Gears of War 3, from a franchise known so well for its great multiplayer, releases to the world this week and as much fun as the multiplayer is, it’s also every bit as ruthless as your opponents set out to tear you to shreds.
What you need, is a guide to help you survive in the online jungle and it’s for this very reason that I have called in one my fiercest competitive rivals of all time who is also arguably one of the best players in the country as a guest writer to give you all some top tips on how to get ahead.
We called in Nicholas Holden aka HoldenZA from XboxReel.com to put together 10 top multiplayer tips in basics to help you get ahead in Gears of War 3. Make sure to bookmark this page, you’re going to need it.
We also have videos of HoldenZA in action during the Gears of War 3 beta, be sure to give it a watch after the jump.
Video of HoldenZA showing a lot of his tips at work (NSFW lyrics)
1: Cover , cover and some more cover
Gears of War is known as one of the first games to perfect the cover system, it is without question one of the reasons why the franchise has been so successful. So where does it help in multiplayer? The question should rather be: Where does it not help? Cover is what separates you from your opponent’s incoming fire, whether it is the Lancer that is slowly chipping away at the piece of asphalt you hide behind or the grenade that hits the cover in front of you, which always leaves you with one thought, “If it wasn’t for that cover I’d be dead!”.
To become a successful Gears of War player, mastery of the cover system is essential. It is what separates the average player from the great players. When faced with a choice of cover there are two questions you should ask yourself. 1) Can the opposition do damage to me from here and 2) how can I gain the upper hand on my opponent from this position. If you can solve both of those questions in game then you will find yourself curb-stomping your opponent at every corner. On a side note, prepare yourself in Gears of War 3 because they have a weapon that is designed to root you out of cover, the Digger Launcher!
2: Health indicator
The health indicator is an essential tool in Gears; it is the Gears of War “Omen” symbol that glows red, the redness intensity of the symbol increases as your damage toll increases. If you find yourself looking at a wonderfully red Gears logo, you then will wonderfully find yourself down and most likely out.
The trick to the health indicator is to understand how much damage you still can take and how much damage you still can inflict. If you find your health indicator as a mere blush on your screen, then it might not be a bad idea going for a couple more shots on your opponent. If you find it is glowing red, then it means it is time for you to get away from the battle and find some cover .
Movement is vital in Gears of War .It allows you deceive, evade and manipulate the battle to your favor. There are two main components in your movement: 1) Your analog sticks; 2) You’re A-button. The analogs depict your basic movement (right analog for general directional change, whilst the left analog stick is used for movement direction) whilst the A-button is used to jump, run and movie in or out of cover. Now that we got that out the way the essential part of movement comes into play.
(Nick de Bruyne: A good tip to also remember is that if you hold any direction and then hold A, your character will instantly start running in that direction. This allows you to run off backwards or sideways in an instant if need be).
One key note is to always keep moving. When you’re in a 1v1, shotgun vs. shotgun, situation with your opponent the winner is not only going to be decided by who has the best aim but who has the best movement. Strafing from side to side whilst pelting bullets into your opponent will give you the upper hand against an opponent whom is standing rooted to one spot. Out maneuvering your enemy is essential , rather than be the sitting duck… be the annoying fly that you seem to flail at and never get hold of.
4: Know the weapons
There is a vast array of weapons in Gears of War 3, each with their own damage, range and accuracy. At the beginning of a game you will start out with a preselected loadout: Gnasher (shotgun) , Sawed-Off shotgun , Lancer , Hammerburt or Retro Lancer and then there is the standard snub pistol and smoke grenade. Choosing your load-out plays a crucial role in deciding how you are going to be playing the game . If you opt for a sawed-off shotgun for example, this means you’re going to be in the face of the opponent and taking them on from extremely close range (but having to be wary of it only having a single shot and very long reload times).
Knowing what kind of weapon you have and how it is best used is essential, but then there is the side of knowing what your opponent holds. If you see your opponent running towards you with the sawed-off, then you need to know that you need to keep your distance unless you want to add some color to the walls.
Then there are the power weapons (OneShot, Mortar, Mulcher etc.), they are situated in strategic points throughout the map and are used to sway the game into the favor of the holder. If used effectively they can be a devastating tool that can cause a lot of damage to the opponent. At the end it is all about knowing what a weapon can do and how it is best used, if you can figure out how to use your weapons to the best of their ability you will find yourself tearing through the opposition in no time.
A video from the ‘Gears is Coming” series from XboxReel.com showing off more crazy moments of skill and insanity in the Gears 3 beta
5: Communication and marking your enemy
As with any team activity, communication is essential. By letting your team mates know where the enemy is, you will immediately gain the upper hand on your opponents. Don’t feel like talking to random people online, no problem. Gears of War 3 has a new “marking” system. This allows you to mark the enemies’ positions for your whole team to see. All you have to do is aim in the general direction of your opponent, click in your left analog stick and there we go… you just have successfully marked an enemy. This doesn’t last for long but helps drastically as you and your team can now hone in on the unsuspecting enemy and claim the win for you and your team.
6: Sounds of War
Sound effects play a huge role in Gears of War. These sounds can be used as a warning or signal to attack. When you hear the charge of a Torque Bow then it’s time to get into cover and get the hell out of an open area. When you hear the COG character cry, “Ah, dammit!”, this means that they have botched their reload and are vulnerable, so go for that kill! Sounds of footsteps from behind mean either it’s time to jump back and surprise your stalker or to get the hell out of there! All these sound effects can save your Gears character of choice, and can change the tide from being the unsuspecting victim to being the relentless opponent.
