By Sam Coles:
The Gears of War series has been around for over 10 years now and that is very hard to believe I remember when the original game came out in 2006 with that emotional trailer. Gears of War was a must have game for the Xbox 360 alongside Halo 3, so Microsoft were hoping to do the same with the Xbox One and this game is really good with the tightest gameplay of the entire series with a really good campaign with good characters.
Gears of War 4 takes place 20+ years after the events of Gears of War 3 where the old COG band of brothers are retired and the Locust are dead. You play as Marcus’s son James who has defected from the COG due to the ethical nature of the missions he had to carry out so he and his friend Del decided to stay with the outsiders in a small village. The outsiders don’t like the brutal dictatorship that the COG reinforces so they decide to live outside of society and steal supplies from them now and again. However a new threat looms on the horizon and they are taking people from the outsider villages and harvesting their bodies to create soldiers for a new army called the Swarm who basically a mutated Locust horde. The story is good and the characters have emotional depth rather than them shouting “Scratch on grub” every five minutes, it does get emotional in parts as well as bringing back horror aspects from the first game.
Gears of War 4 is a great controlling and probably the best controlling game in the entire series with faster movement and the main thing that I hated in the first three games is the camera bobbing when you sprint which has been greatly reduced. You may think that this is a minor change but no it is not as the camera bobbing in Gears of War 1-3 was horrible and almost sick inducing. They’ve added new tweaks to the series such as being able to yank enemies out of cover when they’re on the over side of the wall for you to then dig your dagger into their eye sockets. They have also included environmental destructive kills in some segments such as being able to shoot down pipes to using the gale force winds to your advantage during the storms.
Multiplayer is back and is easily the best in the series and that is purely because of the fact they are using full dedicated servers and not peer to peer, although Gears of War 3 did have dedicated servers that was only reserved for people who had the DLC content. They still have the same game modes from the original three games with a couple of new modes such as Dodgeball where you only have one life but when your team mates kills someone on the opposite team your brought back in it’s sort of tug of war mentality where matches can get really tense and the tables can turn at any point. This game still has the staple game modes like my personal favourites King of the Hill and Warzone which if you’re a Gears veteran you know what to expect.
Horde mode is back but honestly I only played it for about an hour because I got bored of wave based modes all the way back in 2010 I don’t understand the fascination with these types of modes but each to their own.
This game looks absolutely beautiful as it runs in the Unreal 4 engine this game shows what the engine can do with rain drops bouncing off the Gears armour to the plant life swaying in the high winds. The presentation is consistent I did not notice anything out of place or blurry when it came to the visuals. The only thing that was jarring is the frame rate because like Uncharted 4 the singleplayer runs at 30 fps where the multiplayer runs at 60 fps I would have rather had a constant 60 as the game doesn’t look downgraded in the multiplayer.
The sound design is fantastic it has taken what was already good and added an extra grunt and if you have a good speak system on your TV or a subwoofer turn the bass and volume up and enjoy the chaos. The Gnasher shotgun is the highlight because every time you pull the trigger it shakes the screen and the Lancer with repeating chatter sounds amazing even down to the watermelon exploding sound when you get a headshot.
Overall Gears of War 4 is a fantastic game and is a game you must own if you have an Xbox One. You can get the game below £20 second hand these days I picked up the special tin edition for £17 so you’re getting a lot for your money.