Gears of War 4 Review

Gears of War 4 Review Darryl Linington
Storyline
Gameplay
Graphics
Lasting Appeal
9
Gears of Great!
User Rating: 8.9 (3 votes)

Developed by The Coalition and published by Microsoft, Gears of War 4 has finally arrived on the Xbox One and PC. While Gears of War 4 gets a new life on the Xbox One and PC, not much has changed – which is actually a good thing.

The Gears of War series is one that has evolved from strength to strength over the years. Since launch, back in 2006, the series has essentially kept the core gameplay mechanics from the first original Gears of War titles, which were originally developed by Epic Games from 2006 to 2013, and improved upon them.

Over the years, we have seen subtle changes, which included new weapons, redesigned character models, and improved gameplay mechanics. We saw characters evolve and mature, and even shed a tear when key characters met their demise. We saw enemies evolve in both size, strength, and brutality. And we even saw heroes, who we looked up to, stray from the path that they had chosen. Gears of War is a great series, and Gears of War 4 adds to the greatness.

When taking a closer look at the core gameplay mechanics featured in Gears of War 4, I noticed that they were still pretty much in line with what I had experienced in past titles. The characters still move like tanks; however, they are more nimble this time around. The cover system remains the same; however, the development team has kicked things up a notch with a few new gameplay mechanics. While in cover, you can now reach over said cover and grab an enemy on the other side… this will initially stun them at first, which will allow the player to perform a combat knife finisher… Just be warned, as the stunned enemy can essentially reverse the situation in their favour. Sticking with the cover system, players can now sprint up to cover and essentially vault over it in one swift movement. Additionally, you can also vault over cover and kick an enemy to the ground. Players can also perform a shoulder charge now to knock enemies off balance, which adds to the overall thrill of the single-player campaign as well as the multiplayer experience.

While the gameplay mechanics have received subtle additions, Gears of War 4 also gives the player a great set of weapons to utilise. Old favourites such as the Lancer, Retro-Lancer, Snub Pistol, and Shotgun have returned. I did notice the Lancer has now been equipped with a flashlight, which gives Gears of War 4 a survival-horror type look and feel. Additionally, this also allows the player to get a better look at some of the enemies they will be facing. New weapons featured within the game now include the Dropshot and the Buzzkill. The Dropshot fires an aerial mine that floats over the battlefield while the Buzzkill fires off buzzsaws at a rapid rate.

While playing the campaign players will also notice that it features some rather jaw-dropping set pieces as well as a range of different weather effects. At certain points of the campaign, players will come across a set of heavy storms, which also turn the tide of combat. During heavy storms, it’s almost impossible to throw frag grenades as the wind tends to throw them back into your face. To add to this, enemies become harder to hit, and movement becomes slower as you try to push forward in the storm. This is a great new addition to the series, one that I hope to see improved upon in upcoming titles.

Speaking of the campaign, it’s definitely worth a couple playthroughs. The storyline is one that is enjoyable, and plays out in typical Gears of War fashion. Essentially, players will be given a recap of what had happened in past titles, such as the acquisition of the Hammer of Dawn and the downfall of the Locusts, and where humanity is now. The storyline follows JD Fenix, who is accompanied by Kait Diaz and Delmont Walker. The trio, and all of those living outside capital cities, have been branded outsiders by the COG. The COG’s main focus is the preservation of human life and to rebuild the population on Sera; however, citizens begin to go missing and ultimately the COG takes aim at JD and the Outsiders as the culprits. The trio then set off to unravel the mystery surrounding the disappearances, which ultimately unveils a new enemy, the Swarm. In order to avoid major story spoilers, I will end the synopsis off there.

When it comes to storyline, Gears of War 4 has a great one. Things begin with lighter tone; however, the story becomes more serious once JD Fenix meets up with his father, Marcus Fenix. There is clearly a huge amount of tension between father and son, which becomes more apparent during intense fire fights and beautifully rendered cut scenes. Overall, Gears of War 4 has a campaign that should be played a couple times… it’s thoroughly enjoyable, and will ultimately please any fan of the series.

After finishing up with the campaign, players should venture into the fantastic multiplayer experience that is on offer here. There are a ton of modes to choose from, with the core modes including: Warzone, Team Deathmatch, Dodgeball, King of the Hill, Guardian, and Arms Race. The game has also received 10 multiplayer maps at launch, 9 of the maps are new; however, a series favourite has been added which comes in the form of Gridlock.

Conclusion:
Gears of War 4 on the Xbox One and PC is great. The storyline is strong and the multiplayer stronger. Characters have more depth now and it is great to see more tension between them. Graphically, Gears of War 4 is a beautiful title… not only are the character models well-designed, but the set-pieces are absolutely jaw dropping.

When it comes to multiplayer, Gears of War 4 offers up a great mix of content. The 10 maps are fun to play and the variety of modes on offer should keep players busy for some time until the DLC arrives. Overall, Gears of War 4 is a welcomed edition to the series and a must play for any Gears of War fan.

Gears of War 4 was Reviewed by Darryl Linington

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Editor of Tech IT Out. Former radio host of Cliffcentral.com. Former Editor of IT News Africa and ITF Gaming. All round techie, gamer and entrepreneur. For Editorial Enquiries Contact: Darryl@techitout.co.za or via +27788021400.