Gears of war 4 is the latest instalment from the Coalition after Epic games sold the rights to Microsoft after Gears of War Judgement. I am happy to say after warming their feet with Gears ultimate edition, Coalition certainly know how to make a Gears of war game. The feels in the game are mind blowing if you are a Gears fan.
Most would shy away from replacing a formula that works so well, In this case it’s the team. We are introduced to a new protagonist who is shown from the trailers to be Marcus Fenix’s and Anyas son, James Fenix. Joined by Kait, Del and elderly Marcus Fenix, the group start their new adventure against their new enemy.
Starting the game was slightly slow and it takes a little while to get back into it as it’s a new setting, new type of mission and a new enemy right off the gate, but once the game gets past the first chapter or two it really picks up and changes into something more familiar and from then on there is not a single dull moment.
The previous games have always been about a huge war, where many people were fighting against a huge unstoppable army. This Gears of War feels really different as it’s more about family fighting together and for the sole reason of saving you’re family, and as cheesy as that sounds, it’s brilliant! It feels a lot smaller in scale than the others have and it does it really well as you always know what your doing, and why you’re running to the next objective.
Throughout the story I had the biggest grin on my face multiple times, as the game has written you a story that feels like a transition from the old series and a welcome into the new one, a sort of nod to Gears 1-3 for all of the great moments that we have played, this was great and I’m not sure how intentional it was, but I felt like it was a huge fan service it was greatly appreciated.
It’s very hard to talk about the story too much without giving everything away, I was already annoyed as I feel the trailers showed too much in the trailer, if you have the same concern do not worry. The game has many things for you to discover and even the things you have been shown in the trailer, it’s delivered really well in game and is a pleasure to play through.
The new characters work well together as the previous team always have, at the same time as bringing a new dynamic to parts of the game, there seems to be more sarcastic comments to each other and very cheesy jokes than there have ever been. This will be helping the mood seem less dark and it’s definitely noticeable, I’ve heard a few complaints about this but it definitely worked for me. From the start I decided I wouldn’t warm to the main character James, but that was my mistake as by a few chapters in, James along with the rest of his team had changed my mind completely, as James and his Father Marcus have one of the most interesting relationships i’ve played in a game for a while, just slightly odd as you’re getting told off by Marcus Fenix who you used to play as, and he is now you’re Dad.
The only thing I really wanted from the characters was more of a explanation of how they came together, as it was clear who was new and who had been together for a while, but I had many questions to how they ended up in this situation, I feel like by the end of the story, few of my questions had been answered. At this point i’m really nit picking and I presume it will go more into this throughout the new series of games, and honestly I cannot wait.
Gameplay / What’s new.
The gameplay feels fast and smooth even more so than the previous titles, still feeling very familiar with bits added on that don’t completely change the way you play, but gives you multiple options, even more ways of killing stuff! You can now jump over and kick people behind cover, or pull them over the cover and finishingthem with a melee move, or just turn them into bits with your Chainsaw / Gnasher shotgun. All of these are satisfying as ever.
Aswell as the new team theres loads added into the game that keep the gameplay fresh but still keeping it familiar. As shown on trailers there are moments in the story where the weather turns on you, and rather than fighting enemies alone, you have to dodge oncoming obstacles, this can be used as your advantage but can also be what send you back to your last checkpoint. All of these moment look amazing and will no doubt be some of the coolest scenes you have seen in the series.
Throughout the game there are many environments that can be used to get you ahead if your loosing a firefight, from exploding barrels to weak structures that can crush and even blow away in wind storms, which is pretty affective and crushing bad guys. Some of the cover systems have been changed and are only there temporarily, as they are either moving round or destructible. This means you can’t always stay behind cover and have to keep moving in certain sections of the game.
There are also many new weapons that you will come across throughout the story as you meet new enemies, but the old weapons are thankfully always there and ammo drops are regular so if your not a fan of picking up weapons as you run out of ammo, do not worry.
