The Gears of War 3 beta has officially started for the owners of Bulletstorm Epic edition (review here) with the promotional code entered on Monday. The long awaited and somewhat delayed conclusion to the Gears trilogy is finally letting the fans get a sneak peak at the competitive side of the game and the visuals. Players get to experience three game modes and four maps spanning the four weeks the Beta will be available. Week 1 is for those that have a copy of Bulletstorm Epic edition and on week 2 people who proffered Gears from select retailers will get to join in. However there are other ways to get in, such as the silly contests @therealcliffyb and @markrein have had going on Twitter.
Week 1 has brought gamers the Team Deathmatch mode and two maps to try out. Each team consists of 5 players and a total of 15 respawns, the last team left standing is the winners of the round. The game style is a best out of three so teams must win 2 rounds to claim victory. The first map available is Checkout which is a tight quartered shopping area that brings many intense and epic moments to the table. The other map is Thrashball which is a stadium style map for a fictitious game that Cole played before he became a Gear. This map is slightly bigger then checkout with an upper and lower field and well as a score board that you can knock down. On the maps themselves the new incendiary grenades can be found as well as the new Digger gun. The Digger launches a slow moving projectile that burrows underground and pops up when it is near an enemy to kill it. It will go through Walls and obstacles and keeps people from camping. The other new guns that are available are ones you spawn with. The Retro Lancer is a powerful mid to close range rifle that has a bayonet on the front, holding B will make you run with the bayonet ready to impale enemies. The other new weapon is the sawed off shotgun, this one takes a long time to reload and has virtually no range but used properly kills in 1 shot and can kill multiple targets at once. The sawed off shotgun is best used if the player has a melee weapon mentality and uses it almost like a melee weapon. The rest of the weapons come back from Gears of War 2 but have the ability to have skins unlocked for them, adding style to the game.
There are a lot of things to unlock by playing the beta, and a few things transfer over to the retail game such as the Cole Train outfit and the Golden Retro Lancer once they are unlocked. There are also special finishing moves for each weapon that need to be unlocked by getting a certain amount of kills with that weapon and they are very satisfying. The dedicated servers really work well but this being a beta sometimes there are tweaks done and everything doesn’t always work 100%. Sometimes you cannot connect to dedicated servers and the game becomes a Gears 2 style with host advantage but restarting the game usually fixes that. Also sometimes there will be a glitch and one of the unreleased maps will come into rotation and when that happens you know you are not on dedicated servers. As long as everyone out there remembers that this is a beta and is not perfect or something you have paid for then it will be a great experience but if people expect a fully polished product then that is unrealistic. These Betas are designed to iron out the kinks for day 1 of the real game and minor issues are to be expected but overall this is a highly polished product as far as betas go. Hopefully everyone that participants will contribute to a greater experience once the game is out on the shelves. Check back next week when week 2 is looked at as a new map is scheduled to be added but there could be more surprises.