I’m all caught up in my Gears of War playthroughs. I can’t play through parts 2, 3, and Judgement. Well… I don’t want to play Judgement, but I did play part 2 back in the day. Anyways, here’s what I think of Gears of War 4!
My God… this game plays smooth as hell. That’s literally the first thought that popped into my head when I thought back on my experience playing this game. It makes all of the former Gears of War game feel slow and clunky in comparison and those games play incredibly well. Gears of War 4 is the beginning of a new era of Gears of War games. You play as new protagonist against new, and old, enemies through an 6-8 hour campaign. Everything in this game just works. The controls, animations, combat, etc is incredibly smooth and reactive.
Gears of War has never played better than it does here. Popping up from cover to deliver a quick headshot to a sniper waiting in the background is easy. The mouse and keyboard controls are amazing. It’s not a simulated controller (cough… Monster Hunter World) and I could argue that this is the way this series was meant to be played. Gears of War 5 can’t get here fast enough.
Veteran Gears players should know what to expect here. This is a Gears game and it plays like one. This is a good example of don’t fix what ain’t broke. It just feels better than any of the games that came before it.
The voice acting, soundtrack, and environmental effects are all top notch here. The voice actors did a good job. Even though I didn’t like the three new protagonist that were introduced in this game I still enjoyed listening to them. They did a great job. John Dimaggio did an excellent job at voicing Marcus Fenix. He sounded like an angry grandpa in this game (let’s face it… he’s old enough to be one now) and I loved every line he delivered. The soundtrack, as usual, is excellent. You’ve got your ramped up music for combat and your more somber music for exploration. I do wish this game focused more on the horror elements like Gears 1 did. Gears 1 had a great mix of horror and action and is currently the only game in the series that had that tone. What’s here is still excellent though.
Horde Mode is absolutely incredible. Many games have tried to mimic this mode and none of them do it better. Surviving with up to four friends is a real experience and I can see myself dumping some serious hours into this game mode. I didn’t care for any of the other modes. I’m not a big pvp guy anymore and would much rather play cooperatively than competitively. The customization unlockables are a nice touch. I like to feel like I’m progressing by unlocking new stuff, but none of it is groundbreaking. They’re just skins for your weapons or characters to use. You can unlock some perks that give you an edge in battle, but I doubt I’ll play long enough to make use of them. Horde Mode is totally worth playing though. Even if it’s just for 20 hours.
Gears of War 4 is a beautiful game. It looks really good. So why is this in the good section then? Because I use this section for more than just graphics. I also grade the performance and quality of the PC port and one out of the three are lacking here. There’s a vast amount graphical options to choose from. More than 30 of them! You can tweak this game anyway you like and that’s always appreciated. I ran this game with every option on ultra except motion blur. I hate motion blur and I turn it off in every game I play. With everything toggled to ultra I never dipped below 60 fps during the active parts of gameplay. During cinematic cutscenes is a different story. The game would slow to a crawl and run below 10 fps. It happened every time a cutscene popped up. It would run like shit for a few seconds, freeze, and then work normal and that was enough for me to drop this down a section. It’s not as bad as Gears of War Ultimate Edition, but it’s still bad.
I enjoyed the story, but didn’t love it. It’s actually the weakest part of the game for me and that’s a shame since Gears of War usually tells a pretty good one in my opinion. The story here isn’t horrible. It definitely had it’s moments, but it’s few and far between. It was awesome seeing Marcus and guys again, but I never got close to any of the new character cast. It’s like a group of high schoolers talking back and forth about how cool their adventure is. None of the cast every actually said the adventure they were on was cool, but they cracked way too many jokes for me.
There was no character growth or moments between any of the new protagonists. There was one or two of them. I liked the moment JD and Kait. I wish we would have had more of that. Make me care about Kait and why she wants to rescue her mother. I never did. The most enjoyable moments for me all had Marcus in them. I really hope Gears 5 does something with Kait since she’s the new protagonist now.
It’s More The Same:
If there was ever a time for Gears of War to evolve as a series this was it. This game is just more of the same. You get no freedom and is just carried by cutscenes to the next location. You’re always surrounded by cover and you know exactly when a firefight will happen. I would have loved for this game to be more open and take some chances. Let us customize our character or at the very least have the option to explore some kind of hub inbetween missions. What’s here is good, but it’s just more of the same.
Gears of War 4 is decent on PC, but it does have some pretty nasty bugs. The game would freeze during every cinematic cutscene for a few seconds and some times the voices would play faster than the people speaking their lines. I would listen to the entire conversation and watch as the actors spoke after everything was said. It was weird and very annoying.
Gears of War 4 is a great game. I really enjoyed it. Even though the campaign was a bit of letdown I really enjoyed my time with Horde Mode and I can't wait to see where the series goes from here. This game played it too safe and introduced three mediocre protagonists that never really grew on me as I played. One thing this game did very right was combat. It's absolutely incredible and I can't wait to see what changes Gears 5 brings to this longrunning series.