With this week bringing games like Battlefield 1 and Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Gears of War 4 couldn’t have picked a better time to revive themselves. Actually, they could have made a sequel at any point within the past five years, but who’s counting anyway?
If you were looking for a game about war involving gears that had an intense plot, we are all very sorry to let you know that Hideo Kojima is no longer a part of Konami. This, however, is a close competitor, widely recognized as one of the best third-person shooter series there is, ignoring Judgement with mixed reviews in 2013. The story, or campaign as edgy shooters and IGN like to call it, covers what happens after the humans won against the locusts. In the world of Gears of War, Earth is called Sera, sporting a 26-hour day and lizard people, locusts, who have fought against the humans since early yet fictional eras of time. Also everyone on the planet is beefy as hell, possibly due to the atmosphere being flooded with the combined power of the Total Gym and Hulk Hogan; everybody just wakes up and they’re ready to lift cars with one hand.
The main character, J. D. Fenix, who you should seriously not let your children Google lest they misspell his name and see articles about an “actor,” is the son of the previous main character Marcus Phoenix. Seriously, if you’re buying your child this shooting game do not let him Google this name, you are literally going to introduce him to porn by accident (which is going to happen anyway if he’s on the internet, let’s be real here). Marcus Phoenix is a bland character, a typical, gritty white guy with a stubble as all shooting games love, but ironically what makes the story is the characters. The story is about mothers and daughters; fathers and sons, which means that there are going to be layers character development spanning not only the events of the current game, but the previous games as well. These family values and recent end of a war leaves the fight to be on a small scale, which isn’t bad, but it is unexpected considering the original trilogy spelled the end of humanity. The story seems to rely on the inevitable sequel, meaning the ending of the game feels somewhat unfinished.
The controls haven’t changed much, but it’s fairly without fault. There are new weapons and new enemy types with robots, which makes battles feel interesting, fresh, and, guess what, new. No, I’m not going to spoil it. Not with words, in any case. The graphics are very good, the whole “world is being rebuilt” vibe makes for a good design choice for a game focused on war as you fight on unfinished and previously destroyed battlegrounds.
The multiplayer is pretty great if you enjoyed the nine-hour campaign, you get to play a third-person shooter at 60 frames a second with not too much lag. It’s more of the same with better graphics and new weapons. However, leave it to Microsoft to meld their franchises, as the card-pack system from Halo is back, now allowing you to boost your abilities. This means the game will now rely slightly less on your skill and experience and more on whether or not you have the right card. You can, of course, pay DLC to earn multiple rare packs. I had no idea card games with guns was what we wanted, especially when I feel a strong, hateful emotion telling me this is not what I wanted.
Complaints aside, this game is legitimately fun. Not much has changed, but what has been changed provides much a needed feeling of new. Shoot, dodge, and cause the extinction of other intelligent species once more. Hook up your Xbox One and go kick some ass.