OverRun is a ďcompetitiveĒ class based multiplayer mode, with COG Defenders and Locust attackers. The objective of OverRun is for the Locust Horde to kill the COG Objectives in the fastest amount of time. If the Locust fail to complete that objective they will lose the round and will have to hold off the opposing team to stay in the game. At first glance OverRun appears to be just simply Horde vs Beast Mode, but after talking to Quinn DelHoyo, we discovered that there was a lot more depth in the design of this new mode. OverRun at its core is designed to be an attack and defend game mode. Where the Locust Hordes have to destroy several objectives to win their round, while the COG Team must hold them off as long as possible. In the demo the Locust were actually designed to win, and no we arenít kidding about that. If we look more in depth at OverRun though, we can see influences from major free to play games such as League of Legends (LoL) and Defense of the Ancients (DotA). All the characters in OverRun have special abilities, which are balanced out by cool downs, that can be used to change the tide of a battle. Timing the use of the abilities can assist or hurt your team depending on where you are in correlation to objectives, enemies, and allies. Along with the addition of special abilities, Epic Games has changed up the map design as well.
Unlike the entire collection of maps from the all the previous Gears of War games, Judgments maps for OverRun are centrally focused on the objectives and not power weapons. Rooftops, the map from the demo, is designed to have two main lanes or pathways that lead to the final objective. Rooftops also has many crossways for flanking and ambushing within the two main lanes, which allows for the abilities to pinch and counter your opponents at any point in time. Our staff felt that the overall flow of the map, while focusing on the objectives, also allowed for teams the freedom to strategize and go on the offense when the opportunity allowed. Another advantage to the design of Rooftops is the action was a constant fire fight. Even after eliminating one wave of Locust, there was only a matter of seconds before they were pushing back through your defenses.
This point will bring us into the spawn systems, classes, and abilities for OverRun. Be prepared because this going to take a long time to get through, but it will be worth the experience. As we mentioned earlier, the Locust Hordes were designed to win OverRun by default. Quinn DelHoyo informed us that Locust have instant respawns for demo, which makes staying alive a mute point especially when your abilities have a cooldown. For the Locust in many situations, itís simply easier to use your ability such as a Grenadierís Frag Grenades and die, so you have fresh ability upon your respawn. This also causes a lot of problems for the COG Defenders, who are not graced with instant respawns. The COG Defenders are set to respawn four seconds after their deaths, which is a long time in OverRun, but the first time in the Gears of War Franchise the entire COG team has individual respawn timers. This means, that as of right now, there is no longer a respawn cycle of fifteen seconds for teams. If you die, you wonít spawn with your team on a four second cycle, but after you complete a four second individual cycle. This actually allows the COG to defend decently in waves, instead of being overwhelmed waiting for the respawn timer to finish.
As we said above, both team have special individual abilities that have cooldowns to prevent spamming the other team with turrets or grenades. Weíll first look over the Locust Classes, their special abilities, and how to use them to kill your objectives quickly.
Special Ability: Speed Dash
Role: The Tickers in OverRun are a fusion of the Wild Ticker & Ticker from Gears of War 3. Not only is it able to quickly dash into battle and detonate, but it is also able to take down COG Fortifications. If this ticker also happens to eat grenade from the Grenadiers special ability, itís blast radius is doubled upon its detonation. These new tickers are very good in the opening rounds to quickly destroy the opponents defenses and allow for your teammates to push quickly towards the objective.
Special Ability: Stunning Scream
Role: The Wretch brings the first support class within the Locust Horde. Taking the Wretch from Beast Mode in the Gears of War 3 with itís Stun Scream, then adding increased movement speed and the ability to not only leap over hazardous objects, but also to climb perches makes this a very versatile class. Wretches are the only unit within the Horde that is able to counter the COGís Scout unit on perches. Their Stun Scream allows for their teammates, such as Maulers and Grenadiers, to quickly dispatch the stunned opponents.
Special Ability: Frag Grenade
Role: The Grenadier class is one the strongest offense units for the Locust Horde. Equipped with Lancer Assault Rifle and Gnasher Shotgun allows for the Grenadier to be front lines or support character. Designed to be the only unit within OverRun equipped with Frag Grenades, makes it especially lethal. Grenadiers can combo their grenades with Tickers for bigger explosions, toss them in choke points to eliminate enemy sentry turrets, and also kill multiple units. The Grenadier also possess the ability to ride Bloodmounts, which greatly reduces the cool down for their abilities, which means more Frag Grenades in shorter spans of time.
