Reviewed on Xbox One
By Santy D’souza
‘Gears of War 4’ is the latest entrant in the critically acclaimed ‘Gears of War’ franchise. It is set 25 years in the aftermath of the last game. Oh and by that I mean Gears of War 3 and not the disappointing prequel that was ‘Gears of War Judgement’.
‘Gears of War 4’ is a return to the series’ roots, a splendid third-person, cover-based shooter with excellent gameplay mechanics. There are not many improvements in the core gameplay when compared to the predecessors in the series but as the saying goes, “You can’t improve on something that’s already great!”
When first released in 2006, ‘Gears of War’ revolutionised the third person cover based shooter and ‘Gears of War 4’ builds on that reputation. The developers ‘Coalition’ have done a commendable job picking up the reigns from ‘Epic Games’ the developers of the original trilogy before Microsoft purchased the franchise back in 2014.
The story is set in the aftermath of Gears of War 3 where the humans of planet Sera are slowly rebuilding and repopulating after the end of the Locust War. The game begins with an epic prologue that takes us to certain key moments in the series which are being referenced in a COG ceremony. This prologue is certainly a nostalgic ride to the long standing fans of the series.
We are later introduced to three new playable characters JD Fenix, Kate Diaz and Del Walker who are a welcome addition to the series. The game also introduces new enemies in the form of COG robots called ‘Deebees’ and the deadly ‘Swarm’. The enemy AI is heavily upgraded making combat more challenging and unpredictable. This has resulted in some epic close quarter battles throughout the game. There are also certain aspects of the Horde Mode built into the campaign itself resulting in some exceptionally exciting moments.
The story is not the best in the Gears franchise but it certainly lives up to the high expectations. ‘Gears of War 4’ also features some new weapons such as the Buzzkill and Dropshot which are fun to play and experiment with. The level design is great and the game features some of the best lighting and particle effects I have seen in a console game. The campaign runs at 1080p locked at 30 fps and in my entire time with the game I haven’t noticed any considerable frame rate drops or glitches. I won’t say that Gears of War 4 is the best looking game on Xbox One but it certainly is one of the best.
My playthrough of the entire campaign lasted for almost 10 hours and it was immensely gory and satisfying. The entire campaign is playable in 2 player co-op. You can do this either via online co-op or local split screen. It is truly heartening to see that a developer still supports split screen co-op play in this era, considering that this has become something of a rarity these days.
The game also features the classic Gears multiplayer action. All the Core and Competitive Modes have returned but this time it’s even bigger and better. The multiplayer is solid, well-polished and runs smoothly at 1080p 60fps. 10 multiplayer maps are available at launch and they are all well designed. ‘Gears of War 4’ also features various customisation options and a new card based bounty and upgrade system. This is similar to the requisition packs available in ‘Halo 5 Guardians’.
Last but nevertheless is the return of the epic ‘Horde Mode’. I don’t have enough adjectives in my vocabulary to describe how immensely addictive and fun this cooperative multiplayer mode is! ‘Horde Mode’ made its debut in ‘Gears of War 2 and it instantly became a huge hit with the players. I can still recall the countless days and hours I spent playing ‘Horde Mode’ in ‘Gears of War 3’.
In ‘Horde Mode’, 5 players cooperatively team up to take on 50 waves of incoming enemies. As each wave progresses the difficulty and the challenge increases. Every 10th wave is a boss wave. Players need to strategise and set up defences to take on increasingly tough enemies.
Overall ‘Gears of War 4’ is a complete package featuring a spectacular campaign and multiplayer experience. This title is also a part of Microsoft Play Anywhere Program wherein if you purchase the game digitally on Xbox One it is free to download on a Windows 10 PC and vice –versa. The title is also cross play compatible which allows Xbox One gamers to play with their PC counterparts.
If you purchase the game on Xbox One you will also receive download codes for all the previous ‘Gears of War’ games including the prequel ‘Gears of War Judgement’. These are all playable on Xbox One through the backward compatibility program. This means you get 5 games for the cost of one. This is certainly one of the best Xbox One exclusives for this generation and I would absolutely recommend buying this game whether you are a newcomer to the series or a Gears veteran.
My rating :- 9/10.
Disclaimer- This is a guest post by “Santy D’souza” aka KillBoySanty