Gears of War 3 Preview: Four-Player Co-Op, Character Options, Horde 2.0 and More!


By: Adam Thomas
Courtesy of The Gamer Studio, in conjunction with

When things go to trilogies, there is usually an unsaid expectation of a letdown. We have all seen Terminator 3, no need to expound here. Videogames are no exception to the rule, as short of Super Mario Brothers 3, many games experience at least a little bit of disappointment.

This isn’t the fault of the game as much as it is the fault of the medium. Visiting the same world three times often leaves little to the imagination. That is why it is that much more difficult to create a game that engages the third time around.

This is where Epic plans to deviate with the third entry in the Gears of War series. After a triumphant beginning with Gears of War, and once again outdoing itself with Gears of War 2, the third title in the series has a heavy shadow behind it. After about an hour of play with Gears of War 3, however, there is a chance that we might be seeing another title that can improve the third time out.

The first impression of Gears was one of fluidity. The controls feel very tight and very instinctive. Small improvements to the controls make the game feel even tighter to those who are used to shooters on Xbox 360. Also, you won’t be just in control of Marcus and Dom, the ability to use six other characters, such as Cole and Baird. Also, the option for four-player co-op adds a little bit more spice to your solo campaign.

The multiplayer is where the game improvements shine. Those who got a chance to play the multiplayer beta already got to experience the improvements. More may come, such as some of the new weapons that will be available, but more things are hinted in the full game, such as better squad command and maps that will be resurfacing.

No one wants to play experts when they just start. For those who fear jumping into insane competition, fear not. Casual mode makes an appearance. This will be a competition lock to ensure that you are playing against proper competition to make the game fun.

Horde mode, a favorite of many gamers who loved cooperative gameplay, has been restructured into Horde 2.0. You have the ability to gain points and build defenses to help you protect your outposts. Team work will be essential as bosses will appear much more often, and things will be that much more difficult with defenses to help you. If it helps, think of Horde 2.0 as tower defense FPS.

One of the more interesting modes to come around is Beast mode. This will give the anti hero lurking inside the ability to play the locust. Your goal will be to take out as many humans as possible over 10 rounds. After firing against them for so long, it’s going to be an interesting change of pace to get ahead of them.

For those who have something to prove with their solo gaming prowess, arcade mode may be for you. The premise is quite simple: beat a level as fast as you can for points. You get more for killing effectively, you get less for dying. Your points go up on a leader board for all to see. There will be ladders for the most competitive amongst us.

With the improvement of new modes of gameplay to explore, the maximizing of multiplayer options, both head-to-head and cooperative, and subtle yet interesting improvements to solo gameplay, there is much for gamers to like here. We will get a chance to see the full thing in September, but for now, while things aren’t looking good for Marcus, Dom and company, it is looking great for gamers.

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