“War does not determine who is right – one who is left” – Bertrand Russell
War never concludes with smiles and happy sights; sacrifice is always required. Sometimes, those sacrifices where for nothing at first, but end up meaningful. The Gears of War series tells the story of wars whereas humanity fights for survival. Gears, the warriors protecting the freedom from the enemy, die in combat. While some deaths might appear meaningless, no one ever gets forgotten.
The words above are but a few that express, in their own way, just how brutal and savage war is. The winners are the ones left, it goes without saying. Gears of War demonstrates that brutality through its gore-themed combat and mature storytelling. With the trilogy over, a new one rises. Gears of War 4 is more than just the 5th game of the franchise, it is the beginning of a new era!
The game starts off strong and puts you right in the middle of the action. As the prologue goes on, you face the various enemies featured in past titles of the series. As an added bonus, you also get to wield one of the most powerful weapons ever conceived, the Hammer of Dawn. The prologue simultaneously gives you a quick flash back at the action that took place in the years preceding the game’s current setting. At the same time, a strong speech by the leader set to make us remember those who lost their lives as Gears, for humanity. Older Gears, such as Marcus were thanked for their services, without whom the world wouldn’t be standing on their feet.
The Prologue sets you as a player 25 years following the event that took place in Gears of War 3. Only now, in the main storyline you don’t get to play as Marcus, but as J.D. Fenix, his son. Although he isn’t as manly and mature as his father was, hints of his leadership become more and more apparent as you progress along. The decisions he makes reflect that of his father. The gameplay gives you the impression of playing as a younger Marcus Fenix.
Compared to the other games in the series, there isn’t any real innovation to the storytelling and the plot itself. Humanity is bound to fight against an enemy and the Gears have to go through incredible lengths to hit them at their core, as much as possible. Hordes and waves of enemy pop up at locations that easily become noticeable. If you have any experience with Gears of War title, encounters lose their sense of surprise and become a routine hostile extermination. The only differences are the enemies and their size!
Although most of the game’s combat and enemy encounters can be predicted, they are not to be taken lightly. Gears of War 4, from the get go, offers more grounds to cover in general, giving you and your opponents a little more freedom of movement. On easy modes, you are almost free to jump around and beat them up face to face. However, the same stages in harder difficulty can be a little more challenging. So either you must deal with larger areas that require more of you to mind your surroundings, or constricted areas that force you to deal with enemies faster before they overwhelm you.
Regardless of the mode you are playing, the game delivers enough excitement and “wow” moments to get you engaged.
When you hear Gears of War, you automatically associate it with words like: gore, third-person shooter, blood, locust, and etc. Well the visual theme is far from different; the same level of gore and blood splashes are featured in this title. It was useless to make it any more intense; the formula was just right, and was kept right!
Visual speaking, nothing really strikes you, unless you are playing on Ultra HD. The sharper you screen projects the image, the better the game looks. Having a balanced black and white contrast is also important if you which to enjoy the game to its fullest. Set aside those screen setting details, the game looks fantastic. The visuals have been enhanced and the level of detail, especially on character models and weapons are outstanding. The environment also looks polished and very convincing.
The audio is as convincing as the visuals. From the sounds of the Retro Lancer, the iconic weapon of the game, all the way to the voice acting, everything sounds right. Even though it is an introduction to a new trilogy, iconic sound effects, such as the ring after clearing an enemy attack, are still present. They featured in the game, but they still serve the same purpose.
Gears of War started off as a single player game with couch multiplayer campaign options. Now, the series has evolved and offers a standard online connectivity. This means that you can connect with other players online to complete the missions from the campaign. You can also connect with someone locally or via LAN to achieve the same thing. It is important to mention that the split-screen coop mode is back, so you can enjoy Gears and cause bloodbath alongside a friend!
In addition to the campaign, the Horde mode makes a comeback. Connect with your friends or other players and take on the challenge in the Horde mode. It will require you to be a lot more cunning, more communication and a good resource management if you wish to rank high.
While Gears of War 4 doesn’t really innovated the direction in which the series is heading, it definitely polishes it. This title looks amazing and feels great; encounters are challenging and he story, as cheesy as it may be, is engaging. Gears of War 4 starts a new chapter and a new trilogy, one that already promises to be exciting to say the least. If you are a fan of the series and have been playing since the original title, you might feel a little nostalgia playing this one.
Gears of War 4 is a great title. The fun fights and challenging difficulties are what I am looking for, and this game delivers. What it failed to deliver to me, however, is innovation. With the gaming industry evolving, new technologies become more and more available to developers. After learning that Gears of War 4 would be a new start for a new trilogy, I felt as though it was way too similar to the past titles. I won’t include Judgment, but Gears of War 1-2-3 engaged me in a way the fourth failed to. From beginning to the end, I felt as though something was missing… I also felt as though it was a game I have already played.
Set aside this note, the game is great and looks fresh. The level of detail caught my eyes and the encounters were fun. There are loads of them, but it didn’t feel too much of a burden, or too repetitive. On the contrary, I was eager to enter combat and once engaged, I couldn’t wait to hear that bell ring.