Special Ability: Chain Healing
Role: The Kantus is another support class for the Locust Hordes. Their healing special ability have been changed for a large area effect to a chain effect. This allows for the Kantus to heal not only the unit in front of them, but allows the heal to jump to our Locust outside of the normal range of the Kantus. The Kantus are equipped with fourth version of the Hammerburst, which now must be fired in bursts of three shots otherwise it will kick to the sky. Like the Grenadier, the Kantus possesses the ability to ride Bloodmounts. Which allows them to move quickly across the map, while healing units as they push towards the objective.
Special Ability: Halved Cooldown Time for Riders (Passive)
Role: Bloodmounts are the last of the support class for the Locust Horde in OverRun. They still possess the strong melee ability seen in Gears of War 2 & 3′s Horde Mode, but now also allow for Grenadiers & Kantus to ride them into battle. Bloodmounts do not possess a special ability of their own, but their passive ability allows for Grenadiers & Kantus abilities to be used more frequent. If you are looking to take out the enemy objectives, be sure to have at least one Bloodmount with a rider out at all times.
Special Ability: Spit Poison
Role: The Serapede is the stronger version of the Ticker. Itís electric charged mandibles allow for it to crush through COG Defenses quickly, while also granting it the ability to stun any opponent foolish enough to get too close. Serapedes are only vulnerable at the rear ends of their bodies, making them the perfect unit to push through heavy COG Defenses. Along with this their special ability gives the opportunity to attack the COG at range with Poisonous Spit, but it also causes it to rear up and lose mobility.
Special Ability: Burrow & Move Underground
Role: Welcome to the heavy Locust units, the Corpser is not like the older version from Beast Mode in Gears 3, but more like the boss unit for Horde Mode Gears 3. With the ability to burrow underground and bypass COG Defenses, this unit will cause lots of trouble for your opponents. The Corpser is also equipped with armor on itís forelegs, that protect it for damage, though itís rear body is still vulnerable to attacks. Corpsers can obliterate defensive positions and units with ease, if you are looking to kill objectives quickly, a pair of these will definitely do the trick.
Special Ability: Spinning Spike Shield
Role: The last Locust unit for OverRun is the Mauler, which is a fusion of the Maulers from Beast Mode and Raamís Shadow. The Mauler has the ability to swing itís flail faster than ever before, making it finally that offensive unit that its deserved to be. Along with this, the Maulers have the special ability to spin their shield which has offensive and defensive capabilities. When the Mauler spins itís shield it deflects projectiles back at the COG Defenders, which especially useful in close quarters situations. This ability also allows for Maulers to kill COG Defenders instantly if they are struck by the shield while itís spinning. The Mauler truly lives up to itís name in OverRun!
Now that weíve outlined all the uses and special abilities for the Locust Hordes, we are going to cover the four COG Defense Classes and then go into the gameplay changes that you can expect too see when Judgment arrives in early 2013!
Special Ability: Sentry Turret
Role: Engineers are by far the most useful units in OverRun, being armed with a Gnasher Shotgun and Blowtorch might not seem like an effective class, but when the battle starts raging they earn their stripes. Engineers are able to repair the defenses already placed amongst the map using their blowtorch, once they are destroyed though they canít be rebuilt. For those who are wondering, yes your blowtorch can kill Locust, we were directly told this by Cliff Bleszinski at private party. Along with being able to repair defenses, the Engineerís special ability allows for them to place Sentry Turrets out across the map to assist with defending the objective. Though it seems like a good idea to be heavily defensive with Engineers, we recommend that you should take a more offensive route. Their ability to place turrets anywhere throughout the maps allows for them to deter the Locust Hordes from pushing straight into the defenses. This and being equipped with fan favorite Gnasher Shotgun allows them to flank distracted opponents and keep the defenses alive for as along as possible.
Special Ability: Deploying Ammo Crates
Role: The Soldier class or ďCole TrainĒ is the most offensive class right now for OverRun, by this we mean really overpowered. Soldiers are equipped with a Lancer Assault Rifles and Boomshot, though we donít know why you would use a Lancer when you spawn with a Boomshot. Along with possessing a Boomshot from the beginning of the round, the soldierís special ability also allows for unlimited ammo for the entire team. Ammo Crates allow for Engineers to repair indefinitely, Soldiers to have countless Boomshot rounds, and Scouts and Medics to have a wealth of ammo. This allows for Soldiers to fight back countless waves of Locust, while other classes flank and maneuver to slow down the Locust advancement. If you are worried about this class, donít be, Quinn DelHoyo confirmed that Boomshot is only a filler weapon until they implement something else for the Soldier class. Yes that means that there is a secret new weapon coming to Gears of War: Judgment!
