Sprite This Down: Gears of War 3 Multiplayer Impressions
Thursday, September 29 2011 - Sprite This Down - by: born4this
There is a prerequisite for talking about Gears of War, so forgive me for not typing my thoughts about the Gears of War 3 multiplayer in this opening paragraph. Before one can say anything about Gears of War, one must first mention how hardcore Gears of War is. Fortunately, I find this task any easy one to take on, and I'm fully prepared to do so right now.
A long description of how hardcore Gears of War 3 is. Gears of War is Bad Astrovan. (That's a nice way of saying it's totally Bad A**!)
This Astrovan's got nothing on Gears of War 3. It's so Bad Astrovan... (Gears of War 3, not the Astrovan.)
Now that I have that out of the way, I can share my impressions of the Gears of War 3 multiplayer.
One of the new features for Gears of War 3 is four player co-op. I've made plans to play my first playthrough of the campaign with three of my friends, so unlike most games, I jumped into the multiplayer first instead of the single player. I played the previous two games long after their release dates, so I didn't play the multiplayer in those, which makes Gears of War 3 my first Gears of War multiplayer experience.
The things I like about it so far:
Matchmaking is impressively quick. I've probably spent less time in the menus than any other online multiplayer I've ever played. Gears of War 3 doesn't seem to have the annoying delays that I've encountered in many Halo and Call of Duty game modes. Particularly when you play casual or standard (not sure about ranked), the game doesn't take you back to the menus after a match is over - it just takes everyone into a new match, with a wait in between that is less than 30 seconds. No voting on maps and all that extra crap - Gears of War is all about getting in the game.
The kills are satisfying. All of the weapons feel powerful, especially the sawed-off shotgun. Also, cutting an opponent in half with the chainsaw on your Lancer never gets old.
The game modes are fun. The game only appears to have six different multiplayer modes (that I know of), but they all did a great job of drawing me in. My favorite mode is Capture the Leader, where someone on your team has to down the enemy team's leader and then hold him for 30 seconds (the way you hold an enemy in the single player to use them as a "meat shield.")
Unlockable characters. Pretty self explanatory, but I will add that you can unlock different versions of the human characters, like the Cole in a football uniform that you can only get if you played the beta (as far as I know, the rest are unlockable with no out-of-game prerequisites, though some may be DLC.)
Balancing seems good (so far). I've been in a lot of intense, close matches this past week. Like Halo, the matchmaking seems to be based on skill and not just your XP level like Call of Duty.
Things I don't like:
Lack of speed. The game does give you the option to run if you hold down the A button, but... I don't know, the running just isn't the same. It's a little difficult to stear your character while they're running. The girls seem to move a little faster than the guys, but overall, the characters in Gears of War move REALLY slowly. It's an adjustment from the fast paced FPS games I'm used to.
The spawning seems off at times. I've noticed on several occasions that the game will spawn the opposing team very close to you at game deciding moments, which is rather annoying because... well, it's just not a good time! HAHA! If it's three to one at the end of a match, the lone player is already at a disadvantage, so it's pretty frustrating for them to suddenly have a guy right on them as they're trying to get setup to face the odds.
Not enough unlockables. The unlockable characters are cool, but outside of that and new skins for my guns, I haven't unlocked much yet. Combine that with a small number of game modes and the multiplayer doesn't seem very deep. Being the third game in the series, I expected more customization.
It seemed really difficult at first because the pace felt a lot slower and I couldn't just run around and aggresively get kills (the cover system is a major component of the Gears of War gameplay, so defense is inescapable.) After three or four solid sessions, I'm getting used to the GoW3 multiplayer, and my overall opinion of it is positive. However, I think it's safe to say that the campaign, horde mode, and the newly added beast mode are Gears of War 3's strongest selling points. If you're looking to buy a game for its competitive online multiplayer only, I wouldn't recommend Gears of War 3, especially not at full retail price (I'd save my money for Battlefield 3 or Modern Warfare 3.) If you're looking to buy a game for the complete package (single player, co-op, and competitive online multiplayer), I'd say Gears of War 3 is a must buy this fall.
There are a lot of great games releasing this fall, but Gears of War 3 seems like a fierce competitor so far. The multiplayer isn't as deep as I'd like it to be, but this game has the high amount of polish you'd expect from a AAA title. And it has chainsaw duels...... CHAINSAW DUELS! That's Bad Astrovan.
What about you: Are you enjoying the Gears of War 3 multiplayer? What's your favorite game mode so far - campaign, horde mode, beast mode or multiplayer?
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