Gears of War 4 Xbox One Review

Gears of War 4 is more of what we love from this franchise.

By Grayshadow, Posted 11 Oct 2016

Back in 2006 Gears of War launched with critical acclaim and two more titles, each surpassing the previous installment. Now Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski has left the franchise and a new studio has taken responsibility for the latest installment Gears of War 4. Starring a brand new protagonist Gears of War 4 is everything a Gears fan could want from a sequel but those uninterested in the franchise since it launched won’t find anything here to pull them in.

Gears of War 4 25 years after the events of the first game. Imulsion, the parasitic fuel source responsible for turning Locust and humans into the Lambent, has been completely exterminated along with the Locust on Sera thanks to Marcus’s father Adam Fenix. Humanity is dangerously underpopulated and powerful storms called “Windflares” are destroying everything in their path. The Coalition of Order Government, or COG, have declared martial law and enclosed the few thousands of humans still alive within walled settlements to protect people from the storms while trying to repopulate. Those refusing to join the COG’s cities live outside the walls as “Outsiders”, similar to the “Stranded” in the original trilogy, and raid COG bases in search of supplies.

You take control of Marcus Fenix’s and Anya Stroud, JD Fenix and travel along with his friend Delmont “Del” Walker, and girlfriend Kait Diaz as they attempt to stop a new threat to humanity. These creatures called The Swarm is kidnapping people and it’s up to JD and his friends to find out why. 

The story does have a strong start, with a powerful mystery revolving around the Swarm as the game progresses issues begin to pop-up. Unlike the first Gears of War, I never felt a strong sense of comradely between these characters. JD mostly stole the show thanks to his relation with Marcus, who easily overshadows everyone else. Kait never manifest into anything meaningful and Del felt more like a space occupier. Unlike Cole Train's charismatic attitude or Damon Baird’s cocky banter Kait and Del seem more revive bots. I almost forget they were even there until one of them spoke. Speaking of speaking voice-acting in Gears of War 4 is on point with each actor bringing each character to life, it unfortunate they aren’t very interesting.

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Gears veterans will be able to play Gears of War 4 without issue. Much of the control scheme has remained the same. You’ll aim with the left trigger, shoot with the right, use cover to block enemy fire, and perform brutal executions if the enemy is down and you get close enough. Most of the executions are the same from Gears of War 3 and Judgement, with the exceptions being the new weapons in Gears of War 4. New are weapons like the Buzzkill that shoot saw blades, the Dropshot that fires explosive drills, and a rocket launcher that shoots multiple times without having to be reloaded. 

New, is the ability to pull enemies to you. Like the mantle kick, which stuns’ enemies if they happen to be on the opposite side of a piece of cover and you mantle over it, you can grab enemies in cover and pull them to you. Performing either the mantle kick or the grab will allow you a few seconds to perform an instant knife kill. If timed correctly you can grab an enemy attempting to mantle kick you, adding a new threat to those who run-and-gun with the gnasher. 

Graphically Gears of War 4 looks fantastic. Character models are wonderfully detailed, especially the Swarm. “Windflare” segments and high action sequences are showcases how much time and effort went into crafting these environments. 

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Perhaps the best improvement is the soundtrack. The new melancholy tone paints a very different atmosphere from the past games. The title theme alone was much more welcoming and calming when compared to the other games, setting the game’s new tone.

The campaign does support 2 players cooperative either split-screen or online. You cannot split the difficulty like in Gears of War 3 but it’s a welcomed edition and the campaign is much more entertaining with a friend.

Horde mode has been completely refined. Included are new classes such as the engineer, heavy, scout, sniper, and soldier. Each one has specific talents that are critical in surviving the onslaught. Each class has their own leveling tree, encouraging you to try each class. Player models are not set for specific classes, allowing you to swap to whatever character you want. Most are variants of existing characters such as Del, Cole, JD, and other noteworthy characters. 

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Horde still has you fending off waves of enemies, with each 10th wave being a boss fight and the 11th boosting the enemies health, accuracy, or damage. Players now gather resources and feed it to the fabricator, a machine capable of generating barriers, decoys, and turrets. Since resources are pooled into the fabricator one bad ally can waste your resources for selfish upgrades to feed their kill count, making communication paramount to success. 

Beast mode has not returned to Gears of War 4 which is unfortunate, the chance to play as the Swarm was one of my desires for this game.

Multiplayer is mostly the same with 10 maps and 7 modes. Classics such as Team Deathmatch, Execution, and King of the Hill are available. Other modes include Dodgeball where an allied player gets revived for killing an enemy player, Arms Race where you weapons change every 3 kills. Deathmatch has not returned.

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Completing missions in the campaign, competitive matches, or horde mode waves nets you experience to boost your overall level and points. Points can be used to purchase packs that give you cars including bounties, class skills, customization, consumable, and horde cards. These can be purchased for real world currency if you choose.

Customizing isn’t limited to your appearance. This includes weapons of all types and emblems for each of the multiplayer modes. Bounties grant you extra experience or CR for completing specific objectives, the harder the tasks the more you gain. If you choose to destroy a card you’ll get scrap. This scrap can be used to unlock new characters. Gears of War 4 has a lot of reasons to keep coming back, encouraging whether you lose or win that you’ll always be thriving with new loot to unlock.

I’ve said a lot of positives about Gears of War 4 but what about the negatives. The issue was that I’m already a season Gears of War player and this played just like past games. This isn’t bad but it also means that those who’ve had no interest in the franchise or this genre won’t find anything worth investing into. It’s Gears of War if you like the franchise you’ll enjoy this game. 

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Is Gears of War 4 the best Gears game ever, no; that belongs to Gears of War 3. But don’t dismiss Gears of War 4, it’s an amazing third-person shooter that does the franchise justice and has potential for evolving into something great. Gears of War 4 ends with a lot of questions going unanswered but that’s the point, it’s the start of a new journey and I cannot wait to see what the next game has in store for us. You can keep busy on the large multiplayer content available but for those tired of the franchise or were never interested in the first place Gears of War 4 won’t change your mind. For everyone who’s a fan Gears of War and this genre this is more of what you love from with a new beginning.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PC, Xbox One
Publisher(s): Microsoft
Developer(s): The Coalition
Genres: Third-person shooter
Themes: Science-fiction, Apocalypse
Release Date: 2016-10-11

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