Previously, I wrote a very detailed five-page article about my impressions of the Gears of War 3 beta. You can read that article by clicking here.
Now I’m going to give a further update on the Gears of War 3 beta. It appears several things have changed and/or been modified by Epic in some way. Based on my observations, I will explain everything in detail one subject at a time.
* Independent Online Servers: One of the things Epic promised from the beginning was independent servers online. Gears of War 3 is scheduled to be the first Xbox 360 game to offer this feature. During the first week the Gears of War 3 beta was available to everyone who preordered the game from Gamestop, I saw for myself that independent servers have the ability to work fine in a way that puts everyone on equal ground. Everybody is playing fairly in an environment where there is no form of host advantage. When independent servers are being used by Epic, I rate Gears of War 3 a 10 out of 10.
Unfortunately, news reports surfaced a couple weeks ago that the independent servers had gone down. From that point on, Gears of War 3 has used the same form of server setup used by other games. This is very disappointing and very frustrating because of host-server advantages. Games just aren’t as fun as they used to be with the Gears of War 3 beta, simply because all of the gamers are no longer competing on equal ground.
The best example of what I’m referring to can be described very easily by telling you about something I personally experienced. My teammates and I had filled an enemy with enough bullets to put that enemy down. But the enemy was behind an area where the bullets of my teammates could no longer reach the enemy. This meant the kill was going to be mind, since I was the only person on the team that had the ability to hit the fallen foe.
While this fallen enemy was crawling around on the floor, I had my Gnasher Shotgun armed. I used the Left Trigger to target the enemy and I used the Right Trigger to shoot the gun. I expected the enemy to die from that one shot at close range. I was surprised when the enemy did not die, so I targeted the enemy again and shot again. Once again, the enemy did not die! I repeated this process two more times, and yet the enemy would NOT die!
By the time I had hit the fallen enemy four times, he was able to tap the A-button enough times to stand up again. When the enemy got up, he just turned around and killed me with one close-range shot of his own Gnasher Shotgun. Can you say, “Not Fair?” This was the most unfair situation I have ever been involved with in any Gears of War game, and I instantly started telling people that if the final version of Gears of War 3 was going to be like that, I would be sticking with Call of Duty games. Unfair host advantages like that are why I stopped playing multiplayer in Gears of War 2.
The bottom line is that Epic needs to make sure Gears of War 3 uses independent servers. The host-advantage has too much of a negative affect on Gears of War game play. Please, Epic, make sure Gears of War 3 keeps your promise of independent servers.
* Glitches: Since the end of the first week, I have only encountered one glitch. This glitch was on May 8, 2011. Two friends and I simultaneously joined a match in progress. My two friends joined and I was watching them without any problem. But I was never able to join. I’m not even sure if my character joined at all. If my character did join, he was just standing there doing nothing. The only thing I could see was the Ghost Camera viewpoint. Epic, this needs to be fixed. The map it occurred on was The Trenches.
This was similar, but worse, than a glitch I experienced during the first week. During that week, I was in the Thrashball stadium. I was able to join the game and I could see the point of view of my character. But my character was stuck in the same spot. The only reason the match ended was because my teammate killed me with a grenade. Epic needs to fix this type of glitch.
* Grenades: In my last article, I promised that I would talk about grenades in my next article. I have kept my promise, and my analysis can be very simple. I think Epic got the grenades just right. The smoke grenades don’t do any damage; however they play a very important role in strategy. You can also use smoke grenades in the Capture the Leader mode, since a smoke grenade will cause the captured leader to be set free.
Frag grenades are just as powerful as ever. You can use them to kill multiple enemies at a time by throwing them or by tagging them to a wall or an enemy. The cool thing in Gears of War 3 is that if you are tagged by an enemy you can actually try and take that enemy out so that at least both of you die. This means if you tag an enemy with a grenade, you need to get away fast.
Ink grenades emit a very powerful gas of poisonous smoke. This can kill multiple people, including your own teammates. In fact, you can even potentially kill yourself with the ink grenade. The use of the Ink grenade is excellent and I think Epic has it right. It seems like the strength of the Ink grenade has been slightly lowered from the first week of the beta up to this point. This is probably a good thing because the ink grenade is supposed to cause people to evacuate, not necessarily die.
Incendiary grenades are a very powerful form of flame grenade. I feel very confident that these grenades have lost a lot of power from the first week compared to right now. During the first week of the beta, I lost count of the number of times I saw people dying from the incendiary grenade explosions that caused people to burn to death. Now, you need to stay in the lava flame for quite a while before you are in danger of dying; I never see people die from this anymore. Epic might want to make it so the strength is slightly increased, or possibly so the lava stays in the same spot for a long time. This would add a strategy element that makes it so you take away part of a map, since lava is there for a while.
* Gorgon Pistol: During the first week, it seemed like the Gorgon needed to be a lot more powerful. The reason for this is because the Gorgon needed to be a lot more powerful! It seems like Epic may have added some power to the Gorgon since the first week. Now it is actually possible to put an enemy down with the Gorgon, if you put an entire clip of ammo into him. But it is very common to have kills stolen from you while firing the Gorgon. You need to use a whole clip just to put an enemy down, regardless of range. By the time you reload your Gorgon pistol, someone else has already killed the enemy.
In my opinion there is absolutely no reason to waste time picking up a Gorgon pistol in Gears of War 3. Epic needs to increase the power of this pistol and make sure it has more ammunition in each clip. The simple fact is, if there is no reason to pick up a weapon, why bother picking it up? With that in mind, you need to ask the question if the Gorgon pistol really belongs in the game. It is a very cool weapon with a lot of potential, but it simply needs more ammo and more power.
