Massive first look at Gears of War 3

We never said Gears would be a trilogy,” stresses Cliff Bleszinski AKA Dude Huge, the loveable nerd-turned-super cool millionaire Lamborghini owner, and the bulging brains behind the 360’s best-selling original franchise.

“Gamers don’t like trilogies,” Bleszinski continues. "They will judge if a game deserves to get a sequel or not. As for us, we just hoped we could do enough to earn the right to continue the series.”

Time (and nine million copies shifted) has proved that360 owners want as much of brooding bandanna hulk Marcus Fenix and his curb-stomping COG (Coalition of Ordered Governments) troopers as the North Carolina-based team can throw at us.

Above: The Polyp headcrab aliens swarm the ship early on. Cure with shotgun

Set aboard a retrofitted naval carrier called Raven’s Nest, the tatty boat is a haven for the last dregs of humanity. It’s a sure sign of how bad things are, as Gears’ main-man, Marcus Fenix, walks around the battered lower decks in search of bestbuddy Dom Santiago. Finding his old pal (looking grizzled and bearded), erm... watering his radishes, the rolling co-op suddenly kicks in as player two takes control of Santiago.

Over the radio, news reaches our COGs that ex-Chairman Prescott, thought dead, is approaching Raven’s Nest in a helicopter. “He never called, he never sent flowers...” mocks Anya. This revelation sets the scene for the shooty-shooty action to kick off in full. The carrier is suddenly swamped with a new foe – the parasitic Polyp. These icky headcrab-a-likes are chucked up by the massive Lambent stalks, exploding out from under the ocean. The invaders scuttle around, making them tricky to target. The new sawn-off shottie soon makes short work of the critters, peppering them with its awesome killing power and ridiculously wide spread.

Even neater, you can now swap weapons and ammo with your co-op buddies (and even some NPCs), so you’ve always got the right tool for the gory job. Further polish has been added to the cover system too. The big new play is the flying kick takedown, out from cover, that turns defence into attack in a flash.