Gears of War 3 Hands-On Preview
Gears of War 3 Box Art
System: Xbox 360
Dev: Epic Games
Pub: Microsoft
Release: September 20, 2011
Players: 1-10
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p
The Horde Is Back
by Angelo M. D’Argenio

We have been waiting for Gears of War 3 for some time now. However, two E3s have passed and we are still seeing only the very beginnings of the Gears 3 experience. At this year's E3, I was given a two-part Gears tour. First, I was shown an awesome demo that showcased the new discontinuous narrative campaign and co-operative squad based single player combat (half this you already saw on stage during the Microsoft E3 press conference.) Secondly, I was given an introduction into the game's new and improved Horde Mode. Put it all together and you have more awesome violence than any man can shake his gun-with-a-chainsaw-on-it at.

The demo started with the usual suspects (in this case Marcus and Dom) fighting against the Leviathan—which is better described as a giant angry alien octopus—and shooting this massive lumbering beast in the eye repeatedly. It was then that a Microsoft rep guided Marcus over to a Silverback Mech, and while the demo only had one available for piloting, we were told that the full version of the game will allow both you and your friend to get some battle suit action on.

Gears of War 3 Screenshot

The Silverback mechanics were actually pretty cool. Players could either pilot the Silverback, allowing them to shoot high-powered guns at their squiddy foe, or they could dismount it and use it at a turret, firing rockets right into its gaping maw. The interesting thing about the Silverback is that it wasn't only a massive battle suit, it was also a mobile source of cover. One of the most awesome uses of the Mech is planting it, and having both you and your allies crouch right behind it.

After the octopus took enough damage, its eye exploded, and shortly thereafter, Baird and Cole pushed a crate of exploding tickers off a collapsing bridge right into its mouth. This was where the conference demo ended, but it's where the back-room demo just began. The game then switched to Baird and Cole several minutes before the ticker crate was dropped. They, along with Sam and Carmine, had to traverse a Locust-packed bridge in order to get to the tickers in the first place. The bridge was very high up, and as a nice touch we actually got to see the entire Marcus and Dom mission play out underneath us. Even the dialogue cues were right on time, and we heard everything play out just as it did in the previous demo.

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As we pushed across the bridge, we got to use two new Gears weapons, which were both pretty ludicrous. The first was the Vulcan, which may have been the biggest chain gun I have ever seen. It's a two-man weapon, requiring one man to fire and another to load the ammo. However, if you get a rhythm down, you can basically fire without ever having to reload. The other weapon we got to see was the One-Shot, which people might be familiar with from the multiplayer beta. Basically, it's a sniper rifle that fires rounds so huge it disintegrates anything it touches.

As the demo came to a close, the crate was pushed over, and, of course, someone somewhere had to die. The bridge collapsed and Baird was hanging on to Sam's foot for dear life. Before falling he uttered these lines of monologue that had everyone laughing. "I guess now is the time for me to say I always loved you. But I don't. I really really don't."

Everything else we saw was centered around the new Horde 2.0 game mode. Like normal Horde Mode, you are fortifying a position surviving wave after wave of enemy onslaught. However, this time, there are a couple RTS mechanics added to keep you alive and kicking. When you start a Horde round, you have to choose a command post from four to five strategic locations. These act as your primary bases as you weather the onslaught. As an added plus, different command post locations have different advantages and disadvantages so each Horde 2.0 game plays out a little bit differently.

Gears of War 3 Screenshot

Your command post has a range of influence in which you can build fortifications, and if you do well your range of influence spreads. Fortifications can be anything from simple sandbag walls to turrets coated in razor wire to the Silverback itself. As you kill enemies, you gain cash and experience which can then be spent on upgrading your fortifications or weapons. Even more importantly, upgrades are shared. So if one player has leveled high enough to purchase a Silverback, for example, then all players in Horde Mode have access to the Silverback.

Horde 2.0 has a whole bunch of other features to look forward to as well. There are boss battles, unique waves, smart mobs, and much more. Heck, there are even "mutators" which allow you to alter the Horde Mode in a very Goldeneye-esque way. If you want to fight Locusts with big heads and squeaky voices, Gears has you covered.

Gears of War 3 Screenshot

Overall, Gears of War 3 did not disappoint at this year's E3. It's being called the most anticipated game of the year by many. My colleagues may be looking forward to the game because of its deep strategy and refined mechanics. But for me? Well, one of the mutators in Horde Mode 2.0 lets you add a laugh track to your game. Frankly, I can't think of anything better than playing Gears of War 3 in Full House mode. Oh Michelle, you are so cute when you load up that rail gun ammo.

By Angelo M. D’Argenio
CCC Contributing Writer


Game Features:

  • Witness an enthralling and cinematic story that captivate players in an intimately intense action game.
  • Take action in a five-on-five multiplayer experience, as well as a four player campaign co-op experience.
  • Featuring all new multiplayer game modes including 'Beast Mode' – offering a new twist that places you in the role of the locust horde and their assorted variations!
  • Experience new maps including: Trenches, which features an impressive sand storm that reduces your visibility, as well as Overpass, Mercy, Checkout, and Thrashball.
  • Fight with an all-new arsenal of weapons including: The Bayonet Charge, The Retro Lancer, The Sawed-off Shotgun, The OneShot – a heavy sniper rifle that shoots through shields or cover for a surprise one shot kill, The Incendiary Grenade, The Digger Launcher, and a few subtle tweaks to old favorites, the Hammerburst and The Classic Lancer. Don't forget that each weapon now has its own execution move!


  • Videos / Game Trailers
    Gears of War 3 What Have I Become? Trailer - click to enlarge
    What Have I Become? Trailer
    Gears of War 3 OG Slick Documnetary - click to enlarge
    OG Slick Documentary
    Gears of War 3 E3 2010 Debut Gameplay Trailer - click to enlarge
    E3 Debut Gameplay Trailer
    Gears of War 3 Ashes to Ahses Trailer - click to enlarge
    Ashes to Ashes Trailer

    Screenshots / Images
    Gears of War 3 Screenshot - click to enlarge Gears of War 3 Screenshot - click to enlarge Gears of War 3 Screenshot - click to enlarge Gears of War 3 Screenshot - click to enlarge Gears of War 3 Screenshot - click to enlarge Gears of War 3 Screenshot - click to enlarge Gears of War 3 Screenshot - click to enlarge Gears of War 3 Screenshot - click to enlarge Gears of War 3 Screenshot - click to enlarge Gears of War 3 Screenshot - click to enlarge

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