* Boltok Pistol: During the first week I thought it was awful the way the Boltok was so week. I once got two headshots and a third shot to the chest on an enemy and the enemy did not die! Epic appears to have increased the power of the Boltok, but not enough. This week I fired a perfect headshot on an enemy, and it still did not kill the enemy. Although, I was once killed with a single shot to the head. This makes me wonder if the reason why that headshot did not kill the enemy is because of the host-server advantage.
My advice to Epic would be to make it so the Boltok is more powerful. It doesn’t shoot very fast, and it takes relatively long to reload. With that in mind, it is alright if the Boltok pistol is a powerful weapon, especially at close range. C’mon Epic, make it so this pistol is powerful the way it should be! If the Boltok pistol were more powerful, more people would pick up the weapon and be motivated to use shields.
* Boomshot: This weapon works exactly as it is supposed to. If you get hit with it, you die! It normally comes with only two or three rounds, so make sure you use it carefully. Epic should keep things exactly as they are with the Boomshot.
* Torque Bow: This weapon is a powerful weapon that takes a bit of practice firing. Anyone familiar with this weapon already will be fine with Gears of War 3. It takes a second or two to aim, and then if you hit the enemy they are blasted with a powerful shot. I think Epic has things just right with this weapon.
* Longshot Sniper: This weapon functions exactly as it did in previous Gears of Wars games. If you use the scope and get a headshot the enemy always dies. If you hit them in the chest it usually requires two shots to get a kill. If you miss the head, you feel guilty and accept responsibility. The Longshot sniper weapon makes it so headshots become particularly important, and it allows the graphics to look fantastic. You can literally see the teeth of the enemy with that scope! Epic should keep things exactly as they are with the Longshot sniper rifle.
* Oneshot Sniper: This new weapon has an incredibly long range – far longer than the Longshot. The other big difference is the power of the weapon. The Oneshot usually has only three rounds of ammo, but they are powerful! The Oneshot sends out a beam of light, similar to the Torque Bow so that an aware enemy knows they are being targeted. But if you can shoot someone with the Oneshot, they will be killed in one shot! In my opinion, Epic should keep things exactly as they are with the Oneshot.
* Digger Launcher: This new weapon adds a lot of new strategy to the game. The Digger Launcher usually has about three rounds of ammunition when you pick it up. But each of these three rounds is capable of killing multiple opponents with one shot – similar to a grenade. In fact, the aiming of this weapon is virtually identical to a grenade, even though you hold it as a gun.
When you shoot the Digger Launcher weapon, it sends out a big tunnel being ripped through the ground. If you are near that explosive tunnel being sent in your direction, you will die if you don’t get out of the way. You can see it coming, so you need to hop to the side in order to get away. I believe Epic has done a great job with the Digger Launcher and should keep everything as it is.
* Flame Scorcher: This weapon desperately needs more power! Of all the weapons in Gears of War 3, the one that is the least useful is this flame thrower weapon. Regardless of where this flame thrower is available for people to pick up, I never see people take the time to pick it up. I presume the reason I don’t see other people pick this weapon up is the same reason I don’t pick it up – it is absolutely worthless as a weapon!
Epic needs to make some huge changes with this particular weapon and the flames it throws. When you shoot someone with flames for three seconds while they are running at you through the flames, and then they kill you with one close-range Sawed-Off Shotgun blast, it means the game loses one full point in my book! In other words, Gears of War 3 goes from a 10 to a 9 in my book, simply because of that one huge problem! Epic, I am telling you on behalf of gamers everywhere: Make the Flame Scorcher weapon more powerful!
* Hammerburst: Last time I wrote a detailed report about how the Hammerburst rifle needs more power. I still want to make it 100% clear that the Hammerburst rifle needs more power. It is very common for people to unload an entire clip of Hammerburst ammo at enemies, and yet the enemy will not even fall! Epic, this needs to be changed for obvious reasons.
The simple fact of life in videogames is that if you shoot someone to the point where you need to reload a weapon, you expect that enemy to die! For goodness sake, if you unload an entire clip in an enemy, you at least expect the enemy to fall down! But when you unload an entire clip in an enemy while he is running directly at you, only to get blown into pieces with a single shot from his shotgun, it means gamers are motivated to play a different game. Epic, make it so the Hammerburst and Flame Scorcher weapons are more powerful!
* Conclusion: Overall, I believe Gears of War 3 has the potential to be the best game released in 2011. However, there are still some fundamental flaws that prevent this from happening. Several weapons such as the Hammerburst and Flame Scorcher desperately need more power. If the Flame Scorcher isn’t given that power, Epic should remove it from the game to avoid embarrassing themselves. Why bother picking up a weapon if it has no use or puts you at an obvious disadvantage.
I really hope Epic takes the time to read this four-page article, along with my previous five-page article. I really did take an incredible amount of time to try and help Epic. I hope my blog Followers enjoyed reading this. Please feel free to share your thoughts on my blog.
Also, if you have suggestions for Epic regarding the Gears of War 3 beta, visit this website in order to let them know what you’d like to see in the final version of Gears of War 3 or what problems you have found in the beta version: http://forums.epicgames.com/forumdisplay.php?f=400
Finally, I'd like to mention a couple really cool things Epic did with the beta of Gears of War 3. On the weekend of Easter, the characters had heads with bunnies! And last weekend the characters had oversized heads with very high-pitched voices similar to what a person sounds like if they breath helium! This was very funny!
Take a look for yourself here: