Another year has passed and now we have another huge beta for people to participate in. Last year we had the Halo: Reach beta around this time and this year we have the Gears of War 3 beta. The Gears 3 Beta will be running for approximately a month and will go in cycles according to how you acquired your entry code. This week is open to people who purchased the Epic Edition of Bulletstorm. Then I believe it opens up to everyone who pre-ordered the game. Enough about dates and other miscellaneous information, lets get to the interesting stuff.
First and foremost the Gears 3 beta has been a blast to play so far, but with that being said it is still just a beta. So there are some drawbacks, but hopefully nothing that creeps into the final retail version of the game. The biggest problem I noticed was connecting with another friend to play. I do not want to point fingers as it could have been a problem on my end, but it was a problem that was prevalent in Gears 2 multiplayer. Also some of the weapons seem really unbalanced (Sawed-off shotgun), but I digress.
The early preview beta, which is running now allows players to play on two maps (Thrashball and Checkout). But the only mode available right now is Team Deathmatch (which is cool with me).
“Thrashball” takes place in a Thrashball arena (Cole’s forming stomping grounds) and is set up as such. Players can navigate around the field, sideline corridors, and even the stands and concession areas. “Thrashball” is a very fast paced and no-bullshit kind of map. The minute you leave your spawn you will be under fire so you need to think quick and act even faster. The stands offer a great high point to pick off opponents, but be sure to have back up because if you get flanked you are good as dead. Also the large monitor in the center of the field can be shot down and will deal out some serious damage (like kill you instantly). Lastly the carnage on “Thrashball” is ubiquitous so keep your eyes peeled around every corner. “Thrashball” is fun and will surely be a hit within the Gears community, but now onto Checkout.
“Checkout” is the other TD map available in the early preview and operates at a slower pace than “Thrashball”. “Checkout” is set in an abandoned department store and nothing shopping related will occur unless you can purchase items in blood. What I have noticed with “Checkout” more than “Thrashball” is that people tend to gravitate to one side and just destroy each other. Also spawn camping is more of a problem when playing on “Checkout”, which sucks but can be remedied if you adjust quickly after respawning. There are a few good vantage points to give you the upper hand on your enemies, but just like the ones in “Thrashball” you can be flanked and killed very quickly, so novice players should avoid these areas. All in all “Checkout” is good map to acclimate newcomers to Gears and I believe was a good choice for the beta.
The beta also tracks your stats and progress and will more than likely unlock stuff for you in the retail version of the game. I hope some things transfer over, but if not it will be fun to tear shit up again and start from scratch, here is to hoping.
I am glad to being playing Gears again because it always feels like a lifetime in between my play sessions. The beta is going to be a great way to iron out the problems that made Gears 2 less enjoyable than its predecessor and is also a great fan service to those of us who didn’t want to wait another five months to play the final build. If you get a chance to participate you will not be let down. You can still grab codes for pre-ordering it at Gamestop I believe so get over to your local store and take care of that. I will try and update this at the beta moves forward. As always I hope this was informative and until then stay tuned and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @GamersAbstract and on Facebook.