SSG has been fortunate enough to play three of the four weeks of the beta and uncovered as much as possible about this highly-anticipated final act to the Gears of War series. What can we expect from Gears 3? Read more to find out.
1. A Brief History (of the Series)
Gears of War is a fairly well-known series. Its style is relatively unique in that it is definitely not a glorification of war. The battlefield of Gears of War is not some distant land or planet. It’s supposed to feel like the entire world has been torn apart and there’s no chance to get it back to what it once was. War isn’t an option. You’re not fighting for rewards or weapons or planets. You’re fighting for survival. Humanity fights because if it doesn’t, it will be exterminated.
From the very first trailer released way back in 2006, this game has been a haunting vision of the horrors of war. It’s not nice, it’s not happy. You’re glad to be alive, but you’re constantly trying to find that one trick that will turn the tide of the war in humanity’s favor. Unfortunately, that trick never seems to materialize, as every major tactic the humans try ultimately falls far short of expectations.
Those of you who have played the first and second Gears of War games will understand that this series is well known for its over-the-top violence. The first game included the Lancer, which is an automatic rifle with a chainsaw bayonette. In short, it's a chainsaw on the end of the gun that the player can use to rip enemies in half for an instant kill. It's gruesome and bloodly and it's one of the reasons the game is so popular.
For those parents ready to write off the entire series now, hold on a second. It's definitely violent, but the violence is so over the top that it's hardly the level of realism that games like Modern Warfare or Black Ops achieve. At no time did I ever feel like I could see myself chainsawing people in half because of what I did in Gears.
That being said, the guys at Epic Games came up with new, creative "executions" for Gears 2. Executions are finishing moves that the player can use to kill a damaged enemy. In Gears 1, the only executions were the Lancer's chainsaw or a curb stomp, where the player turns over an enemy and violently smashes the enemy's head with the player's boot.
In addition to the original 2 executions, Gears 2 introduced executions unique to other weapons. Amongst others players can smash an enemy down with the sniper rifle, decapitate an enemy with the torque bow (basically a composite bow), and smash an enemy's skull with the boomshield (a large, heavy metal shield). It’s definitely as violent as it sounds.
2. What We Know
The Gears 3 Beta has revealed a lot. This game will be even more violent than we expected. Almost every weapon has some sort of unique execution and some of the executions are extremely brutal. Two executions in particular caught my attention.
First, the Lancer has a new execution of downed enemies. The player will flip the enemy over onto its back then drive the chainsaw bayonette into the enemy’s stomach and rev hard. The result is a bloody spray flying everywhere.
Second, the flamer has an execution of downed enemies as well. The player will flip the enemy over onto its back then push the nozzle of the flamer into the enemy’s stomach and pull the trigger. The enemy will flail as flames spurt out of its body.
The visual graphicness of this violence isn’t much worse than what the previous Gears games have included, but the quality of the sound has significantly increased. Instead of sounding like a saw going through wood, chainsaw kills sound like the player is hacking through wet meat. It sounds much, much more realistic.
This game will not be appropriate for kids under 16 simply for the violence. The beta alone has made this clear.
3. What We Expect
I don’t expect anything worse than what was seen in the beta to be apparent. There might be some minor substance use, but there is no basis in the history of the series. Sexuality will not be an issue. Neither will pretty much any other category.
Human disfigurement may come into play. If humans can become lambent (basically infected by a sort of lava/oil substance), then disfigurement will be a factor. However, I don’t expect this to be an element.
The online community may become more of an issue than what was previously included. While the Gears 3 community is more mature than the Call of Duty or Halo communities, it will definitely have a set of players that are more skilled than others. The matchmaking system in the beta seemed to be fairly good except when it came to parties. Hopefully the guys at Epic Games fix this problem.
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