pibo47

Awesome! I cant wait to play gears 3 now! I should be getting into the beta on the 25th. So im pretty excited. And its good to hear that everything is more balanced and all the weapons have a place. Ill probly be the regular lancer quite a bit now. I always loved chainsawing people, and hey, maybe the gnasher wont be so fucking OP in this game and ruin it.

Posted by Shadow

My impressions: can't find a damn match after a half hour of searching

Posted by WalkerTR77
@Sweep:
I really appreciate the extensive blog, nice one! I played a ridiculous amount of gears multiplayer, but nowhere near as much of gears 2 multiplayer, so I'd like to know which game this is closer to? Come to think of it, I would really like a return to being able to choose, with very specific parameters which game you're going into the way it was for the first game. Sometimes you just want a snappy 6 rounder on mausoleum, what's wrong with that?
Posted by OtakuGamer

Gears 3 actually has a decent multiplayer from what I’ve played so far. Not once have I complained about that game since I downloaded the thing which is fucking surprising since it’s a Gears game. Also charging with the bayonet threw a smoke screen and getting a guy is the best part about this game XD. 

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