With Microsoft buying out the original gears franchise from Epic Games and handing the mantle to in-house developer called Black Tusk Studios later renamed The Coalition. I felt uneasy with the dramatic change behind the scenes but then as Rod Fergusson, former Director of Production at Epic Games on the Gears of War franchise, joined Microsoft and plays a key studio leadership role at The Coalition. Now I have managed to get my hands on the game I can safely say that we have the right developer for the job!
For digital copies you are able to install the game on both Xbox one and PC all for the cost of the same game, this with the ability for PC and Xbox gamers to play together was a welcome move and hopefully more developers will follow suit . For Xbox the game will run at 30 frames per second in its single player modes and 60 in its multiplayer modes, both at 1080p. The game will employ a dynamic scaling system to maintain a consistent frame rate, under which the resolution will be automatically decreased and up scaled back to 1080p during more intensive scenes. Where as a PC gamer will be able to enjoy the game 4k and 144hz if they so desire, the game does come with plenty of graphical options for the PC enthusiast to fiddle with to their hearts content.
Gears of War 4 takes place 25 years after the events of Gears of War 3 with Marcus Fenix‘s son JD Fenix as the lead character! Since then the cog tried to rebuild and set martial law. You start as a member of the group called the “Outsiders” that live outside of the COG jurisdiction, conducting raids on COG territory to gather resources while fighting the robot army that guards all the goods. These robot units arent that much fun to fight as gears has always felt like a monster game this feels like I’m just shooting metal buckets with guns.
The Story is a slow one and takes time to get the ball rolling, mainly used to introduce all the characters and enemies of the coming new trilogy, this results in a lack luster story line with the worst offender being how dull JD is, i think this pulls back the original charactors and how utterly ridiculous they all were, from the über macho Marcus fenix with his sandpaper voice to the great cole train “WOOOOOO” by comparison this new batch of charactors don’t even hold a candle to them.
The story picks up when you meet up with marcus and discover the “swarm” a threat that feels familier, what comes with them is plenty of new enemies for you to encounter with several boss types, all designed perfectly with all very beautiful and disgusting at the same time, as you encounter them during the campaign they grow in strength at excellent pacing, allowing you to hone your skills with many different types of weapons that are so satisfying
Where the game really shines is the mechanics and gameplay, it uses the same tried and tested over the shoulder cover-based shooter, it brings with it the satisfying roadie run that we all love, the gun is snappy and gritty making it easy to pick up and master with time.
The game features 4 categories of weather: from heavy breeze (trees, leaves, dust kicking up) and grow into violent category 3 windstorms that can affect combat and weapon usage. Windstorms come with hazards such as reduced visibility and slowed movement but you also have access to destructive environment making combat very easy if you keep your eyes out for clues.
The Game comes with a Horde 3.0 which includes changes in many aspects, such as more customization, more maps and with the ability to build and fabricate fortifications. You now have the ability to choose a class that you can develop and earn many different bonuses each with their own level. With the right teammates all picking different classes you can become a horde smashing machine, It is well thought out, deep and very additive mode and my personal favourite of the game.
Gears of War 4’s multiplayer is tense and has a learning curve that shouldn’t take skilled players long to master, owing to much used from the previous title with many people seem to be still using the shotgun as weapon of choice, when you have someone charging at you to try to chainsaw you in half or aiming to place a shotgun shell at your melon is so gratifying to pull off a perfectly timed headshot and hear that disgusting splash. It has plenty of skilfully designed multiplayer maps for you to memorise to get the upper hand with.
4.5/5 – Although the first half of the story is slow the rest of the game and other modes are crafted to almost perfection, it is a must have game!