If you haven’t seen our live play video yet stop reading and go over to our “Gears of War 3 Beta Footage” post and take a look.

Last night I hustled on down to the Toronto Microsoft office to hang out with Epic ‘s Rod Fergusson, Executive Producer for the Gears of War franchise, to get down and dirty with the Hoard for some 5 on 5 multi-player.

New features that players should be excited about:

  • New Executions – Why curb stop when you can make a meat puddle by blasting the entire head off a downed opponent with a weapon exclusive finishing move. That right each weapon have it’s own unique finisher; like the flame thrower jabbed in the gut of a downed enemy with flames bursting out your enemies mouth.
  • Over the wall kicks – Tired of your enemy hiding on the other side of the wall where neither of you can get a kill shot, well now you can jump the wall and execute a kick to the head that stuns the enemy giving you time to finish them
  • Changes to button control – quick actions to do basic things like heal a downed ally, or execute the standard curb stop, or an extended hold on the button to lay down the pain with your finishing move, or pick up that new weapon your enemy just dropped. These new button layouts were a lot more intuitive then you would think, and they got rid of some of the mistaken weapon changes from the first two Gears
  • New Weapons – Digger Grenades (alive underground attacks), sawed off shotguns – for close range massacres, and new skins for your weapons… you will likely a lot more of these after the beta too
  • Self Revival – If your down but not out and you have time you can self revive your character by continually pressing the ‘A’ button
  • Four beta maps – last night we saw a couple new maps (I only played these two) – the trenches, a sandy location with dust storms that leave you completely blinded to enemy locations, and the Thrashball arena, where the Cole Train was a hero before the war. Providing lots of cover and some surprises that even the most experienced player will enjoy.
  • New Characters – Anya, for those that read the books or paid attention during the last two titles, the voice of command is unlockable and some for the horde will be unlockable as well (can’t spill to many secrets here)
  • Character Levelling – this includes experience from all game play and not just MP Matches, or within specific types of MP matches… all game play counts towards your levels
  • HUD improvements – Find your teammates and weapon spawn locations with the click of your left bumper and mark enemy characters for your team mates.

All in all Fantastic experience – I can wait to get my hands back on the controls for some more game time with the Beta dropping later this month.

Big Thanks to @GearsViking, @Jadelive, @JRivait and the rest of the Microsoft team for hosting a great night