When reloading, you basically play a mini-game within Gears of War, but this mini-game (called Active Reload) plays a vital role in determining what damage you can inflict. When reloading you are faced with the task of hitting a white bar at the top of your screen that, if done correctly, will give you a faster reload and more damage. If done successfully your ‘active’ ammunition will glow red, and then it’s time to inflict this damage bonus onto your unsuspecting enemy. However if you do not get it right you are going to be faced with two possible outcomes:
Firstly there is a grey area that surrounds the active reload (white bar ) if you hit this area in your reload you will have a reasonably fast reload (slower than active reload) with no damage addition. Second there is the black area of the reload bar, if you hit this it means you have botched your reload. Your reload will then take much longer to reload and you will not be able to shoot or change weapons as the enemy hurtles towards you. This is usually signified by the character yelling, which will alert your enemies and let them know that you are vulnerable. You can use this to your advantage when you hear the cry of a botched reload coming from the opponent. Reloading is essential to being an effective killing machine on the battlefield. If you manage to hit the active reload without troubles then you will have a huge advantage over the enemy who is hitting in their ammunition and rendered useless.
8: Map awareness
Knowing your maps plays a huge role in Gears of War, knowing where the power weapons are situated determines how the map will play out. If you know where the enemy is going to be then you can make a decision on how to capitalize on the opponent’s position. It’s all about making the right decisions and using the map to your advantage, you can do this by using choke (areas of high traffic / activity) points on the map to your advantage.
9: Right side = strong side
When playing gears you will soon notice, if you haven’t already, that the entire locust and the COGs in Sera are right handed. This is shown especially when you take aim in a free standing position, when aiming you are given a right-hand over the shoulder view of the weapon you are holding. So how does this affect the way the game plays out? Well firstly, when in a battle you want to show the least amount of your body as possible to the enemy for the reason that the less they see the less they can shoot at. So when standing behind your cover of choice, you will want to be on the utmost right hand side of that cover while taking aim. This means that you are not fully exposed to the enemy and that you can get clear shots at the opposition. This is especially important in 1v1 situations. If you manage to take the right hand side covers against an enemy. You will have a huge advantage in the fact that your enemy will have to leave themselves exposed to the full potential of what damage you can do.
However as with most things in Gears of War, there is a counter to right hand cover. There is a way to put yourself into left hand aim in Gears of war 3 . This is achieved by going into the left hand side of cover, then aiming to make your character aim down the left, and then if you hold down your aim button and pull back on the left analog stick your character will be in theft hand aim for the duration of time that you hold in your aim trigger (LT). Think of all the benefits of being on the right hand side, they now become true for the left hand side. This move isn’t used a lot so the enemy will be very surprised when being faced with a lefty on the battlefield , and what is the greatest element of attack …surprise!
10: Strategy / Squad HUD
Last but not least, in Gears of War you are able to hold down you left bumper to bring up a strategic HUD view. This view has many uses, most of which many gamers choose to ignore far too often. The view outlines objects in front of you to help you see edges better, as well points out where your teammates are as well as the position of weapons on the map.
Smart use of this HUD can even involve using it to help you see that little bit better when a smoke grenade goes off in your vicinity. It’s a basic function in Gears of War, but one that many gamers overlook, despite its advantages.
Remember that any help you can get is well worth it when you have a team of bloodthirsty opponents out to destroy you.
We hope you enjoy the guide. We may look at doing more in-depth advanced guides in the future (such as advanced tips and tricks for using weapons like Torque Bows and Sniper Rifles).
We’d like to give a big thanks to both Nicholas Holden and XboxReel.com for their contribution to this great Gears of War 3 guide. If you’re wondering who Nicholas Holden and XboxReel.com are, I ran some quick questions by them for you to find out:
Q: Describe Xbox Reel to us in a few words:
A: A leader in promoting Xbox competitive and social gaming.
Q: What is your main objective in terms of content?
A: Our main objective is to connect the community of South African competitive and social gamers and give them recognition via our YouTube channel and articles on our the site itself.
Q: What can people expect to get out of the site when they visit?
A: They can expect to see a display of content that shows the best of South African Xbox gaming. We have loads of tournaments for all different types of games and great prizes for all that participate. There is also our review section where we review games mostly, but we are bridging into the review of hardware that relates to the Xbox gaming scene.
Q: What list of achievements does Nicholas Holden have under his belt relating to Gears of War?
- AGASA 2007 – Gears of War 1 – 4th
- Gamerlobby Gears of War 1 Wingman Tournament – 1st
- AGASA 2009 – Gears of War 2 – 1st
- Gears of War 2 Wingman tournament 2010- 1st
- Gears of War 2 – Festival of Gears 2011 – 2nd
- Gears of War 2 – Xboxreel Tournament 2011- 2nd
(Nick de Bruyne: Fun Fact – My team beat out Holden’s team for 3rd place in the Agasa 2007 tournament, and Holden and partner beat out my partner and myself to take 1st place for the Gamerlobby Wingman tournament, putting us in 2nd)
Got any more questions relating to Gears of War multiplayer? Don’t be shy to ask in the comments below and we will be happy to answer whatever questions you may have.
[Update] Check out the other 2 articles featuring tips for Gears of War 3