New Gears of War 3 gameplay details have arrived, via the pages of a Russian magazine that appeared on the internet this morning. Prepare for a BIG read...
According to the mag, the third Gears has humanity in pieces, split into tribes and fighting for their survival. After flooding the last human city, Marcus and Dom have taken refuge on an aircraft carrier called Raven's Nest (which you can see here), on which the game kicks off.
Quickly COG overlord Prescott lands on the Raven's Nest and drops the revelation that Marcus's father is still alive - and he's discovered a way to save humanity.
Here's the best bit: Marcus and co will occasionally have to defend the Raven's Nest from attack to protect their tomato patch (no, that's not a dodgy translation) as food's a bit scarce in their version of Kevin Costner's Waterworld.
The Locust have been kicked out of their homes and driven out by the mutated Lambent - the main enemy in Gears 3. According to the Russian mag, The Lambet are able to battle two-to-three Gears at the same time and once they're close to death they'll charge and explode on the nearest Human.
As our colleagues at Edge exclusively revealed, they've also got giant tentacles for reaching over cover - and these remain active even after they die.
Now the story rubbish out of the way, here's the stuff you're really interested in: Guns. Gears 3 is set to include several inventive new killing tools, top of which is a grenade launcher that fires organic bombs under the ground. After pulling the trigger, your payload burrows through the earth, underneath your targets cover and explodes - a bit like a subterranean mortar.
We already know about the Pendulum Lancer - the predecessor to the chainsaw version - but one interesting addition we don't have much info on is the DB Shotgun, a double-barrelled boomstick that takes a "long time to reload" and can only hold two shells at a time, the trade-off being that you can fire them both at the same time for massive damage. Sure to be a multiplayer annoyance.
There are three types of grenade in the third game; frag, smoke and ignitable - and they can be combined. For example lobbing an ignitable grenade followed by a frag will create a fiery hell in a closed environment.
Gears of War 3's new Lost Planet-style mech (which you can see here) is apparently called the Silver-Back and carries a hefty machine gun (infinite ammo) and grenade launcher (limited ammo). According to Russia, the Silver-Back is well protected from the front but not so much from behind.
Excitingly (if you're a mentalist), almost every gun in Gears of War 3 will have its own unique execution move, from throat-slashing bayonet kills with the Pendulum Lancer, to a neck-breaking shotgun move, head-squishing mortar smack and a flame thrower manoeuvre that sets people on fire... from the INSIDE.
Even cooler, with the meatshield you can now shove a grenade inside a captive Locust's armour and kick him towards a crowd of baddies - Sparta style.
On the multiplayer front environments now constantly shift and crumble during battles, which you can somewhat see in action via these scans. In Gears of War 3 players can also swap ammo and weapons, which is bound to solve a lot of the mortar squabbling from games past.
... aaaand breath. Many thanks go to Russian man 'Razor605' of the Epic forums for translating these. We very much look forward to seeing Gears 3 with our own eyes - it sounds biggerer, betterer and even more badass.