Gears of War 4 – Completed!
Ever since I first saw the “Mad World” trailer for Gears of War 1 I knew this was a game I wanted to play. Back in 2006 I got my copy of Gears and got playing. This to me was the game that got my interested in online multiplayer gaming. The Xbox Live platform was the perfect virtual meeting place after a long day at work where you could unwind.
Roll on 10 years and there’s been 4 games in the Franchise (but let’s forget about Gears of War Judgement) and behold Gears of War 4 come out yesterday (11th October). I was holding back on buying this for the PC as in recent times it’s seems the platform where developers like to do their dirty work and shaft you of good experience. I’m so glad to say this is absolutely not the case with this release! I’m playing this game on a GTX970 and i7 4770k, with this spec I can easily get 60fps on Ultra settings. The frame-rate and gameplay is so smooth.
The game starts off with a prologue set a couple of years before Emergence day, in the opening trailer you see a young Colonel Hoffman, barking his orders at another even younger Dominic Santiago. This opening mission fills in the back story at Aspho Fields explaining how the COG came to acquire the hammer of dawn. With the Hammer of Dawn now an acquisition of the COG, the game moves onto the opening events of Emergence Day. On E-Day you see how the COG with a young Lieutenant Kimh also assist in fighting this new enemy back. The objective of this mission is to go get the hammer of dawn so then you can repel the enemy.
With the prologue over and down with, you’re thrown into meeting the game’s protagnist JD Fenix, Marcus Fenix’s son. I’m not going to say anything more about the story so then it doesn’t spoil this for anyone, but all I’ll say is familiar faces make an appearances and the story is done in typical Gears Fashion – albeit just a little too short.
Gameplay: One thing I noticed about the previous Gears game is that they tried introducing new gameplay mechanics into the game which didn’t necessarily work well or needed polishing. This time round I’m playing this on the PC with a mouse and keyboard. For once at Gears I felt like I truly was owning the battle field with the amount of amazing headshots I was pulling off. This was a gave me great satisfaction that my skills weren’t as rusty as I thought they might have been.
The game just plays fast but most importantly, smooth. So smooth in fact it makes transitioning areas so much better. This time round they have introduced a couple of new mecahnics:
- Rodeo Running vaulting – You can now vault over mid-height objects whilst rodeo running
- Vaulting Knock-over – If an enemy is on the other side of a med-height object you’re in cover against whilst your vaulting over it, you can knock them back and stun them
- Shiv Executions – Once you have a done a vault knock-over you can then shiv your enemy.
- Grab Enemies from Cover – If an enemy is next to the cover you’re also in cover against (on the opposite side) you can pull them over for a quick execution.
One thing I did notice which was a bit of annoying is that this time they have made it harder to find ammunition for the powerful weapons (e.g. Longshot & Torque Bow etc). In the previous games a Weapon crate would have given you the supplies you needed, this time you have to go looking for the actual weapon within the area and go take it. This does mean you are a bit more reserved and have to use your judgement more when to use this powerful weapon – so I guess this was what they were going for.
Multiplayer: This time round they have got this totally right, the dedicated servers have great response time with low pings (latency) and for once I don’t feel like I’m getting screwed over by somebody who has a terrible internet connection. That used to peeve me off in the Xbox Live days especially when you was doing it as a peer-to-peer match. This time round the matches feel fluid and balanced. The level designs do have a nod to the previous titles and some do look eerie familiar. Microsoft also introduced some characters depending on your pre-order. I have been running round on Horde as a Zombie Dominic Santiago – pwning everything in sight!
Overall I can’t emphasise enough how much I’ve enjoyed Gears, the new studio (The Coalition) have done a great job hitting all the areas of the franchise needed to make this game not just a good game but a great game.