Gears of War 3 Features

This week, you get your third chance to experience one of the most thrilling and absorbing templates for a single-player campaign this generation. Yep - Capybara's wonderful Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes has been released on PC!

The smart money says we're nine months away from the reveal of brand-new Xbox hardware, that major advances in visual technology are being held back by the hardware limitations of six-year-old architecture. Gears of War 3 begs to differ. Developed in parallel with the hugely popular Unreal Engine 3 technology, the game looks absolutely remarkable: put it side-by-side with the last game, or even up against Epic's own Bulletstorm, and it's clear that the current gen is still capable of some genuine surprises.

FeatureMicrosoft's Chris Lewis

Xbox 360, the competition, XBLA and the next-gen.

While Sony strutted its stuff at Gamescom through the power of a press conference, Microsoft walked a more modest path with a Play Day event, with hands-on opportunities of a raft of Xbox 360 exclusive games including Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Gears of War 3 and Forza 4.

Tech Analysis: Gears of War 3 Multiplayer Beta

With the current generation of HD consoles nowhere near their sell-by date, the recent release of the Gears of War 3 multiplayer beta is noteworthy for several reasons. Not only is this the first opportunity we have had to get hands-on with the game - an event in itself - but it also serves to give us a preview of the kind of technological enhancements we will find as standard in future games using Epic's highly popular Unreal Engine 3 technology.

But let's kick off by saying that this is far from the definitive word on what must surely be the most important Xbox 360 exclusive of the year. Not only does the studio still have months of development time left, but the sample code only covers a significantly cut-down portion of the multiplayer offering. In the single-player campaign, we can expect to see the UE3 rendering tech being tested in significantly more strenuous circumstances, with larger levels, more enemies and of course mammoth bosses to factor into the equation.

That's not to say that this beta isn't content-rich though - with four maps, three gameplay modes and a large array of unlockables, the Gears 3 beta offers many hours of action before all its secrets are revealed, and across the course of this feature you'll find bespoke performance analysis videos for each of the game's quartet of stages, but to cut a long story short, frame-rate is just one a series of improvements that characterises the enhancements made to the core Unreal Engine 3 technology.

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FeatureGears of War 3: defining HD gaming

Rod Fergusson bares his soul.

Today the Gears of War 3 multiplayer beta kicks off for those who bought the Epic Edition of Bulletstorm. Epic reckons a million gamers will take part, enjoy the carnage and unlock special items for use in the full game.

Gears of War 3: Multiplayer Beta

It's impossible to play Gears of War 3's multiplayer beta without hearing an internal narration from Cliff Bleszinski. Roadie-running from our spawn, shotgun cocked, the first thing we see is a chicken. "That's no chicken, that's a mother****ing Gears chicken!"

You shoot; the bird explodes with a comical blast. Blood and feathers coat the screen. "Ka-boooom, right!?!"

Right. Gears 3 is a triple-quarter pounder: all the cover-dancing gib fireworks you know and love, smothered in an overhauled progression system with more weapons, characters, unlockables and screen-filling stattage. Gears of War 2 had its own progression system but this is in a different league. After every game ribbons and medals cascade onto the screen, thousands of points pour into the experience bank and progression towards other goals is soberly noted.

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Gears of War 3 Beta

Gears of War 3 Beta

Fenix nights.

How do you follow a game like Gears 2? What do you need to dream up in order to compete with a weighty thrill-ride that pitched its players headfirst into frantic Brumack warfare, before sending them wriggling through the shifting guts of a giant city-sinking worm?

Gears 3's answer is - in part, at least - supermarkets. Supermarkets and a sports stadium. Strange times.

Both locations have been plucked from the still rather mysterious central campaign and spun into multiplayer arenas, forming Checkout (wonderfully, I am not making that name up) and Thrashball respectively.

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FeatureEurogamer Expo 2010 Top 10

Including your game of the show.

Every year at the Eurogamer Expo we invite you to tell us what you thought of the games you played, and without fail every year (so far anyway) you exhibit amazing taste in huge numbers. This year's Expo line-up was our strongest and most diverse yet, so we were excited to see what would follow in the footsteps of last year's winner, God of War III, or 2008's Mirror's Edge...

Gears of War 3

Into the belly of the Beast.

First things first: this isn't a hands-on with or any kind of preview of the Gears of War 3 campaign. The gameplay footage from the Microsoft conference is as much as you, me or anyone else is getting. Might as well watch it one more time, eh?