In preparation for the upcoming launch of Gears Of War 5 I thought I’d give Gears Of War 4 a try. I’ve previously played all 3 main entries in the series, but Gears of War 4 has eluded my attention till now. It may surprise some of you, but I’m actually a huge fan of the Gears Of War franchise. During the previous console generation I choose team green initially, which meant I was playing lots of Microsoft exclusives including Gears Of War. This was because at the time I had a few mates who played the game with me. This was back in my teen years when playing what my friends played mattered to me. Oh and I don’t mean to brag, but I was actually pretty good at it.
So with Gears being one of my favorite games from last gen, why didn’t I get Gears of War 4 till now? Hmm… I’m not quite sure actually, but I assume it has to do with my already packed schedule, and the fact that I haven’t gamed with those mates in years. How I ended up playing it now is related to my current interest in Microsoft Game Pass and Windows 10 which I’ll cover in more detail in the future.
Since I was already testing the Game Pass service I thought I’d give Gears 4 a try, and boy am I happy I did. When a game I’m real excited for releases I avoid watching reviews or any thing about them for fears of spoilers. This is unfortunately due to the simple fact that most other reviewers tend to spoil interesting plot points that I’d much rather discover on my own. I do the same thing for movies, and books because…
The game picks up a couple years after the end of Gears Of War 3 with some new characters and a lot more green. This new numbered entry in the franchise follows a cast of new characters including Marcus’s son, JD, his best friend Del, and their friend Kait. When playing solo you will control JD, but in co-op the second player will have a choice between the other two members in the squad. Now the choice of making JD main character was a bit strange to me, because he’s a bit of a bland character. He doesn’t have the same flair as his father, and the other two members of his squad out shine him in every way.
Please note I have not problem with his voice acting or portrayal, but rather his design. JD LOOKS like the generic male white guy in every Western RPG. Dude has nothing distinct about him that stands out in any way. In fact I kinda cringed every time I saw him on screen because everyone else just looked better. Which is why I’m so excited that he’s not the lead in the upcoming 5th game in the series.
Less JD Please!
JD’s bland design aside, I LOVE almost EVERYTHING ELSE ABOUT GEARS 4! The other characters are great, and there are quite a few Easter eggs and cameos for fans to enjoy.
The game plays like I remember it, even though I haven’t played a Gears game in years. It’s the same slide, jump, shoot, cover system that I fell in love with albeit with a few polishing additions. This includes the quick vault system which I don’t remember being in part 3. This is triggered by pressing the “B” button when sprinting towards cover that the character can vault over. Each weapon also feels satisfying, especially the classic ones. The first time I used a Boltok pistol in game I was like, “MAAAAAN”. Now let me tell you something bout my friend Boltok. The pistol of dreams!
Damn this shit is real. You gotta try this. Like seriously, just get the trial for Game Pass, download Gears Of War 4 and Ooooh… nice!
Each weapon has a distinct feel to them that will appeal differently to each player. I personally stuck to the Torque Bow, Gnasher, Lancer and Boltok whenever possible. The newer weapons were reserved for needs only use due to them not seeming to pack much of a punch, but I’m sure they have their strengths that I know nothing about. The multiplayer servers are sill very active thanks to the game being cross-play between PC and XBOX ONE.
On my PC there were some shadow effects the were not fully realized. This was however related to my hardware limitations and not the game. I wouldn’t call it a demanding title, but it’s recommend having a decent GPU and at least an i5 equivalent CPU.
A More Colourful Gears
Visually the game looked breathtaking with a lot more colour then I’m accustomed to in a Gears game. This was easily the best looking game in the franchise when it was released, and that’s saying something. Every Gears game stood out as some of the best visual eye candy in game from when they released, but what 4 did was add a little more colour to the otherwise dark colour pallets found in this franchise.
Gears of War 4 Problems…
Every game has it’s flaws and this one isn’t any different. It’s flaws are kind of a staple of this genre. This includes the use of loot boxes and paid map packs. Practices like this are frowned upon these days since the Star Wars: Battlefront 2 debacle many publishers have been avoiding such practices. This game is a product of it’s time, but that doesn’t excuse these aspects of it. Another issue for the game was related to updates. Now this isn’t one I experienced, but I noted a few reviews on the games store page mentioning it. Apparently the game sometimes breaks after updates. Again not something I can confirm or deny, but worth knowing.
Gears of War 4 is a great entry in a great franchise. With it’s cinematic action movie story, stunning visuals, a star cast of voice actors, and my buddy Boltok, this was almost, almost perfect. However the practice of map pack DLC, and the loot box character drops subtract greatly from the experience. Gone are the days of unlocking all the characters at the end of the game to be used in multiplayer, or unlocking them as you progress through said multiplayer, and instead we have chance, and the urge the spend your way into poverty. Harsh words aside, I do recommend getting the game, especially through Game Pass (one month subscription if you’re on PC). Despite the stupid loot boxes the game is an overall great package.