E3 2010: Gears of War 3 Beast Mode PreviewBy Sterling McGarvey - Posted Jun 17, 2010
What We Know:
Gears of War 3's single-player campaign finds Marcus Fenix and company in a bad state of affairs 18 months after the first game. The locusts have become infected by the side effects of emulsion into mutants known as Lambets, and they're out to destroy anything in their paths. Also, you can gore stuff good.
What We're Seeing Now:
Epic Games is holding off on most of the major details, but I was able to experience the newly announced Beast Mode at a Microsoft event last night. Lead designer Cliff Bleszinski provided a few details during an open interview panel as well. Beast Mode turns the tables on Horde Mode in some regard. You and four other friends can hop online to play as different classes of monsters to attack waves of COG soldiers. Creatures as small as Tickers and as large as Berzerkers are all selectable characters that you can use to decimate humans.
A few hours after the interview panel, I popped down on a comfy couch with controller in hand and tried out Beast Mode. For the sake of the demo and balancing, I was restricted to a limited number of classes during the three rounds I played, and each one has its own unique and unusual approaches.
For example, while the Ticker should be able to detonate both itself and a COG soldier, it takes mroe work than you think. As a suicide-bombing creature, the ideal strategy is to set yourself up to explode near a soldier, which sounds quite simple. However, the Ticker works exactly as it does when you first encounter them in Gears 2: there's a time delay between the time the creature starts shooting out sparks and the time it takes to explode. And in the same way that you could roll out of a Ticker's way as Marcus Fenix, the game AI knows to do the same. In order to properly sneak behind an enemy and take them with you to the spawn loadaout menu, you'[ll likely need someone distracting them with gunfire.
Wretches, while not the most dangerous creatures in low numbers, do have the advantage of using cover before going in for attack. With the smaller beasts, it seems like it's only feasuble to pick them when more than one player is using them if you want to maximize your kill potential.
I had less of a problem with the Butcher, which wields a massive blade to hack human soldiers into sinewy steaks. With heftier-sized creatures, it's harder to run out into the line of fire, since beasts like the Butcher or the Boomer can be quickly peppered with gunfire, and are simply too big to use cover. Before I was picked off, I managed to make a few nasty kills.
In the next round, Butchers were gone, but the Kantus -- remember those annoying resurrecting Locusts? -- was selectable. In Beast Mode, the Kantus class functions as sort of a Medic toward the wounded and near-dead. With its resurrective powers, it can bring back heaviy wouldned allies.
Horde Mode has been confirmed for Gears 3, but the only multiplayer section that Epic has been openly willing to discuss this E3 is Beast Mode. And frankly, based on my time with it, I'm looking forward to seeing what else that team will devise between now and April. Color me impressed.