Special Ability: Stim-Gas Grenade
Role: The Medic class is literally the live saver for the COG Defenders. The Medic is equipped with a Lancer Assault & Snub Pistol which allows for her to support both the Soldier and Engineer classes. Her special ability is like that of Locust Kantus from Beast Mode in Gears of War 3, Medics have the ability to throw Stim-Gas Grenades that heal the COG Defenders. Stim-Gas Grenades has an effect area which heals units instantly, prevents them from dying from small damage, and also revives down but not out (DBNO) players. This ability combo-ed with the Soldierís Ammo Crates and Engineers Sentry turrets creates a very strong defenses against the Locust Horde.
Special Ability: Beacon Grenade
Role: We are down the final class for OverRun, the Scout, which designed to be the ultimate support class. Scouts are equipped with new Longshot Sniper Rifle, which carries four rounds in the chamber, and the Snub Pistol. Their special ability is a Beacon Grenade that detects any Locust that enter itís perimeter field, and it also causes detected Locust to take more damage from COG Defenders. Scouts are also able to climb up on perches and use the positional high ground to their advantage. Though they need to be careful of enemy Wretches that can clearly dispose of them in a matter of seconds.
While the Locust Hordes have more units and abilities, the COG Defenders still have a good chance of holding off the objectives if they work as a team. The Gearscon Staff proved this in our demo session, where we were placed against Quinn DelHoyo, who was coaching our opponents. Our staff made a great use of the lower grade Locust classes and quickly pushed the COG into their spawn, it was only a matter of time until we overwhelmed their Generator and won the match. Gearscon closed out our Locust run of OverRun in 2 Miniutes & 32 seconds, with Quinn making sure to call out ďstacked teamĒ along the way. As we switched sides, our staff pulled off what seemed like impossible from our conversations earlier with the Epic Developers. We clearly could see that Locust were favored to win, but with solid teamwork and going on the offensive, we kept our generator at 93% of life until the fourth minute of the round. Though our opponents made valiant pushes with the Locust, we ended up shutting their team down and protecting our generator for the full six minutes of the demo. From the shock in voices of the Epic Developers we could tell that hadnít happened too often throughout E3, and it was something nice for our staff to put under our belts as we left the testing area.
Now that weíve covered all of the classes and abilities in OverRun, we are going to discuss something that everyone wants to know about the new multiplayer, how the gameplay has changed. Before we go into these changes, please be aware that OverRun and Judgment are not complete or finalized and that everything is subject to change at any point in time. Weíve mentioned several small changes, like changes in respawn times, weapons, etc, but we are going to post everything that we know that was in Gears of War 3 that isnít as of right now in Gears of War Judgment. So here is the list of changes to the gameplay for Judgment!
First Person Control Scheme: Epic and People Can Fly removed the clunky D-Pad for weapons swaps for several good reasons. In the campaign with the large amount of Locust on the screen, you need to change you weapons quickly and decisively. The D-Pad didnít always register a user pulling our their pistol, and pulled out a smoke grenade instead. The new controller scheme allows for quick weapon swaps and trust us it works fantastically. It allows for faster gameplay and for your weapons to be changed out almost instantly.
Left Bumper (LB) For Grenades: This change is also to streamline the gameplay, gamers will no longer be forced to use an animation to stand up and pitch grenades. They can be thrown out quickly from cover, and if you hold down the LB you can aim the arc without exposing yourself to the enemy.
Stopping Power is Removed: We can confirm that stopping power was not in OverRun. The Lancer Assault did not slow down your opponents when they were rushing towards you. That is all we can say about this for right now.
Hammerburst Must Be Burst-Fired: We mentioned this in the portion about the Kantus. The Hammerburst can no longer be used like the Gears of War 2 or 3 Versions, where you could use rapid-fire controllers or fan the trigger normally. If you single fire the weapon, your shot will be accurate and without a kick, but if you shoot it quickly, aka fanning the trigger, it will recoil ridiculously high on the fourth shot. This weapon will require a lot more skill in Judgment.
Soldier Class Will Not Have Boomshot By Default In OverRun: As we mentioned above, Boomshot is overpowered and will be swapped out for an unannounced weapon before the release.
Longshot Now Hold 4 Rounds Per Clip: Epic has increased the round count to make the Longshot a more effective weapon for OverRun.
Control Sensitivity: Judgment as of right now has the same sensitivity settings as Gears of War 3, though this could be subject to change in the future. Our staff wasnít aware we could change the settings, so we all played under default.
Frag Tags: Though we attempted to tag grenades during our session of OverRun, with the new control scheme we arenít sure if they are going to be a part of OverRun. This is subject to more confirmation and change in the future.