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Gears of War 3 Horde Mode Hands-on at PAX

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NVVitOn the PAX Prime show floor, I managed to get my hands on Epic’s Gears of War 3, playing a demo of the game’s new and improved horde mode. Gears of War is one of console gaming’s largest franchises, and Gears 3 really doesn’t have too many surprises in store – players know what they are getting into.

Nevertheless, that doesn’t make the game any less fun or satisfying.

Horde mode was one of Gears 2’s most well received features, spawning similar modes in other games such as Halo: ODST. It is no surprise that horde took off, considering its frantic, easy to pick up gameplay. In Gears 3, the basic premise hasn’t  changed. You and your partner, now including some AI allies, have to face wave after wave of Locust foes which increase in difficulty with each push.

The coolest and most noticeable change in the horde mode is the inclusion of a currency system. As you rack up varying kills and bonuses, you will earn currency. This can be used to fortify, repair, and upgrade your defenses between rounds, as well as allow players to purchase new weapons and defensive items, from turrets to barricades. The ability to place such items on the battlefield makes horde mode more strategic, almost making it a third person shooter/turret defense hybrid. 

tjtotVery little seems to have changed with the rest of the game. As usual, it looks great, even though the graphical jump is not a significant one – it’s mostly akin to the minor graphical improvements between Gears 2 and Gears 1. The graphics do boast enhanced particle and special effects, looking vivid and colorful. The gameplay remains as tight and polished as ever, solidifying Gears of War’s rightful position as one of the best and most intuitive third person shooters on the market.

There isn’t too much here that will surprise veteran players, but for a game like Gears of War 3, it doesn’t really matter. With new weapons, enemies, and maps incoming, the game continues to add minor improvements and new content to satisfy fans. At this point, you will  probably have made up your mind on whether or not you will purchase Gears 3, and what was shown at PAX probably won’t change anybody’s minds. For fans of the franchise however, Gears 3 promises to bring more of its gory fun.

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