Gears of War 3: sweet Georgia brown

, | Game diaries

I remember this place. Dad and I came here on business once. I can see the little common house we stayed in. The yard I played in with my temporary friend — Angela, the inn-keep’s daughter. All of that is gone now, replaced with this endless war.

A sound. Gravel slipping, cascading. Could be nothing. A rifle report. Jenkins hits the ground. I wish it was nothing. It never is.

After the jump, the greatest show on Earth

We slide into cover and begin laying down some suppression fire. Then I see the one thing I fear the most — they’re rolling and summersaulting to our position, holding shotguns. Before I can get more than a few rounds fired from my Retro, my head is splattered. My entire team is gone in a matter of minutes. The rest of the match follows suit. When we aren’t getting, in the parlance of our times, WTFPWND, we’re respawning.

The matchmaking is pretty rough. This is one of two major issues with the Gears of War 3 Beta, and yes, I noted that it says Beta at the end of that statement. The teams are rarely fair, in my favor or not, and while it’s more enjoyable to run over a group of people for an easy win, it’s still not what I’m looking for. We all want a challenge, and it may not be perfect, but you’d think, out of the thousands and thousands of people playing, a couple of them would be near my skill level.

The balance, in fact, is so laughable that I feel the need to schedule a therapy session after every other match. If I’m not using a mirror and firing over my shoulder to headshot a dude 50 feet away in a snowstorm, then I’m weeping uncontrollably, clutching my Lancer and praying for a quick death. How does this happen? It can’t be that the skill levels are all that different. Are they?

I’m not anyone to tell Epic their business, but what’s the deal? This isn’t a new issue by far; Gears 2 has similar matchmaking woes. Of course, it also has the benefit of having years of players whereas the Beta does not. However, at least your enemies don’t spawn behind or inside of you like they do in the Gears 3 beta.

As I said, I know it’s a beta and I hope this will be adjusted by launch.

Looking back over my diary entries from the past week, a lot of them seem overly negative. There’s a reason for that. The games that capture my attention are the ones I treat the hardest, as I expect more from them. I have a lot of respect for Epic and their games. So when there’s a flaw, whether it’s programming error or perceived design, it stands out stark in contrast.

Sadly, the beta will be ending soon, and my inner Cog will go back into hibernation to wait for the fall. There are plenty of games I’m sure I’ll play between now and then, but somewhere in the back of my mind, I’ll be hunkered down in a time-ravaged super market, the smell of gun powder and decay wafting into my nostrils, clutching my rifle and waiting for the other shoe to drop. I hope to join you all there in a few months. I’ll be the one with the Gold Retro Lancer and the use-worn mute button.

Click here for the previous Gears of War 3 entry.