Gears of War 3 Campaign E3 2010 Preview

By Brian Leahy, Jun 22, 2010 8:20am PDT QUICK TAKE: Gears of War 3 takes place around 18 months after the sinking of Jacinto at the end of Gears of War 2. The Locust, now without a queen to lead them, are struggling to survive after being forced to the surface. Human society on Sera has been reduced to small collections of people in an almost feudal or tribal system. Marcus Fenix and a small group of what remains of Delta Squad hole up and continue fighting.

There's a new enemy on the field: the Lambent, which have been seen in small numbers in the previous entries in the franchise, are a full force to be reckoned with now. These enemies are much more powerful than the Locust and will require concentrated fire to bring down. Lambent also explode when they die leading the Gears to develop new combat moves. For example, after chainsawing a Lambent foe, players will kick them away before the explosion, which can be used to take out other enemies.

This has created a three-way war between the humans, Locust, and Lambent, though we were assured that the humans will never team up with the Locust to fight the greater threat of the Lambent. All of this is playable with four players online in co-op. Player one will always control Marcus or Cole Train, while players two through four will control a varying cast of characters as needed for the narrative.

The main story will revolve around Fenix's father Adam, who reaches out to Marcus claiming to have a method to save the planet. It was believed that it was Adam's plan to defeat the Locust by sinking Jacinto, but a radio transmission sent at the end of Gears of War 2 left players unsure.

On the gameplay side, Gears of War 3 will sport a few new changes and improvements. The reticule will expand and contract to communicate accuracy to the player. An old-school lancer with a bayonet (and not a chainsaw) will be available along with a roadie-run charging impale move. Players can tag enemies with grenades after taking them hostage and kick them toward enemies before detonation.

As for game modes, a new co-op mode called "Beast" will be available, which Garnett got a chance to check out during the show. The campaign will also be replayable for score in co-op in Arcade Mode with each player able to earn and bring in one Mutator per session. These Mutators are like Halo skulls. Some will make the game more challenging, while others will just add some fun effects.

As for competitive multplayer, Epic is remaining tight-lipped at the moment. I do know that it will incorporate a lot of the ranking features introduced in the Gears of War 2 Title Update 3 as well as unlockable executions to show off a player's level.

[Gears of War 3 is developed by Epic Games and will be released exclusively for the Xbox 360 on April 5, 2011.

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