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Gears of War 3 beta: How to gain access

Live tryout starts today for Bulletstorm Epic owners

The Xbox Live Gears of War 3 beta officially kicks off today for owners of the Bulletstorm Epic Edition. Here's how the rest of you can gain access...

In order to join the public beta next week you'll need to pre-order the Standard (£49.99), Limited (£59.99) or Epic (£99.99) editions of Gears 3 from GAME or Gamestation, and you'll then be granted three weeks of beta action.

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Another option is to try and grab code giveaways from Mark Rein and Cliff Bleszinski on Twitter, who are both running various competitions.

As we previously revealed, the beta will include three new game modes and four maps, all running on dedicated servers.

We've already been playing this weekend and you can read our impressions in our Gears of War 3 beta preview.

Here are the key dates, from Microsoft:

Bulletstorm Preview, 18 - 24 April
Owners of "Bulletstorm: Epic Edition" are eligible for a one-week beta preview period featuring the new Team Deathmatch mode on four new maps (Thrashball, Checkout, Trenches and Old Town).

Gears of War 3 Beta, 25 April - 15 May
The full public beta period begins 25 April. Players can look forward to special events and playlists throughout the beta period. Two additional competitive game modes, Capture the Leader and King of the Hill, will be added during the final week of the beta.

15 May
Beta concludes.

And here are the goods beta users will be able to unlock for the full game:

Beta Tester Medal - Complete one match in the beta to unlock the Beta Tester medal, which will carry over to your gamer profile in the final game. The Beta Tester title will be featured in the Gears 3 multiplayer lobby as well.

Thrashball Cole - Complete 50 matches in any game type to unlock the Thrashball Cole character variant in the beta. Once unlocked, complete 10 matches as Thrashball Cole during the beta and the character will carry over to your gamer profile in the final game.

Gold-Plated Retro Lancer - Show your ultimate Gears of War fandom by unlocking the Gold-Plated Retro Lancer. Complete 90 matches in any game type to unlock it for the beta, and score 100 kills with it once unlocked to carry the exclusive weapon skin over to your gamer profile in the final game.

Flaming Hammerburst - Complete one match by Sunday, 24 April and unlock this weapon variant.

Flaming Lancer - Complete one match during the week of 25 April and unlock this weapon variant.

Flaming Sawed-Off Shotgun - Complete one match during the week of 2 May to unlock this weapon variant.

Flaming Gnasher Shotgun - Complete one match during the week of 9 May to unlock this weapon variant.

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