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Gears of War 4 Review


Gears of War is back and even though development of this latest title has switched from Epic to new Microsoft studio, The Coalition, you’d never know it. The Coalition has been built from the ground up with only one purpose, to lovingly continue the Gears series and take it forward into future years. Judging the team by Gears of War 4, that future is very bright indeed.

There’s something about the Gears of War campaigns that I’ve always liked. Sure, they are usually based a loose story with a lot of mindless violence against enemies which seem to grow bigger and more powerful as the game progresses and to be fair, that’s pretty much the case in Gears of War 4. As you begin, you’ll be taken back around 25 years to the day that, against all odds, the COG finally defeated the Locust. This gives a sharp reminder as to what Marcus and the gang were up against and makes for a good starting point for those who have not played through a Gears of War campaign before. Once caught up, you then find yourself in a different world, one which is locust free, but which has troubles of its own, troubles that by the end of the campaign you’ll still not quite fully have got to grips with. 


In this future world you take the role of JD, the troubled son of Marcus Fenix who has gone AWOL from the COG and set up life in a village. When we join him, he is raiding a COG base for a fabricator, which his village badly needs to help restore some much needed electrical power. Unfortunately, the COG don’t take too kindly to this and a battle begins with the robots of COG, led by First Minister Jinn. Eventually this leads to the COG attacking the village, although not for the reasons you might think and from there everything really kicks off.

Once at this village scene, this is where the game gets interesting, as using the fabricator you can build defences ahead of the attack, which itself takes the form of a sort of Horde mode. Before the 1st wave comes you’ll place down your barriers and turrets, then you’ll fight off the wave and use the fabricator to build more defences before the second wave. While the campaign does take the traditional route of running, gunning and taking cover, the moments where you build a defence and take on waves really helps to mix it up a little and certainly prepares you for what is to come in the returning multiplayer Horde mode.

I don’t really want to say much more about the story as it would really spoil things to do so, instead we will stick to the action and the various weapons that you’ll find throughout the campaign. As with most Gear’s games, it is absolutely packed with enemies, weapons and collectables. The enemies in the latest Gears seem to go from hard to harder, as not only do you have to take on the COG’s army of mechanised soldiers, but also a new mysterious force, which seems to evolve as the campaign goes on. Luckily, as the enemy evolves, so does your arsenal, leaving you with a huge choice of weapons, most of which you’ll either find lying around or pick up from the enemy. What’s great about the campaign is that it will introduce you to the weapons that you’ll be using once playing what is the main focus of the game, Horde mode and Multiplayer versus.

You will spend most of the campaign taking the enemy apart and this can be done either on your own with the AI controlled companions Kait and Del by your side, or brilliantly, you can play the whole campaign in co-op with a human controlled companion. Either way you’ll have a lot of fun playing through the story, which based on my experience will take around 7-10 hours depending on the level of difficulty you choose to head through it in.

As far as presentation goes, the campaign runs at 30FPS at 1080p, although it looks wonderful and runs without any issues or slowdown. If you are playing on a Xbox One S via a 4K HDR enabled TV, then it has to be said that the presentation is stepped up even more. To be honest I thought Forza Horizon 3 looked good, but Gears takes things up another level. The world of Gears of War 4 is quite brown in places, but somehow the lighting in HDR seems to shine through and make things look quite spectacular, especially when you are in the heat of the action. It seems to me that Gears of War 4 is a fantastic advert for HDR gaming and it gets you excited to see what the world of PS4 Pro and Scorpio will bring to the table.

"Gears of War 4 is a fantastic advert for HDR gaming"


Moving onto multiplayer and there is certainly plenty to keep you busy here. Horde Mode returns and is a lot of fun and very challenging. You can play Horde Mode in local co-op and even invite friends from online. It works much like the campaign, where you have the fabricator and build your defences before the wave begins. As you progress through the waves you can then earn more credits for defences by killing enemies and grabbing the pick-ups that they drop. There are a great mix of enemies in Horde Mode and some great maps too, and with AI being really top notch, you are sure to find a great challenge here, whether playing on your own or with friends.

If Versus is more you thing then there are plenty of modes to keep you busy. Eight modes in all, although Execution and Escalation are exclusive to Competitive playlists in Matchmaking. Other modes include the likes of Team Deathmatch and King of the Hill, while you’ll also get to try more unusual modes such as Dodgeball, where you have to wait until a teammate gets a kill before you can respawn. As far as map go, there are nine in all and from what we’ve played all seem well designed. 


While we’ve not spent as much time in multiplayer as we would have liked due to launch restrictions, it’s clear that anyone who loves Gears is going to be clearly impressed with both the 60FPS multiplayer action and the sheer amount of weaponry, customisation and choice of game modes/maps. Speaking of customisation, Gears of War 4 comes with its own in-game shop which allows you to earn and purchase Gear Packs. While you’ll gain some of these through pre-ordering, your actions in game and in the campaign, you’ll also be able to purchase these packs too, adding in a level of customisation to guns, emblems and characters. Gear Packs are filled with cards that have different levels of rarity, so you’ll likely get a buzz of anticipation each time you open a pack.

"You could only imagine that this is what Gears of War 4 would have looked and played like had it been designed by Epic itself."


Gear of War 4 is a feature packed and fun game which has been lovingly created by The Coalition in every detail imaginable. While Epic created this series, The Coalition seem to have taken just as much love and care, so much so that you could only imagine that this is what Gears of War 4 would have looked and played like had it been designed by Epic itself. Everything about it screams quality, from the intelligent AI, to the feature packed multiplayer to the stunning graphics which will have your jaw on the floor, especially when playing on Xbox One S and making use of HDR. The campaign may not be the longest in the world, but the pacing is just perfect, so it feels like the perfect fit to what is a rather impressive overall package.

