Fanboys of the Gears of War franchise were left utterly heartbroken when Epic Games dropped the buzzkill bomb and announced that the highly anticipated Gears of War 3 would not be released on April 13th as originally intended, having been delayed until September 20th. But not wanting to leave their fans out in the bitter cold, the developers have released a free multiplayer beta currently running on Xbox Live – from April 18th through May 15th, mind you – to sate their appetites for carnage! Read on to learn how you can get your hands on this beta, as well as what’s in store!
First, let’s tell you how to access the demo and start playing right away. If you happen to own Bulletstorm Epic Edition, you can access the beta through that game starting April 18th. But if you pre-order Gears of War 3 through Gamestop, you get a code that grants access to the beta starting on April 25th.
As the weeks go on, the demo will expand, adding more levels and game modes. Additionally, some of the characters and weapons which you unlock throughout the beta will carry over for use in the full game upon its release this fall (including fan favorite Cole wearing a thrashball uniform).
So, how is the demo? While we can’t judge a beta too much, so far it seems all the action from the previous games is back. In fact, there’s very much a feeling of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” No radical changes, but the many smaller tweaks are welcome.
Now, a new “Vision Mode” – similar to Detective Mode in Batman Arkham Asylum – lets you track your teammates through walls, making squad-based tactics easier. Regarding weapons, the demo has so far shown us a sawed-off shotgun; a Retro Lancer, which acts like a standard bayonet; and an updated Hammerburst Rifle with new iron sights for precision aiming.
By the time the demo runs its course, Epic promises four maps total: Thrashball (a stadium), Checkout (a shopping center), Trenches and Old Town (both of which have yet to be released). Game modes will be “Capture the Leader” and “King of the Hill,” as well as a new type of “Deathmatch” which involves a pool of lives shared by each team.
In the character department, all the old favorites are back too: grizzly Marcus Fenix, wifeless Dom, smart ass Baird and sports legend Cole, as well as a new character: the blonde hottie Anya.
If you’re looking forward to Gears of War 3, this beta serves as a nice little snack until September. With additional modes and maps being distributed over time, and unlockables which carry over into the real game, there’s enough to do until the beta ends on May 15th. Overall, so far, so good!
Check Out This Gears of War 3 Beta Walkthrough
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