The new Gears of War 3 multiplayer beta on Xbox 360, a sneak preview of the Gears game coming out on the Xbox 360 on September 20, combines the cover-based shooting of old Gears games with that fever for unlocking new medals, weapons and ranks that's been catching in competitive shooter after competitive shooter since Call of Duty IV. It's an attractive mix, if you can enjoy the Gears gore. This game's for the inner brute within each of us. (It's better if your inner brute has an eye for beauty — the beta is lovely to look at!)
Some of us here at Kotaku are in the beta already, so we've captured footage and are taking you on a video tour of the beta's three game modes, a few of its maps and all of its unlocks. Take a look.
More folks can join the beta on April 18 if they own the Epic Edition of Bulletstorm or on April 25 if they pre-ordered Gears 3. The beta will end on May15.
Unless I'm missing something, one key difference between what's been added to Gears' multiplayer and what's been in the Call of Duty games is that the unlocks in Gears 3 appear to all be cosmetic. (More Halo than CoD, I suppose.) They won't give veterans improved abilities.
Most of the unlocks earned in the beta won't carry over to the final game, but these will, according to the game's official forum:
Exclusive Beta Unlockables
Flaming Hammerburst — Complete one match by Sunday, April 24 to permanently unlock.
Flaming Lancer — Complete one match during the week of April 25 to permanently unlock.
Flaming Sawed-Off Shotgun — Complete one match during the week of May 2 to permanently unlock.
Flaming Gnasher Shotgun — Complete one match during the week of May 9 to permanently unlock.
Beta Tester Medal — Wear it proudly, Gear. Complete one match in the Beta to permanently unlock.
Thrashball Cole — Unlock Thrashball Cole to play as Augustus Cole as he was before Emergence Day — a legendary Thrashball athlete known for his ferocious, flamboyant style. Complete 50 matches in any game type to unlock for the Beta period. To permanently unlock, complete 10 matches as Thrashball Cole during the Beta period.
Gold-Plated Retro Lancer — Before the chainsaw bayonet was deployed at the beginning of the Locust-Human War, the original Lancer assault rifle had a large fixed blade. Complete 90 matches in any game type to unlock for the Beta period. To permanently unlock, score 100 kills with the Gold-Plated Retro Lancer during the Beta period.
Enjoy the beta, but be advised: there are some very skilled, very deadly players in this beta already. I played team deathmatch at a time when only 55 players in the whole world were accessing the beta (very exclusive of me, I know, I know) and I was getting obliterated. At least I was only being trounced by human players and not by the computer-controlled fill-in buddies. There's hope for me yet. I hope you do well, too. Chainsaw the other guy, okay?