Under the guidance of a new development studio, the Gears of War series is back, and arguably better than ever in the latest entry in the series.
Gears of War 4 brings a lot of changes that freshen things up and allow The Coalition to put their stamp on the series. Set 25 years after the events of Gears of War 3, we’re introduced to a new protagonist in the form of JD Fenix, son of Marcus Fenix. JD, alongside his two friends Kait and Del, are forced to go toe-to-toe with a new enemy known as the Swarm after they attack their camp and kidnap their loved ones.
JD and his group of friends are entertaining in their own right. Much of this can be attributed to the excellent writing, which balances the narrative with just the right amount of humour, drama, and intensity.
The new enemies are great too. Gears of War 4 introduces a variety of enemies, some of which feel familiar while others bring a completely new element of gameplay to the table. No matter what enemy you face, you’re in for an experience that’s not only enjoyable, but a challenge as well.
The gameplay experience is further enhanced with the addition of new elements. The Coalition have introduced environmental impacts to gameplay in the form of Windflares, an enormous storm that impacts the movement of enemies, grenades and can even allow players to use objects as projectiles. Couple this with dynamic cover and new melee options, and players will find that they have multiple options to handle each combat scenario.
In Gears of War 4, we’re also gifted with a significant overhaul of the horde mode. I was never as attached to horde mode as many other Gears fans were, but it’s clear that The Coalition made sure to update the mode without making the mode feel unfamiliar. One notable inclusion is the introduction of Gear Cards, which players can use to add bonuses to their character. Gear Cards can be purchased with both in-game currency and real money. The packs might also include customisable items.
Unfortunately, due to playing the game long after it launched, most of the online community has since moved on to other games, so I was unable to explore the multiplayer portion of the game as much as I would have liked. I did spend some time in the co-op versus mode though, where empty spaces are filled in by AI opponents. Even with AI opponents, the multiplayer felt great to play, and I’m sure the experience would only have been better if I was able to get a full lobby of players.
Gears of War 4 is a great return to one of the last generation’s breakout franchises. Fans of the series are bound to enjoy what the game has to offer, with its well-written campaign, expanded horde mode, and even its online multiplayer; despite its small number of players that are still active. The Coalition have put their stamp on the series, and I can’t wait to see where they take it next.