Last time we saw Gears of War was Gears of War: Judgment. Judgement left a lot of legacy fans jaded and was not very well received. Many felt Judgement took away what made Gears, well Gears. As a forever fan of the Gears of War franchise, even I was a tad bit apprehensive when Microsoft announced a new Gears title. Microsoft Studios purchased the Gears of War franchise from Epic Games in 2014 and quickly assigned Black Tusk Studios, now The Coalition, to develop the new game. To add more napalm to the fire, Gears vet Rod Fergusson was brought on board to help guide Gears and the new team behind the franchise into familiar and uncharted waters.
The first time we got a glimpse of the new Gears was at E3 2015 and the shock and awe was real. Seeing JD and Kait take on a group of Pouncers for the first time was enough for people to say “Welcome back Gears!” We would have to wait until E3 2016 to get a better more polished look at Gears 4; and what a difference a year made. Grab your custom Lancer, your COG armor and your frag grenades as we walk back into Sera.
Gears of War 4’s campaign focuses on JD Fenix, the son of Coalition hero Marcus Fenix. 25 years after the events of Gears 3, the planet Sera is free of the Locust and Lambent threat…but that peace came with a price. The Imulsion Countermeasure may have eradicated the Locust and the Lambent but it also destroyed Sera in the process by depleting the planet of fossil fuels. This also created a new threat in the form of Windflares, wild feral storms that rip the planet apart. There are new enemy threats, The DeeBees and “The Swarm.” The DeeBees were created by the Coalition of Ordered Governments to replace human soldiers and to limit civilian casualties. The Swarm are a new breed of enemy, hyper evolved and better than the enemy you know. Your job as JD, joined by your friends Kait and Del, is to get to the bottom of the mystery behind The Swarm and escape the COG in the process.
The enemies in Gears aren’t they only thing that got hyper evolved; the multiplayer got a boost as well. Gears of War 4’s multiplayer is spearheaded by the fantastically redone Horde Mode. Horde 3.0 is a different beast all together. The new Horde is equal parts tower defense and classic Gears gore. Each person has a class and each class has a job to do. If you don’t perform your job well, it could cost your team. Another new addition to the Gears multiplayer is Dodgeball. Dodgeball is Execution with well…dodgeball rules. When you kill someone on the other team, you bring back a dead teammate. The back and forth of this game mode not only adds a layer of intensity but makes you play a little bit smarter. Multiplayer still offers traditional Execution, King of the Hill, Team Death Match and Arms Race making for a well balanced experience.
Gears of War 4’s campaign offers you more of what you know and love from the original trilogy but this time is backed by the power of Unreal Engine 4. The Coalition team takes full advantage of the engine as Gears has never looked cleaner or played better. In the campaign you are introduced the new game play mechanics such as the cover pull and execute and new weapons like the Embor and the Overkill. The story in Gears moves fast and fluid and its pace is matched by an equal amount of down time. The retooled multiplayer adds something new and old with surprises packed in like the ability to play as Run The Jewels members Killer Mike and El-P and 10 year Carmine family themed back.
If you have an Xbox One and need your new exclusive fix, Gears is it. For those that haven’t yet picked up a Xbox One, Gears is more than a worthy reason to spend you money on a new piece of tech.