Tuesday 18 October 2016

Gears of War 4

Wanna start feeling old? Well it’s been half a decade since we stopped the Locust Horde in Gears of War 3 and the last time a real Gears of War title launched (Judgement doesn’t count). We’re are back now 25 years later on the Planet of Sera and a type of peace has been experience by the inhabitants, but obviously that won’t last much longer.

Developed by The Coalition and out now on Xbox One, Gears of War 4 is an excellent return for the franchise. The campaign takes place 25 years after the events of Gears of War 3 and stars Marcus Fenix’s son, J.D. After a raid on one of the cities, the team are accused of taking people away from new the C.O.G. Obviously not responsible for this. They all find very soon that a new threat is here and the remnants of the Locust remain. 

The campaign starts slow as you take on robotic enemies with limited ammo and weapons that don’t naturally feel like staples of the series. The early areas feel fairly dull but thankfully that doesn’t last long. The rest of the campaign takes the best moments of Gears of War 1-3 and creates. There are sequences that  some of the best set pieces the franchise has ever seen. One moment sees you go through claustrophobic areas with some horror elements to massive open arenas with bombastic gameplay. There are some moment that are reminiscent of the Uncharted series rather than Gears of War but it is executed very well. By the end of the campaign, you would have experienced some great call-backs to the series as well as moving things forward enough that the next game is going to feel entirely new.

You will be facing two types of enemies: The Deebee robots and the Swarm. Deebee’s are relentless and will simply just walk toward you with no reactions from being shot. The Swarm are much smarter as the try to flank and even pounce on you. The Swarm both feel familiar to the Locust as well bringing new elements to combat scenarios. Controls feel familiar but even more refined. Players can now not only mantle the cover and attack the enemy but also mantle the cover while running as well as pull the enemy from there cover over to you. Pressing the Y button will execute the enemy which looks gruesome and fits in perfectly.

The competitive multiplayer is better than it ever has been. There are the modes you expect from previous Gears of War games like Warzone and Team Deathmatch. The new modes are just as fun with Dodgeball being a back and forth tense mode that can swing things around in literally a kill or two. Arms Race sees your team killing the opposite team with most weapons in the game starting with the strongest and ending with one of the weakest. It’s casual but good bloody fun.

Then there is the king of modes in Gears of War 3: Horde 3.0. It takes the best elements of previous Horde modes and adds so much more to the formula that feels like you could spend hundreds of hours simply playing this mode, playing each of the five new classes, increasing their skills and defeating all 50 waves of Deebees and Swarm on Insane mode. Horde 3.0 is almost worth the price of admission on its own.

Gears of War 4 is the perfect return for fans as well as an excellent package for all fans of Third Person Shooters. It looks stunning and controls are refined to a degree that it is always satisfying. And let’s be honest:  A gun with a chainsaw on it is still pretty hard to beat.

A perfect active reload of the series. 5/5


Jason Redmond

Gears Of War 4 at CeX

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