Gears 3 has flying-kicks from cover

Plus a score-based Arcade mode.

In Gears of War 3 you'll be able to perform flying-kick take-downs directly from cover, and there'll be a new Arcade mode with a HUD that tracks score, multipliers and your teammate's location.

There'll even be Unreal-inspired mutators available for co-op games that might swell heads to ridiculous levels or add another variable to the formula, according to GamesRadar's latest preview.

Gears of War 3 takes place 18 months after Gears of War 2, and begins on a huge naval carrier called Raven's Nest that has turned to a refuge for remaining dregs of humanity.

Hero Marcus Fenix moves through the decks looking for old friend Dom Santiago, who he finds watering his plants. Reunited, the pair soon run into Gears of War 3's new enemy, the Lambent, as gigantic stalks burst out of the water and spew Polyp onto Raven's Nest.

Polyp are fast, scuttling creatures that will be hard to hit. But they'll be the least of your worries; the Lambent Drudges are much tougher. These apparently look a bit like Locust Drones, only with glowing limbs. And they mutate.

One mutation has them grow in height and gob chunks of emulsion; another has their arms stretch and flail; another turns their legs into trunks to spawn Polyp; and yet another has their head detach and write on the floor breathing fire.

Thankfully, Gears of War 3 introduces co-op for four people during the campaign. Baird, Cole and Anya will be playable, as will newcomer Jayson Stratton. They'll need to work together to open doors, hold back fencing and even fire super weapons.

And they'll have a beefed up arsenal. That double-barrelled shotgun we mentioned earlier this month is the sawn-off Gnasher shotgun. This has an incredibly wide blast at close range but reloads slowly. A Gnasher execution involves neck snapping while reloading.

There's a new rifle called the Pendulum Airlancer that has a bayonet. This is strong up close but packs an incredible kick, making it tricky to stay on target. A Pendulum Airlancer execution involves a bayonet-stab to the side and a throat slash.

There's a beefed-up sniper rifle called the One Shot that fires bullets as big as forearms that can rip through even a Boomer's shield. There's no mention of an execution move, presumably because finished enemies will be at range.

But even the Mortar will execute: Marcus staves enemies heads in while feet spasm.

The biggest new weapon is the Silverback exo-skeleton. Not only does this have a minigun and a rocketlauncher, but players can also Roadie Run and Curb Stomp while using it. The suit overheats if overused and has a weak, unprotected rear. In defensive mode, the Silverback turns into an immovable lump of metal team-mates can use for cover.

Gears of War 3 will of course have multiplayer, although the modes are being kept under wraps for now. Maps include Overpass, a place where several earthquakes will happen during play and sink the city; Cracking Up, a map that turns from sunny to stormy to hurricane to volcano; Thrash Bash, a thrashball stadium with active scoreboard; and Barney Rubble.

Gears of War 3 will be released for Xbox 360 on 8th April 2011.

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