Gears of War 3 Preview

New Maps

A totally ravaged city rubble heap. It features wide open areas, mixed with a bunch of pillars for crouching/hiding, and a dual Retro Lancer turret up on the overpass. Occasionally the map is hit with some serious seismic activity. The whole map shifts, sending land jutting way up in the air.

A tight, compact little maze in a dusty, sandy area. The sticking point to this one is that periodically a sandstorm will sweep through the map, making it tough to see even a few feet in front of you. It’s great for Retro Lancer users.

An outdoor church courtyard. Really bright, really open, lots of foliage and greenery. The prettiest of the new maps, next to Oldtown.

An old Thrashball arena, with a wide open central battlefield bedecked with low cover, and some offshoot tunnel areas for hiding and weapon spawns. Great for the Digger Launcher, and Retro Lancer charging.

A very tight, very cover-intensive little map in a destroyed store. Great for the Sawed-off Shotgun.

A colorful, beautiful fishing town. The prettiest map, definitely.

New Features, Tweaks & Tactics

Active Aiming Reticule
The aiming reticule will tell you if your aiming sucks. If your aiming is wild, the reticule will be wider. Slow down and aim carefully and it’ll zero in, telling you you’re more accurate.

Active Reload Revamp
The “active reload” mechanic has been overhauled. Instead of every weapon having the same exact active reload window, each weapon is different. For instance, the Retro Lancer kicks ass, sure. But it’s also old, and prone to jamming–so when you go to reload that thing, you’ve got a TINY window of opportunity to make it click. The same is true of the Sawed-off. That one is close to being impossible to nail under pressure.

Tagging Enemy Positions
You can “tag” enemy locations for your teammates. Aim at an enemy, and push in LS. You’ll see a little circular icon appear above their head for a few seconds. Use this to communicate and call out enemy locations to teammates using the Hammer of Dawn or Mortars.

New Executions
Weapon-specific executions: each weapon in the beta will have a standard execution, which you activate by tapping Y near a downed enemy. But each weapon will also have an special unlockable execution, which you have to earn (the press build had these already unlocked). You have to hold Y to activate these, and they leave you pretty vulnerable. The Retro Lancer, for instance, stabs the enemy, then slices his neck. The Hammerhead smashes the enemies face with the butt-end of the gun.

When you’re down, don’t crawl around. Just mash A like a mad man. You’ll slowly get up on your own. That’s huge. It’s a tossup as to what you should do, given the situation you’re in.

New and Modified Weapons

Sawed-off shotgun
One-shot kill machine, but you’ll need to be close enough to hug your enemy to use it.

Incendiary Grenades
Just what they sound like. They light people on fire, and if you “tag” an enemy with one, you’re treated a burning-alive-in-lava death animation.

One Shot
Crazy-accurate sniper rifle.

Digger Launcher
Aim it in the general direction of a enemy, and fire. It sends a grenade burrowing through the earth like Bugs Bunny, under structures even. Yes! Extremely destructive, very powerful. There’s one in the middle of Thrashball.

Retro Lancer
The recoil on this thing is brutal. When you fire it’s like a strong person has grabbed the barrel and shoved it upwards. And the active reload is also brutal. But hold B and you’ll charge forward with the bayonet, executing anyone in your path.

Push LT to aim right down the sights for extreme accuracy.

Multiplayer Modes

Team Deathmatch
Each team starts with 15 spawns each. If a teammate dies, your team loses a spawn. When your team runs out of spawns, everyone is on their last life. This gets pretty tense, often with close two-on-three, or four-on-two type games that go down to the last battle.

Capture the Leader
This is sort of like Guardian meets Submission, for Gears vets. You’ll need to capture the leader of the other team, and hold onto them long enough to win.

King of the Hill
Move around the map to capture and control energy rings. The longer you control areas, the more points your team earns. The rings move around the map, so you’ll have to keep moving.

Join the Conversation   

* required field

By submitting a comment here you grant GameFront a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/web site in attribution. Inappropriate or irrelevant comments will be removed at an admin's discretion.

2 Comments on Gears of War 3 Preview


On March 6, 2011 at 9:20 am

It’s Smashball not Smashbowl

Mark Burnham

On March 6, 2011 at 1:36 pm

@Cory, it looks like it’s actually “Thrashball,” the name of both the sport and the map. Fixed.