SDCC 2010: Hands-On with Gears of War 3's Beast Mode

Gears of War 3 Gets Limited Edition Console and Controllers

Gears of War 3 is one of the most highly anticipated titles coming to the Xbox 360 and its first publicly playable appearance is at none other than this year's San Diego Comic-Con. Game Rant was first in line this year to get our hands on the title, so without further ado let's look into Gears of War 3's Beast Mode.

The objective of this new mode is similar to Gears of War 2's popular Horde Mode, but in a role reversal you are the Horde trying to kill the humans. Members of the Horde don't fully recover after being shot which makes for some serious strategy when the game starts. This means you will need a healer (Kantas) and several other mobile forces that will help you breach the enemy stronghold. It's a simple enough concept and the best part of the mode is that it's extremely fun.

There is a little menu that pops once the mode begins and it allows you to choose the Locust that you will take the form of in the upcoming match. Most of the classes are locked and can only be unlocked after a certain number of waves have been completed. Once you die with your character it returns you to the character select screen so that you can try to tackle those filthy-dirty humans with another Locust Horde member.

The first time around I had to choose one of the lower level Horde creatures, and I selected the Ticker. This thing is a ridiculously fast bomb, so you know you are going on a suicide mission when you select it, but the Ticker was probably the most fun I had being part of the Horde. There's nothing more satisfying then running full speed, while making a delightful clicking sound, and going kamikaze on several stranded COGs -- the result is a glorious explosion filled with pink mist and limbs.

Next up was the Butcher and as you could expect he is really slow, but one swing with his sword is enough to instantly reduce the enemy to pieces. Even multiple enemies can get caught in the swing and be reduced to tiny little giblets. There is something satisfying about slowly coming up behind your opponents and reducing them to human mince meat.

The Boomer, Butcher, and Grinder all play basically the same, with the differences between the classes obviously being that the Boomer gets a Boom Shot, the Butcher scores a giant sword, and the Grinder tears through flesh with a giant machine gun turret. They all handle basically the same, but the different methods of attack is what really separates them from each other. One critical advantage to being the slow bruiser breeds is the fact that you can take a ton of damage.

Naturally, you can also play as the stereotypical Locust that you can select to play in other modes, but these guys are limited to the weapons they start off with. So, if you are a Grenadier then you have your shotgun and a couple of grenades, but that's about it. It certainly adds a bit of strategy to this mode and there's nothing more satisfying then a well placed shotgun blast to the face.

After a few more waves I unlocked the baddest of bad-ass Locusts -- the infamous Berserker. This thing is untouchable, it's essentially a blind tank that is unaffected by gunfire. The only downside to this Locust is the whole being blind thing. She (the Berserker) takes up about half of your screen and the half that you can see is blurred and shaded making it hard to locate enemies until they are almost right in front of you. The Berserker's attacks consist of two moves: charging as fast as it can and hopefully running into something; or smashing the ground/innocents with its grizzly arms. Any move that lands instantly reduces the humans to chunks of human meat and tissue. It's an awesome thing to watch unfold.

The only problem I found with the Berserker was that it had a tendency to get caught on walls and other places, but I guess that's what happens when you are blind. The controls are still a little clunky, but the game is still eight months out of launch so I'm really not that concerned with how the mode (and game for that matter) will turn out.

There were a few other Locust members that were playable, but there just wasn't time to try them all out. One of them appears to be a giant centipede that would crawl behind enemy lines and once it touched an enemy it could shock them and kill them. It looked pretty cool, but I wasn't able to score any hands-on with it.

Beast Mode is a ton of fun and I can't wait to get my hands on the final build when Epic Games unleashes Gears of War 3 next year on April 5th.

Do you think you'll enjoy the new Beast Mode? Which other type of modes would you like to see make an appearance in Gears of War 3? Torque Bow Tag perhaps?

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