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Gears of War 3 - Horde 2.0: Dissected

Breaking down the latest trailer...

Forget the story campaign and the competitive multiplayer, what we're most excited about in Gears of War 3 is the new and improved Horde mode.

Gears of War 2's Horde was undoubtedly its most exciting and innovative feature. You only have to look at the amount of copycat modes that have cropped up since its release in 2008 to see just how popular it was amongst fans.

A new Gears game brings with it an all new Horde however, and judging from the latest trailer Epic is cranking it up to eleven. Since there's not really a story to follow in the short but sweet trailer we've picked through and put together a breakdown of the what you can expect from the latest version of the mode.

For the uninitiated the Horde Mode pits five players against waves of AI controlled enemies. While that might sound monotonous, the game constantly mixes up the different types of enemies in each wave, forcing you to work together with other players and adapt your strategy to survive each wave.

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The trailer opens with the words 'Horde 2.0' boldly splashed on the screen. It might seem a bit obnoxious but the new mode earns the '2.0' moniker since there have been a number of new additions that significantly change the gameplay experience, but more on that later.

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The trailer quickly reintroduces the different types of Locust enemies we'll be up against. Along with the usual foot soldiers we're shown the Wretches, which can quickly overwhelm a player that lets his or her guard down and those pesky tickers that like to get all up in your business and blow up in your face.

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A couple of seconds later and we're shown the game's leading man Marcus Fenix, wielding what looks like to be a retro Lancer. In Gears of War 3 humanity has reached rock bottom and to cope the COGs have been forced to rely on old weapons and use their DIY skills to fashion crude new ones. In this case the trusty Lancer has a bayonet stuck on the bottom to...well, you know what that's for.

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Before the ugly fella here had his head reduced to paste he had the not-so-beautiful face of a Grinder. Fans of the last Horde mode will remember the Grinder as a variant of the Boomer that walks around unleashing bullet hell using a Mulcher. But that's not the important thing, notice the crosshair view? A number of weapons from the previous games, such as the Hammerburst, have been tweaked to allow different firing modes.

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Now that we've got the easy stuff out the way let's take a look at the new additions; Horde 2.0's big new feature is the addition of 'Fortification'. Taking a cue from tower defence games players can now build a number of defensive tools against the enemy by spending money earned from kills. Money can also be spent on repairing, upgrading, purchasing ammo and can be given to other COGs. As more fortifications are built the player's skill level increases, which allows the fortifications to be upgraded for more effectiveness against the enemy.

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Defences come in five flavours: barriers, decoys, sentries, turrets and the Silverback. Once a command post has been built areas will be filled with transparent indicators showing what type of defence can be placed. The trailer shows a couple of different versions of the barriers, one that uses metal spikes and another that uses lasers. We're guessing each will have different level of effectiveness depending on the enemy.

Although they're not shown in the trailer players will also be able to plant decoys in the environment to draw enemy fire. That's sure to come in quite handy when you're on the verge of being overwhelmed.

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