A Truly Worthy Successor to the Epic Franchise – Gears of War 4 Review

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A Truly Worthy Successor to the Epic Franchise- Gears of War 4 Review

The fifth installment to the epic franchise moves 4ward with new faces and old Gear – Gears of War 4 Review

Gears of War 4 releases tomorrow, but if you preordered the Ultimate Edition you got it on Friday and had the chance to play it early. Which I did, and am very thankful for. One of the biggest banes of adulthood is having the money to buy games, but no time to play. So getting a game on a Tuesday is asinine since I’d have to wait 3 days to have time to play it. Luckily Microsoft and The Coalition did the early release. So I was able to spend a good amount of my weekend playing through the campaign, and it was a weekend well spent!

My Gears of War 4 review will be focused the campaign. I haven’t had the time to play through the multiplayer so I’ll leave that to someone else. Personally, I’m a huge fan of campaigns in shooters, Gears being among my favorite. I even read a few of the Gears of War novels because I really like the Gears lore. Eventually, I’ll get through all of them, but reading is a luxury I don’t get to afford often. If anyone knows if there are audio books, let me know. Anyways 4ward onto my Gears of War 4 review.

Story

Gears of War 4 takes place 20-something years after the ending of Gears of War 3. It opens during a ceremony commemorating the accomplishments of the COG. There you play through flashbacks of major moments in COG history as they are mentioned. The coolest part is getting to be part of the of Pendulum Wars, which is only ever portrayed in the novels. The story then switches over to JD, who recently has defected from the COG. Now he’s raiding one of their construction sites to “salvage” a fortifier to power the village that has taken him and his friend Del in. This leads into a huge conspiracy that eventually brings in JD’s dad, Marcus Fenix, and an old enemy who isn’t as gone as the world has thought.

Gears of War 4‘s story is a great continuation of the Gears Saga. It follows the events logically and also leaves a lot of questions without seeming to dependent on cliff-hanger situations. Although there some, it’s not gimmicky. The new characters have a lot of depth and have great banter liken to that of the previous games. However, nothing ever seems to match Cole Train and Baird’s dialogue, which is a huge hole that is never filled. There are some powerfully dramatic moments and some genuinely funny ones, but it doesn’t quite hit the same level of camaraderie that the original games had. While great in its own right, the team dynamic isn’t hit the bar set by the previous games. Where it does shine is its highlight on the main character, who isn’t as brash and hardened as his legendary father. JD’s more of a go with the flow type of character who relies on his wit and spur of the moment resourcefulness, instead of steadfast determination. It is an interesting contrast

Where it does shine is its highlight on the main character, who isn’t as brash and hardened as his legendary father. JD’s more of a go with the flow type of character who relies on his wit and spur of the moment resourcefulness, instead of steadfast determination. It is an interesting contrast and a welcomed change of pace. While different, it still feels natural and a part of the Gears lore. Overall, it is in the same realm of quality as the previous games, storywise I think the conflict is better drawn out and explored, but characterwise I am still personally more fond of the original games cast. Mainly because they were funnier, probably nostalgia, and there’s no topping the Cole Train.

Gameplay

Gears of War 4 has pretty much taken the perfection of the Gears of War 3 controls and given you a bunch of new situations to use it in. There are levels and situations to use all weapons and take advantage of multiple play styles. One of the greatest moments in any gamer’s gaming experiences is that first chainsaw kill with a lancer. That moment will undoubtedly make you believe you can go through a whole level chainsawing every enemy. Well, you will soon find out running head first with a chainsaw loses to a barrage of gunfire. Or you find out, that as cool as the cutscene is to chainsaw an enemy, you can only kill one enemy at a time and you are vulnerable during that time. However, those difficulties make getting a chainsaw kill way more satisfying. But back to my point, there is a whole section that is just meant to rip through with a lancer! And that alone is almost worth the price of admission. It’s a new threat, called

But back to my point, there is a whole section that is just meant to rip through with a lancer! And that alone is almost worth the price of admission. It’s a new threat, called juvies, that are basically human wretches that are more brutal and agile. These things swarm like crazy but are still generally weaker than drones. When you first discover the juvies, just makes sure you have your lancer ready and hold that B button until you hear that all clear tone. I think there is too much use of defense mode, but overall the creative situations add a new element to the game that is exciting and engaging, but also familiar in the best way possible.

Mechanics

Hands down, this is the best-looking Gears game to date. The sound is equally impressive, and I urge you to play with full surround sound. The battles are engulfing, and being in a firefight is like watching the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan. You’ll easily be able to tell if something is sneaking up behind you. The mechanics are almost flawless. However, there are two major things about the game that I feel are flawed.

First, the game took over an hour and a half to install. I have a pretty strong and reliable internet connection where I transfer video files all the time. Considering I have the physical disc, there is no way this game should have taken anywhere near that long. I downloaded and installed Quantum Break in less than an hour. On top of the long install time, the game says ready to launch around 50%, but only has the menu available. Why would it tease you like that? Just don’t let me load the game if I can’t play, letting me get to the main menu is just mean.

Secondly, is Xbox Play Anywhere. Which I think is an amazing concept with a horrible execution. Xbox Play Anywhere is only available if you purchase the digital edition. Which is all fine and dandy, but it takes away from anyone who buys special editions of video games. So if you order the collector’s edition, you don’t get access to the Xbox Play Anywhere feature. Which is bull crap, when you spend 4x more money than the standard edition, you better get everything the digital edition gets, and then some. This is extremely petty and dumb on Microsoft’s part and something I hope they fix soon.

Gears of War 4 Review

The Verdict

Gears of War 4 is a truly worthy successor to the Gears franchise. It may miss the mark in areas, but it is the first foray into the Planet Sera for The Coalition and a masterful one at that. The only downsides to the game are the lack of comedy and camaraderie among the team, and the install time and Xbox Play Anywhere kerfuffle. The story is great, but the characters aren’t quite as enthralling as Marcus, Dom, Baird, and Cole. Also, the loading times and Xbox Play Anywhere thing is just really annoying. However, the masterful storytelling, the near flawless mechanics, and the perfected gameplay, are on par if not a step above its predecessors. If you’re a Gears of War fan, or a fan of 3rd person action shooters, Gears of War 4 is the game to play this holiday season.

Gears of War 4
  • 8.5/10
    Story - 8.5/10
  • 10/10
    Gameplay - 10/10
  • 8/10
    Mechanics - 8/10
8.8/10

The Verdict

Gears of War 4 is a truly worthy successor to the Gears franchise. It may miss the mark in areas, but it is the first foray into the Planet Sera for The Coalition and a masterful one at that. The only downsides to the game are the lack of comedy and camaraderie among the team, and the install time and Xbox Play Anywhere curfuffle. However, the masterful storytelling, the near flawless mechanics, and the perfected gameplay, are on par if not a step above its predecessors. If you’re a Gears of War fan, or a fan of 3rd person action shooters, Gears of War 4 is the game to play this holiday season.

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