3. Gears of War 3

In the COG’s final stand against the lambent and locust hordes, the balance and excitement of the original Gears of War multiplayer returns. The spring multiplayer beta for this fall release (Epic had a lot of “polish time”) showed off how much refinement the series has seen, from issues as simple as connectivity to camping nests to pacing.

The beta rolled out game modes (King of the Hill, Deathmatch, etc.) and maps (Checkout, Thrashball, Trenches, and Old Town) over the course of six weeks, giving dedicated fans plenty of time to hone their skills with new weapons like the sawed-off shotgun, the one shot, the digger launcher, and the retro lancer. Unlike Gears of War 2, matchmaking for Gears of War 3’s multiplayer beta was effortless and quick.

In the midst of the firefight, players quickly found how to play aggressively to the intended vantage points and coordinate their efforts. By the end of the beta, the competition was almost as stiff as it is today, two months after release.