The Gears of War 3 beta was just unleashed, so of course the internet has generated approximately one-infinity words dissecting every element of this year’s most anticipated “chainsawing meaty ugly dudes in two and there are also guns” simulator. We’ve got videos and articles galore talking about everything that IS in the game, but what about the things that definitely aren’t in it? When to they get their moment in the sun? Right now.
Epic Games is doing its best to make Gears 3 different, but tinkering with it too much would be like entering a dragster in a tractor pull - it's simply not what they were built for and if you try it you risk the wrath of insulted fans. The idea of messing with a cash cow the size of Marcus Fenix (with significantly more terrifying udders) would drive even the most mild-mannered Microsoft accountant to a psychotic frenzy, which is why planet Sera will stay very gritty, very familiar, and very, very brown. If the devleopers really wanted to revolutionize the world of Sera, they don't need the Lambent or new weapons - all they need is add a bag of Skittles.
Above: See these colors? Nobody on Sera ever has.
It seems the Seranian mutation that swells the human neck five times normal size causes those extra neck-muscles to bulge into the skull and pinch off the optic nerves. They can only see a small portion of the visible spectrum:
The only time citizens see bright colors is when they vaporize something from space. The Locust are no better, though at least they have the excuse of actually living in an endless expanse of dark rock-colored hell. Both sides keep deploying superweapons like lightmass bombs and the Riftworm, but all either side would need is to deploy a team of Teletubbies with grenades. They’d be completely invisible to enemy forces.
Above: Can you guys hear something?
2. A reason to care about the Locust/Lambent split
Gears of War 3 makes a big deal about the Lambent, an even bigger, badder and tougher breed of mutated baddies you encounter later in the game. But ultra-tough jock-tank Marcus Fenix will not be the first action hero in history pansy enough to be scared by that.
EVERY action game in history has featured bigger badder enemies the further you go – that’s what they do. Did the Doom marine turn tail and befriend an imp after he saw his first cyberdemon? Did Gordon Freeman start petting Headcrabs instead of clubbing them when the Combine showed up?
A real man caught between two enemies.
No, they just KILLED ALL OF THEM AS WELL. Which is what you’ll do. And if you think Epic is going to wuss out and try to make us sympathetic to the Locust somehow because it’s a three-way war now, forget about it. This isn’t Halo 3... we hope.
3. Coffee Tables
A little-known oddity of the history of Sera is how furniture makers simply couldn't sell coffee tables.
No matter how wonderful the mahogany or how convenient the shelving, nobody wanted them. It seems that whenever Seranians needed a waist-height platform or barrier, no matter how ridiculous or outright stupid the situation, one just appears out of nowhere. Even out of the floor in enemy bases.
Maybe furniture designers should have been working in cracked, crumbling cement instead of wood. That might have worked.
4. Characters who would be out of place in a coming-of-age frat movie
From fist-bumps more powerful than the Holy Grail to tactical training consisting of "We'll run out there and kick their asses YEEAAAAH!", very few Gears would be out of place if cast as a star sports hero / self-aggrandizing douchebag. For example, Cole Train:
Above: "You can't stop the train, baby!" If someone you knew actually talked like this, you would hate him.
Then there are the supporting characters: Hoffman is the stiff administrator forced to admit the hero is cool, Carmine is the comic relief nerd/geek so inept he can’t function, and Anya Stroud and Samantha Byrne are the cheerleaders/babes/objects of desire. The only thing missing is the wacky foreign exchange student.
5. A superweapon that actually works
The Seranians are the only species in existence suffering from impotent super-weapons. Each time they fire off a world-ending apocalypse device, it’s less effective than an Antarctic camel trap. First comes the Hammer of Dawn, a massive orbital laser. It sounds good, the ability to scorch the planet’s very surface. But then we consider it’s being used against the Locust, whose single defining trait is "does not live above ground." So it’s basically like trying to throw a snowball through a steel door.
So what about when you can get down into the tunnels? Nope, that’s no better. You spent the first game struggling to fire the Lightmass bomb, which turned out to be less effective than taking your armor off and throwing it at the Locust queen. In the second game, you destroyed your entire home city, dropping the entirety of Jacinto into the ground like a vast Acme weight – which was almost exactly what the bad guys were trying to do anyhow. At this point, we wouldn’t be shocked if Gears 3 included a mega-weapon that was somehow jammed until the exact moment Marcus looked down the barrel, at which point it would fire and leave his eyes blinking, Daffy Duck-like, from a soot covered face.
Next: water, robots and medical professionals...