Multiplayer is where most people will spend their time of course and thanks to the fully fledged Horde and Versus modes, it’s likely that this game will still be talked about come this time next year. Gears of War 4 is a fantastic game and a tremendous effort by The Coalition. There’s no doubt that the future of Gears is in very safe hands and what a future it could be.



Words by Joe Anderson
Twitter: @_wotta | PSN/XBLA: wotta

(Version Tested: Xbox One (S) )


Pros

+ Looks amazing, especially in HDR
+ Campaign has great pacing
+ Intelligent AI makes for a tough challenge
+ Horde mode is back and fantastic
+ Versus mode is feature packed

Cons

- Gears Pack Micro-transactions may not be for everyone

Edited On 11 Oct, 2016

Comments
( 20 )
 TruDarkAssassin's avatar
TruDarkAssassin 2 months ago
so looking forward to this
SilverShane's avatar
SilverShane 2 months ago
Can't wait to play this tomorrow btw if the the gears packs are anything like halo 5s req system then it ll be an excellent feature that really doesn't require any real money invested into it
 TruDarkAssassin's avatar
TruDarkAssassin 2 months ago
just got my dpd 1 hour time as well for my gears console arriving today :)
Anonymous user's avatar
Jason 2 months ago
I wish I liked this game but I dont its just hard to play online It makes me mad. Im good at most games but I suck at this which in turn makes me not like it
SilverShane's avatar
SilverShane 2 months ago
Then just stick to campaign and horde mode
Anonymous user's avatar
Jason 2 months ago
nah i like to compete its where i enjoy gaming I like the competitive side of things if i aint beating someones ass at something im bored. Playing against a computer does nothing for me . I will pick it up on GWG or when its bub 20 for campaign but I aint paying 43 quid for a campaign
SilverShane's avatar
SilverShane 2 months ago
If you like to compete then surely you'd wanna play gears ? Otherwise where's the challenge if all you want to play are easy games that you can win at
Anonymous user's avatar
Jason 2 months ago
Just dont like it it doesnt feel like any other game, which I suppose is good but its not for me ill just wait till its £15 or free. I enjoy COD or BF much more
 TruDarkAssassin's avatar
TruDarkAssassin 2 months ago
just got my gears console omg it looks amazing money well spent
JoeToots's avatar
JoeToots 2 months ago
i actually use to be a pro gears player. This is the first gears i'm going to be missing out on! having a bit of a break from gaming but i'm half tempted to go pick a bundle up tomorrow and get back to the level i was at.
Anonymous user's avatar
PHILIP 2 months ago
@trudarkassassin Mine confirmed for tomorrow morning delivery :-)
Chazza's avatar
Chazza 2 months ago
When will ShopTo start shipping pre-order copies, anybody know?
Anonymous user's avatar
Jason 2 months ago
Why is it so expensive compared to anywhere else...first time ive really noticed im actually getting robbed
Hrus's avatar
Hrus 2 months ago
In case people were wondering the pc version is also amazing, it's extremely well optimized, they shipped a fantastic game.
trancematic's avatar
trancematic 2 months ago
Had my special edition console delivered today from Amazon and its drop dead gorgeous, only problem is 5 hours later I'm still downloading the game and its still not got to 40% and speeds range from literally KBPS to between 2/and 30mbps for a minute or two per hours have tried everything and the only way i got the speed to increase was to download one of my other games of the store like Superhot which was downloading at tremendous speed,once i stopped this from downloading the Gears 4 download increased to around 30mbps but only for around 20 minutes before it literally dropped to less than 1mbps,got super fast fibre and everything else works as normal and at this rate i wont be playing this today and possibly tomorrow as its horrendous .
Turniplord's avatar
Turniplord 2 months ago
@trance is the Xbox like the PlayStation in regards to downloads? The ps downloads a lot faster when in rest mode with no games in suspension - as it knows it's doing nothing but downloading. Maybe put you Xbox in standby and leave for a bit? Plus the servers are probably getting battered if a lot of people got it today and with the size of the download I'm sure a lot of people are trying to download.
trancematic's avatar
trancematic 2 months ago
Yeah Turnip but Microsoft are always telling us how there infrastructure and servers are far superior to PSN but since the days of the 360 the xbox one download in general and updates are super slow, not sure about the standby thing mate as i had only just rigged up the new console which like i say looks awesome, it literally finished downloading at 11pm and that was 11 hours, had a quick bash at Horde mode and it was brilliant and you will go down a lot quicker than previous horde games..
superniceguy's avatar
superniceguy 2 months ago
I think it is just temporary due to huge traffic over many people downloading for gears 4 and forza horizon 3. Normally I find download speeds are 50-70 mb/s, but the past week was about 5.
trancematic's avatar
trancematic 2 months ago
Traffic or not it should not take a day to download a digital game regardless,Microsoft need to sort that out server side, remember they are always saying how better there network is and by most accounts it is more stable than PSN ,but when i buy digital content from PSN of this scale it would take me literally 30 minutes to download,1.5mbps when i have a 56mpbs fibre connection is not acceptable under any circumstances, the whole point about the package and cost of it was to play 4 days early, that became 3,yeah its no big deal i get that but its not the point.
superniceguy's avatar
superniceguy 2 months ago
It will always be the case unfortunately, due to busy times. Online retail websites crash on Black Fridays as loads of people refresh the webpages, and try and log in. Shopto and other online retailers crashed the other week when ps4s were selling for £150. It is something that can not be avoided, and if it can be boosted, then not really viable to buy more equipment just for a day or two. Although they could have reduced the traffic by making sure there was no 11GB patch, even disc users had to download 11GB.

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