Release Date: October 11, 2016 Genre: Third Person Shooter Reviewed For: Xbox One Published By: Microsoft Developed By: The Coalition
By Jay (GrimlockTheDino)
Gears of War is close to my heart, which is why when Microsoft and The Coalition announced Gears of War 4, I screamed at the top of my lungs, "NOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
Now you may ask, "Jason, I thought you said you love Gears of War. Why are you upset?" I love the real Gears, the original trilogy created by Epic Games with Cliff Bleszinski (designer) creating what we all know as Gears of War. That ship has sailed; Cliff has moved onto his own development company and Epic games sold the rights to Gears of War to Microsoft on January 27, 2014. Gears of War is now being controlled by Microsoft developer The Coalition. Who is that you ask? Oh, they were known as Black Tusk Studios. Still not familiar? Okay. Before that they were Microsoft Game Studio Vancouver. Still scratching your head? Before that they were called Zipline Studios. Come on! How can you knot know the developer behind 2011's Relic Rescue or 2012's Microsoft Flight?? The facts are that The Coalition (current name) has been a studio since 2010; formed by Microsoft, they have developed 4 games. They developed the Ultimate Edition of Gears of War for XBOX One, which is a fine game, but all the assets were handed to them; the game already existed, they just simply cleaned it up. Gears of War 4 would be their first ever AAA game and I was not very hopeful.
I WAS WRONG! I WAS SO WRONG!
Gears of War 4 takes place 25 years after Gears of War 3. The game focuses around the son of Marcus Fenix, J.D. Fenix, and his friends Del and Kait as they deal with a new threat to humanity. After Gears of War 3, humanity had to adapt to a new way of living on Sera. There is no more imulsion (resource used for energy) and damage to the planet from warfare has brought on "Windflares;" powerful windstorms that form across the planet. The COG (Coalition of Ordered Governments) has reformed and declared martial law to protect what's left of humanity. Some did not agree with COG's decisions and fled the cities, creating their own establishments and calling themselves "Outsiders." J.D. and Del are COG solders that defect and join an Outsiders community where they meet Kait. Beyond this point the story leads to major spoilers so I will avoid that by simply saying that this campaign is great! It feels like the originals and continues a story that was, and still is, very interesting. The story sets up for future games to build off of and all I can say is that I can't wait for Gears of War 5.
Gears of War 4 starts with a great 8-10 hour campaign focusing around interesting characters and a well-told story. It follows this up with Horde Mode 3.0, a co-op team mode allowing up to 5 players to team up and try to survive increasingly difficult waves of enemies. This time around, players are able to build obsticle and weapons and place them on the map more freely than previous versions. Lastly, multiplayer is great once again; either online or local, Gears of War 4 takes its unique play style and creates fun competitive matches for fans of the series to enjoy. New weapons have been added to the arsenal in Gears of War 4 and they work well within all game modes. The Dropshot is my favorite, allowing you to shoot out a giant screw that floats until you let off the trigger and then crashes down, destroying anything underneath it. Overall, the game modes were all enjoyable and ran super smoothly. The campaign was a blast and Horde Mode is amazing. Even multiplayer was fun and I have never played much of Gears of War multiplayer.
If you have played Gears of War, then you know the mechanics are different from other shooters, but in a very good way. The Coalition nailed it and Gears of War 4 feels like the original installments. From the active reload to the incredibly fun melee actions, everything feels like it's in the right place. If you are a Gears of War, fan you will fall right into this game, if this is your first time playing a Gears of War game, it will take a little getting used to. Overall, the third person shooter controls feel well-balanced and camera control is top notch; you will love playing this game.
Gears of War 4 is running on the new Unreal Engine 4 and it shows. The game is gorgeous, the environments are highly detailed, and you will find your self staring off into the distance, admiring the world right before you get chainsawed in half. The character models are sharp and detailed. Armor and weapons look fantastic. Like always, Unreal Engine does seem to make everything shiny or wet looking but it's a small gripe of mine, nothing to really care about as the game looks fantastic. My one negative for this section is the explosion effects; several times I would go shoot a barrel and the effect would look like it came out of a Nintendo 64 game...really poorly rendered. It felt so out of place because the game is so pretty that when you see this it sticks out. Overall, this is the best looking Gears of War game to date.
If you are a Gears of War fan, GO BUY THIS GAME NOW! The Coalition proved me wrong and created the next great chapter of the Gears of War franchise. If you have never played a Gears of War, game prepare yourself for the start of something great. The new cast is solid and though I can't say they are on the same level as the originals, J.D., Del, and Kait have a strong start and a bright future. Congratulations to Microsoft and The Coalitio. Now I only have one question:
WHEN DO WE GET GEARS OF WAR 5???