On the 7th of November 2006, the Xbox culture was introduced to the much anticipated Gears of War. Now, ten years later, we are blessed with the fourth installment of this highly acclaimed franchise. The Coalition and Microsoft pulled out all the stops to ensure a great sequel, and they did not disappoint. Gears of War 4 hit, and nearly broke the shelves on October 11 2016, and the world has seemed slightly brighter ever since. We managed to get our greasy paws on a copy here at Game Arena, and we can’t wait to share our findings with you. Here we review Gears of War 4. Let’s get to it, shall we?
The tale of Gears of War 4 takes place 25 years after the events of Gears of War 3. In a solo campaign you play as JD Fenix, son of the indestructible protagonist from the prequels, Sergeant Marcus Fenix. You are joined by two close friends, Kait Diaz and Del (Delmont) Walker. The world being Locust free, has started to mend its wounds. Humanity is led by the COG (Coalition of Ordered Governments), and much stricter society develops as a result of cautious, post-war leadership. The campaign plot itself is rich in emotional triggers and the occasional, yet pleasant surprise.
The three main characters are thrown into disarray when their loved ones mysteriously vanish overnight, but find their strength in the pursuit. Not taking orders from the upper echelon, the protagonists are much easier to relate to, since their objective is to save those whom they care about. Sera, the planet in Gears of War is about to see a change in scenery, as a new threat is looming closely ahead. Two new factions of foes are introduced in Gears 4. The “DeeBees”, a robotic army of peacekeepers controlled by the COG and “The Swarm”, a locust-like species of enigmatic origin. With faces not even their mothers can love, the Swarm is tough, vast in numbers, and seemingly more calculating than their emulsion guzzling predecessors. Though the Swarm is a new form of enemy, you will see a resemblance to the Drones, Wretches, Brumaks and Boomers from earlier Gears titles.
The Graphics & Audio
It comes as no surprise that the graphics in Gears 4 has received a huge overhaul. Being a next-gen title, the game comes with stunning and remarkable scenery, even amidst the piles of Swarm guts disemboweled by your Chainsaw bayonet. The character and level designs were done incredibly well in comparison to its Xbox 360 predecessors. You will undoubtedly notice this yourself in the game’s opening cutscene.
The audio for Gears 4 leaves nothing to be desired. Ramin Djawadi, most famous for his musical contributions to Game of Thrones, has composed the entire score for Gears of War 4. He eloquently captures the exact mood the game requires. The music builds adrenaline during firefights, and leaves you feeling eerie when treading in the dark. The only word to describe the feeling set by Djawadi’s composition in Gears: “Riveting”!
Music aside, the voice-overs done in Gears 4 is equally impressive. Some heavy hitters were recruited to voice the characters, such as Liam McIntyre as JD Fenix (Best known for his work in the television program Spartacus: War of the Damned) and Jimmy Smits as Oscar Diaz (Known for his appearance in Star Wars as Senator Bail Organa, and the Showtime thriller Dexter). Similar to watching an english-dubbed anime, the earlier Gears titles were somewhat devoid of emotion. This time around, the voice-overs are easily felt, leaving you that much more engrossed in the game. With a great cast and an amazing composer, this game was meant to be played at full blast.
Several slight changes has been made to Gears 4 in comparison to the others. The pace of gameplay is slightly faster. Not enough that it will be a problem, however it is something you notice immediately, and will have adapted to before the end of the prologue. The faster, smoother movement flows well into the slightly faster pace of combat. This small increase in speed is what Gears was lacking in it’s earlier titles, although you will only realise that once you start playing Gears 4 yourself. Despite any minor changes, the game still feels exactly like Gears, so you’ll feel right at home playing the latest game.
As usual there are some new features in-game as well. Without giving too much away, imagine placing a ricocheting buzzsaw in a pinball machine. Now imagine everything inside the pinball machine is an enemy waiting to be turned into mulch. This is the only function of one of the new weapons, the Buzzsaw. Be sure to find these new additions in-game and sample the exhilarating new methods to lay waste to your foes.
The Multiplayer system within Gears of War 4 is quite different from what you may have grown accustomed to. It has evolved into something more commonplace in online gaming as of late. The modes you know are still there, such as Horde mode and Versus (Team Deathmatch, Warzone, Execution etc) but Gears 4 has some new modes to show off. The Coalition has introduced Dodgeball. Now, before your head takes you to White Goodman or huge men called Michelle, this Dodgeball involves no actual balls – made of rubber at least. The concept is simple; Kill an enemy to revive one of your teammates, or die by an enemy hand for them to revive one of theirs. This is great way to play. If you’re down to one skilled player on your team, you can still get back into the action at any point.
Teamwork is encouraged and necessary when playing Horde 3.0. The new mechanics involving Horde mode requires complete co-action. There are classes in all multiplayer modes but it is in Horde 3.0 where the classes really shine through. If you want to power through waves of enemies with nothing but your grit and your Lancer, the Soldier class is your best bet. If you want to take a tactical approach, by building and repairing fortifications built by your fabricator, you’re going to want to be an Engineer. There are 5 classes to choose from. Excluding the former two, they are Scout, Sniper and Heavy – each with their own skills and advantages.
Following the trend of games like Overwatch, there are rewards in the form of Gear Packs that can be earned or bought with real world money. These gear packs contain anything from unique character and weapon skins, to skills and bounties. Completing these consumable bounty cards rewards one with whatever is listed on the card, and is often in-game currency that can be used to buy more Gear Packs.
The best solution to experience all there is to Gears of War 4 Multiplayer, is simply to play it. Get yourself into a party as soon as possible so you can enjoy greasing other people with all your customised loadouts.
Gears of War 4 has a lot to offer any gamer, and is a must have for any fan of the franchise. Considered by many to be the best third-person shooter available, after playing it for even a moment it won’t be hard to see why.
Let us know what some of your best and worst campaign related moments were in the comments below. And if you played on Insane difficulty, and you feel like mentioning Act 3 Chapter 3 (At the Doorstep), know that you are not alone.