Only yesterday, we previewed all of the new maps and weapons revealed in the Gears 3 beta thus far. However, Epic have been kind enough to drop a few more on us early, with Trenches and Oldtown integrated into matchmaking, along with a slew of new - and old - weapons slapped in, too. Don't mind me, run off and go check 'em out! But if you're a little more curious, hit the jump for a brief overview of the pair.
My first impressions upon spawning on the beach beside the coastal hamlet of Oldtown? Wow, this looks amazing! Oldtown is easily the best looking of all the beta maps thus far, with Epic finally adding a dash - make that a big old dollop, in fact - of colour to the Gears universe. It really is beautiful, so much so, in fact, you might find yourself admiring the realistic wall textures or seaside view before you blown to bits by a shotgun blast.
Oldtown is a little bigger than Checkout, but roughly the same sort of size as Thrashball, if a little wider and more complex. Set at a slant, you'll either spawn on the beach or further up inland, and two narrow flanks offer the fastest route to both sides. Fan-favorite the Boomshot can be picked up on one side, and a Longshot can be found, too.
While Oldtown is beautiful, I've yet to have quite as much fun on it as Checkout or even Thrashball. But that's more likely due to having spent days on the latter, whereas I've only had a scant few hours with the former. It's well-designed, though, and the choked corridors make for some very tense and thrilling gunfights. Shotguns, I might add, rule the roost.
Like Oldtown, Trenches is beautiful, but in a far more bleak and dusty way. True to its name, Trenches is a Locust-built dugout with sandbag defenses and an industrial machine perched in the middle. It's large, but with clear line-of-sight and very little walls to speak of, navigating the map isn't a problem. It also introduces us to the Oneshot, a truly fearsome weapon Epic describes as their 'elephant gun'. Similar to the Mortar or Mulcher, you can't run and shoot with the Oneshot. But plunk it down, line up a shot and glory in the red mist. It's terrifyingly powerful. When you see the faint orange laser and hear the beep, my advice is to run!
Like Thrashball with its collapsible scoreboard, Trenches has a gimmick of sorts, as periodic sandstorms blanket the map in fog, reducing visibility. It's at this point that everyone unloads their shotguns, and the random nature of the sandstorms adds quite a bit of fun to matches. You'll be well aware of its arrival, as tribal horns blare in earnest.
Of the two maps, I enjoyed Trenches the most. In fact, it's probably the most fun I've had on the beta yet. It's strewn with power weapons, from the wonderful Oneshot to the Scorcher, and it has a great little incline where many a staged battle can occur.
We're loving the Gears of War 3 beta so far, but what do you think, dear readers? Like what you see so far, or do you have some qualms you'd like to express? As always, sign off in the comments below!