Gears of War 4 Review

For PC gamers, the Gears of War story ended where it began – back in 2007, when the debut game about the conflict between square men and underground square monsters came out on consoles. It turned out to be a clever bait from Microsoft, as only Xbox 360 owners had the pleasure of experiencing the subsequent sequels. Only they had the war with the Locusts raging in their boxes for another six years, during which the series managed to flourish, more or less decently conclude, and then give birth to a long-awaited prequel.

Therefore, it is not surprising that playing Gears of War 4 as a PC user is like falling asleep at the beginning of the Star Wars marathon and waking up somewhere in the middle of Attack of the Clones. It’s a completely different time and completely different faces around, indulging in nostalgia for events you have never seen. The introductory part is certainly present here, but more as a starting point for a new trilogy than for people whose interests do not extend beyond one platform.

Encountering menacing robots in Gears of War 4

If you’re lost, let’s stick together. 25 years ago Marcus Fenix and his company destroyed the Locust and Lambent (yes, you missed a lot), and now humanity, led by the unwavering Coalition of Ordered Governments, is slowly licking its military wounds in strictly limited colonies. However, some people are not very happy that Gears of War is turning into a teenage dystopia, resulting in resistance growing outside the bustling COG – tribes calling themselves the Outsiders.

They are notable for two facts. Firstly, they are terribly adept at living independently outside the COG, which is why they snatch up any resources they can from the latter. Secondly, James Fenix – Marcus’ son and our new main hero – finds himself among the ranks of the Outsiders.

Honestly, if it weren’t explicitly stated, it would be impossible to trace the family ties. JD is a decent guy, but he doesn’t properly fulfill the role of the protagonist, spending the whole game foolishly smiling and remaining in the shadow of his own companions, and later his aging father. Either he’s adopted, or all his charisma went to his mother – in any case, he’s a weak material for a protagonist.

Showcasing the iconic Lancer weapon

After devoting some time to internal conflicts, the game finally returns to its course. Soon after it starts, someone suspiciously familiar emerges from underground and causes chaos in a suspiciously similar way, kidnapping not very important characters in order to motivate the very important ones to take action.

The Locust once again appear as the main enemy, and Gears of War 4 does not shy away from this fact. And what’s there to be ashamed of? The first acts are dedicated to shooting down dull robots, and the shooter doesn’t lose anything from it – unless you don’t like combat sequences in Mass Effect. But when the charming reptilians come back into focus, everything becomes just great.

Even though in terms of gameplay, Gears of War seems to have not changed at all over the years. Shootouts with half a magazine, gory headshots, chainsaw duels, and a huge red cog in the center of the screen – all of it remains the same. Except maybe a bit more polished and broader in terms of functional details.

Seeking cover in the heat of battle

Surviving a stormy encounter

In windy weather, shelters are often blown away along with those who hide behind them.

In this situation, it is probably more important how the familiar gameplay is presented, and Gears of War 4 has almost no problems with that. Occasionally, it gets carried away with repeating one-time mechanics like reflecting enemy waves in an embrace with a giant 3D printer, but more often it offers a whirlwind of different situations, from maneuvering between deadly lightning storms to riding a forklift straight out of “Aliens”. And although most of the time we only need to press the left mouse button in a timely manner and change cover, the conditions change significantly with each new episode, so you don’t notice it.

Overall, the impressions of this corridor attraction with Young Phoenix at the helm fit right in the middle between the two previous numbered games in the series. It is not as monotonous as Gears of War 3, but not as spectacular as the second part, which remains the best in the series thanks to its insane pace and variability.

Meet JD, a key character in Gears of War 4

According to tradition, the entire single-player campaign can be played in cooperative mode. More precisely, it’s not just possible, but necessary, because in the cooperative game of Gears of War 4, it’s twice as fun, dynamic, and slightly easier. There is no significant imbalance of power, especially at a high level of difficulty – but a live partner is usually much more interested in your survival than electronic fools. For example, Marcus doesn’t really care that his son is bleeding half a meter away from him, although he occasionally provides some help.

Naturally, there are also various online modes, but there aren’t that many significant differences worth mentioning. Competitive multiplayer still revolves around the idea of “who can sneak up with a shotgun,” testing it in various interpretations. Whether it’s holding a point, protecting a VIP player, or even a gang game – success depends about 80% on the ability to handle the old good Gnasher. But that’s why people love Gears of War, right? Indeed, these battles are just as gripping as another Call of Duty.

With “Horde,” things get a bit more interesting. While essentially keeping the same survival with waves of enemies, the developers borrowed the class system from Judgment. Players are now divided into soldiers, engineers, snipers, tanks, and scouts, each with their own sets of weapons and unique abilities, both passive and active. This idea doesn’t completely turn the mode upside down, but in conditions of close interaction, it fully justifies itself.

Collectible cards in the game

The modern trends have been crammed into ubiquitous Boxes™, from which Cards™ fall out. Fortunately, there is no talk of pay-to-win, as all this stuff is mostly harmless. In the containers, you can find avatar cosmetics, challenges, and bonuses to class characteristics in the “Horde” – nothing to worry about. There is no need to spend money from your wallet either: sets of colorful textures can be easily purchased with in-game credits. Earning them is a bit tedious, but definitely easier than real money.

Updated 28.10.2016. The law of irony in action. As soon as I praised it, they rolled out… new thematic boxes, which cannot be purchased for virtual currency. Please pay $9 for the holiday set. Hooray…

And now, it’s time to address an obvious fact: Gears of War 4 is very expensive. We have no objections to developers asking for a lot of money for their work, but the work should be proportionate. $50 for a ten-hour action game on PC is beyond a fair pricing policy. And if we compare it with the prices of online games, it’s equivalent to two copies of ‘Overwatch’. The multiplayer here is good, but not that good.

Battling the terrifying Snatcher
Admiring the mountainous landscapes

The most joyful thing about Gears of War 4 is the optimization. The power of the GTX 970, which was questioned by the autumn AAA storm, holds a steady “sixty fps” on the ultra preset, once again fueling pride in the platform. And just in case something slows down somewhere, there are reserves. detailed menu of graphic settings – A rare trait for console guests.

This is despite the fact that the game looks excellent in every aspect, from the rich color palette to the facial animation. In still images, the local beauties lose some of their charm, and the special effects in the screenshots turn into colorful bubbles, but believe me: in some places, the new Gears of War is almost like Uncharted 4.

A tribute to the legendary Marcus Fenix

And in general, there is something here from action-adventure, not just the appearance. Young heroes in the center of the frame, light dialogues with unobtrusive humor, a variety of situations and the absurdity of some of them (oh, wait until the end) – all of this The Coalition has relieved the gloomy atmosphere of the series and, without going too far, created their own mood, their own spirit. The spirit of a semi-adventurous epic adventure, in which even horses resemble Marcus Fenix.

Despite minor changes, Gears of War has predictably remained true to itself. It is still the same seasonal blockbuster as ten years ago – solid, intense, impressive, and completely optional.

Gears of War 4
PC, Xbox One
Action, Co-op, Multiplayer
Microsoft Studios
The Coalition
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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