There are moments in the game where your not moving to the next location to kill the next room of grubs, sometimesyou are waiting and will have to defend your location for a set amount of time. Similar to horde from the previous games but we now get a fabricator which is a machine that builds you defences and weapons, this can be moved and placed where you want in Horde, in the story you are given a certain spot to defend. This is a welcome addition to the games and I look forward to see how this is built on in the future instalments. New enemies are a welcome addition to the game, without giving too much away some of the enemies are completely different from anything we have faced before and you have to change the way you play drastically to beat them as they can sometimes shoot you over your cover or just jump onto your cover forcing you to run or die.
Gears of war online is back and it’s bloodier than ever. I’ll be honest I prefer to play Horde with friends if we are all playing online but there are a few game modes I have really enjoyed. One of them being Dodgeball. Rules are pretty simple, if you kill an enemy one of your dead team mates are brought back, so a 1 vs 5 can quickly turn into 2 vs 4 and the games are tense as ever. Not many games can make your hands sweat but Gears of War 4 along with the previous games, always has.
Horde has been improved on hugely as new enemies attacking, force you to use new strategies in addition to the fabricator that I mentioned earlier we now have classes. There will be 5 classes in total, Heavy, Solider, Sniper, Scout and Engineer. So each class will have a different role to play and the classes are not locked to certain characters. So you can be anybody you want and play ANY class. This is a nice addition as it’s good to have something to do as if you’re not good at killing as many grubs as you’re mates, there will be another job you can work on to level up your character which is a nice for people who are new to the series.
I have been trying to play the heavy class more than the others, which comes with a retro lancer and a boom shot, both pretty handy and can handle most enemies. The scouts job is to gather both power and information they collect double power during combat and get skills to stay alive, staring load-out is a Gnasher, Retro lancer and a snub pistol. The sniper comes with a sniper rifle obviously, and a semi automatic rifle new to the series, playing as the sniper is more difficult as your not going to be killing as many, but as you level up you will one of the most valuable to the team, as taking some of the more difficult enemies becomes easier. The soldier class excels at dealing damage and keeping their team safe. The starting load-out is a lancer, Gnasher shotgun and a snub pistol. The Engineer is there to build and repair fortifications, starting load-out is a Gnasher, Enforcer and the repair tool.
For the skins you can expect the usual, pay for boxes and you can unlock them at random, or you can play and earn coins but you can also scrap unwanted skins and characters and earn scraps and actually select the skins and character you want with the scraps currency. I like this as I can slowly save for the skins I want over the piles of rubbish skins that I will never use.
There were a few things that I didn’t get along with throughout my time with Gears 4. One being the character Del, who brought very little to the game and seemed very unused throughout the chapters, later in the game it seemed like he should of been more important as he shares a moment with another character but nothing was explained, so it made the whole thing seem pointless. Seems like parts may have been cut out and I’m sure everything will be explained in the future, but at this time it felt like we should of known what was going on.
There were moment in the game where Marcus talked about previous missions and moments, I really wanted Marcus to talk about Dom at some point, as they were pretty much brothers throughout the previous trilogy, but there was nothing, left me slightly disappointed as most of the game delivered everything and it felt like a huge fan service, yet something so important was left unmentioned.
Gears of war changes enough to be fun and fresh, but not enough to make you feel unwelcome, I recommend picking Gears of War 4 up to anybody that is looking for a casual cover shooter with a great story and plenty of online options, the visuals look incredible, the always welcomed couch coop and many more things to keep you busy.
Apart from a few unexplained parts and the shaky start to online, Gears 4 is a must buy.
The story for any Gears fan will be fantastic and I can promise you will love every second of it, it really is a pass of the torch from Epic Games to Coalition and there was not a dull moment once the games gets going.
If you have never played the series pick up the Gears of War 4 ultimate edition and you will be sent all of the previous titles on backwards compatibility.
Please let me know what you think of the new addition to the Gears franchise below