I was really excited to receive quite a bit of positive feedback during a recent Twitter poll regarding me adding some video game reviews to my blog. Since I love Gears of War and was very much so anticipating the current installment, Gears of War 4, I thought I’d give it a shot! I just finished the campaign this week and took plenty of notes.
WARNING! Although there are no story spoilers, below I will elaborate on the gameplay and a few opinions on mechanics of new weapon selection and enemies. Read at your own risk.
Previously, Gears of War delivered a standard linear 3rd Person Shooter. We know the algorithm within the franchise; take cover with each wave, throw in a few funny one-liners and don’t run out of ammo. Final boss will be a bit more of a challenge. Parkour! It’s a Berserker!
Problem with previous installments is, it got a bit predictable and I’ll be honest, I was dreading that possibility with Gears of War 4 but luckily I was in awe at how well this game was choreographed. Each Horde wave within every chapter offered new challenging and exciting elements.
You have to manage your defenses while combating enemies, environmental hazards, whether it be industrial or harsh weather, and your little safe space behind a comfy wall will most likely be replaced with an incubation pod, which may or may not have a nasty surprise in it, or a flimsy fence which would most likely give you fuckin’ tetanus in real life.
I was addicted to using my lancer’s chainsaw bayonet to pop open every pod I came across when I wasn’t in the middle of a raid. Supporting characters will comedically bitch at you for it! A little bit of an easter egg.
Photo Credit – IGN.com
There were far more interesting enemies, all with their own attributes and weaknesses, and bosses were a pain in the ass to beat. Each chapter I was on the edge of my seat and saying, “holy fuck this is fucking ridiculous!” I was genuinely excited with each wave and equally nervous.
Enemies are much more intelligent in this game than in previous installments and they are even more so ruthless! A Drone took a lancer to my butt and sliced me in half 🙁
Some of the enemies had me cringing in all the right ways too! Imagine being ingested by a roided bug-like creature who wants to harvest your body! They call them Snatchers for a reason. They’re semi-difficult to kill, very quick runners and jumpers too. However, these… will be the least of your problems at times.
Photo Credit – news.xbox.com
One of my favorite elements to Gears of War is the revamping of iconic weapons. The lancer has been modernized and modified as it has always evolved somewhat in previous games.
Ammo count is both stronger for standard and custom weapons too (560 total for custom lancer. If I recall it was about 400 in previous Gears and lower prior), which sort of balances in my opinion, as this game was a bit more chaotic than previous Gears.
You’re able to do a bit of stealth melee as well which comes in handy when you’re being stingy with ammo (or desperate like me) and you don’t have too many enemies left to dispose of. You have to be quick though as it’s not something you should heavily rely on. The addition to a combat knife results in some pretty brutal and exciting executions.
The longshot sniper rifle was aesthetically awkward and took an awfully long time to reload, which is something that is pretty frustrating within Gears of War to be honest. I’m accepting of the reload time with automatic weapons, but having such a dreadful delay for a single shot rifle is a bit ridiculous. I personally don’t recommend it for the campaign as it’s pretty useless.
Best way I can describe the embar is a sawed off shotgun for robots that has to be charged. You get three rounds so its beset utilized for flanking. I kept this on me to stun more difficult enemies during waves and it definitely came in handy.
Weapon Spoiler Alert:
One of my favorite parts of the last Act and Chapter of Gears of War 4 was using this Transformer looking mech. It was so liberating being able to stomp out your enemies, kick cars around and call in missiles to target enormous enemies.
The story reveals some really interesting history about planet Sera if you pay close attention. The story structure, however, is unfortunately consistent with older games; a few intense moments, some laughs and a predictable mystery. I think the reason why we become so emotionally invested is because the characters are brilliantly brought to life by amazing voice talent, that it compensates for half-assed story writing.
Gameplay was phenomenally improved compared to previous Gears and I was extremely satisfied about that. I wasn’t bored or growing tired from grinding through each chapter and some of the newer weapon mechanics are a bit tricky to adapt to but not complicated, which makes gameplay pleasantly challenging.
I definitely do and have been recommending Gears of War 4 to anyone who has a bitter taste in their mouths from previous titles and has definitely been one of my favorite releases of 2016.