So, the Gears Of War 3 Multiplayer Beta is into its third week now, and all the maps and gametypes that Epic had planned to roll out for the beta are now in rotation. Let’s have a look at the gametypes, shall we?
Gears Of War 3’s primary multiplayer mode is Team Deathmatch, which plays out as anyone familiar with the shooter genre might expect, but with a slight twist – instead of counting up to a target score, each team has a pool of lives which get gradually depleted. This means that the frantic early stages of a match give way to a tense standoff as one or both teams run low on lives, with the potential for a desperate last stand or even a surprise turnaround always on the cards. Overall, I much preferred this mode to the traditional Warzone and Execution modes of the previous Gears games – it’s a little more forgiving for newcomers, and it’s far more interesting to play a game where you don’t have to sit out half of every match.
Next up is King Of The Hill, which has received some alterations from its previous incarnation in Gears 2. In fact, it bears more of a resemblance to the previous games’ Annex mode than anything. For the uninitiated, King Of The Hill required teams to capture and hold a set point on the map for the entire round, but Annex mode featured multiple, changing locations. Gears Of War 3’s King Of The Hill mode is basically Annex mode, but with one slight change – the locations now shift on a set time rotation (75 seconds, by default), rather than being worth a fixed number of points. This helps to keep things flowing and makes comebacks more likely for a team who’ve got one eye on when the location will move. Annex was probably my favourite mode to play in Gears Of War 2, and in that regard King Of The Hill hasn’t disappointed me.
Finally, there’s Capture The Leader, another fusion of two modes from Gears Of War 2 – Guardian, where the objective was to assassinate the enemy leader, and Submission, where the objective was to capture a neutral AI character and bring him to a set point on the map. Logically enough, Capture The Leader requires you to down the enemy leader and hold him hostage for a set period of time in order to win. This helps to alleviate some of the problems that the previous gametypes had – being the leader in Guardian mode was a massive drag, as you basically had to find somewhere to hide and cower in fear with your shotgun, but in Capture The Leader you still have a chance to get rescued by your teammates if you get caught. Similarly, Submission matches could drag on for an eternity thanks to the need to drag the character to a specific location, but Capture The Leader avoids that issue by simply requiring you to hold on to the enemy leader for 30 seconds – and it gets cut down to 15 if the game drags on for too long.
Of all the new gametypes, Capture The Leader has the most little nuances to get used to. For one, whoever is the leader can’t actually die, only get downed – so if you’re carrying the leader and end up being forced to drop them, don’t give them the chance to get up unless you want a shotgun blast to the face. Speaking of which, Smoke Grenades become more valuable in this gametype – a well placed blast from one is enough to free your leader from the clutches of their captor. And if you’re the leader and do end up getting captured, don’t go down without a fight – you can press the B Button at intermittent intervals to temporarily stun your assailant. Wait for an opportune moment if you can… like when your captor has a grenade at their feet, for example.
Next time, I’ll wrap up my beta impressions with a look at the maps.
(Image via IGN.com)