- Manufacturer:The Coalition
- Publisher:Microsoft Studios
- Genre: Shooter
- Release Date: 11/10/2016
- Platforms:Xbox One, PC
- Game Supplied by:Xbox
Gears of War 4 brings a new saga to its fans with the Campaign story being set years after the end of the locust war and sees a new enemy appear called the Swarm.
The campaign story is well constructed by merging the new Gears characters such as the son of CoG legend Marcus Fenix, JD Fenix with Kait and Del being some of the new faces on the block, but you will also see some of the characters of old throughout the story providing a tease at best of what is to come. The campaign is structured similar to previous games with it been set over 5 acts with each split into chapters will be welcome to Gears fans who can associate with this plus the usual hidden collectables lying around to be discovered and gives Microsoft a building block to work with for future titles.
Even though throughout the campaign some of the scenery and environments are breathtaking from snow-covered battlefields, old stone villages surrounded by lush scenery to spooky underground mining facilities, however it does have some minor flaws which feel like the game has developed far too quickly where certain areas look bland which takes a bit of shine of the game for the calibre of the gears franchise. Gears games should be dark and gritty which is portrayed at various points throughout the game especially during the storm segments shows off some great weather effects which affects your movement. Overall it’s not a failure for the developers but more a testing of the water and hopefully vast improvements will be made for future games in the franchise.
Apart from these minor annoyances the overall campaign provides a good variation of combat and strategy as you will have to use the environment to your advantage on higher difficulty settings such as Insane which is a great challenge, it’s just unfortunate that it is only 2 player, unlike Gears of War 3 which had 4 player co-op.
Moving on multiplayer has made gears such a successfully game and Gears 4 has went all out with plenty of game modes and Customisation of you character & weapons.
Gears of War 4 brings the familiar weapons layout seen in previous Gears games apart from Judgment that is, which allows for quick selection between weapons, also there have been some new Weapons added to your arsenal such as Shock Grenades which may not be as effective as a frag for a kill but it does provide a tactical purpose of blanking an area with an electric discharge which will damage anyone in that area. Other weapons new to Gears of War 4 include Heavy Weapons such as the Buzzkill, Tri Shot, Dropshot, while alternative versions of sniper rifles and shotguns come in the form of the EMBAR and Overkill.
Gear fans will instantly familiarise themselves with game modes such as Warzone, Guardian, Execution & King of the Hill, but what is new for Gears of War 4 is the introduction of new game modes.
Dodgeball – which plays as a standard 5 vs 5 Execution game but with the difference of every kill you get brings back a teammate until the side which can kill all of the opposing team is victorious.
Arms Race – This may be similar to Escalation when it came out where people would play it but after a while go back to more popular modes, the premise of this mode is all teams start with the same weapons, and for every 3 kills your team gets it cycles to another, the victorious team is the one that can go through the entire cycle of available weapons.
The downside is social play lists only have a max of two players, even though Coop play offers up to 5 players but only against bots and it seems to cause confusion for gamers as these two modes should be combined into one mode to allow for games to be played one after another rather than having to exit out and search again.
Horde mode returns with a vengeance as you can team up with up to 4 players to fight your way through 50 waves of increasing difficulty enemies as the Swarm through everything it has got at you. Horde 3.0 gives 5 classes to choose from which will determine their loadout for example the soldier will begin with the standard Lancer and Gnasher shotgun while the Scout’s primary weapon is the Longshot. This allows your team to have a good mix of weapons to unleash on unexpecting enemies, in addition your Fabricators will supply you with fortifications to defend yourself such as barriers, turrets and ammo storage plus these defences can be upgraded to become more effective in defending your location.
Gears 4 gameplay is much faster and the usual game mechanics of wall bouncing is a welcome return to the die-hard fans but it’s the ability to vault over walls with ease provides quicker movement in campaign or multiplayer, this allows for you to get up close and perform some gory executions on unexpecting enemies especially with the new pull system which pulls enemies over walls which stuns them giving you time to perform a knife execution.
Online play was stable apart from small lag issues, but there were instances when teams were unbalanced in matchmaking creating uneven teams that can become a little frustrating when you are two players down you just felt you were outnumbered at every turn up, i have to say this was rare but it is a negative point of the game that needs to be addressed.
The most pleasing sound to anyone who has played gear is the sound of your Lancer as you rev it up as you go in for that slice & dice kill, and Microsoft have done a great job of recreating the familiar sounds of such weapons of the Torque bow, Boltok pistol and the hammerburst, but the most satisfying if you can pull it of is the Headshot with the longshot as you just see your opponent’s head pop is gruesome but at the same time satisfying. In game sound doesn’t just end there as the voice acting is well scripted with emotion aswell as humour will have you in stitches, but be warned there’s a lot of swearing and profanity throughout the game which of course can be turned off if you want, plus you will get moments which are amplified with theatrical music as it builds up to major events within the campaign.
No matter what you play in Gears of War 4 the introduction of Bounties which can be used in any multiplayer mode to help gain large amounts of XP or in-game credits to purchase or upgrade your classes is welcome as it doesn’t distract you too much from the main game.
For me Gears of War 4 is a step in the right direction, I have spent many hours over the previous Gears games but lost the appeal after Judgement but Gears of War 4 has got me back into it again.
Gears of War 4 in my mind has plenty to offer with new customisation and Weapons while the game Graphically looks and plays extremely well with plenty of game modes, aside from the odd flaw this a great game.
Yeah…Gears is Back.