Monday, October 10, 2016

Gears of War 4: Review

Hard to write a new review when busy with work. Nonetheless I'll be reviewing this game and Forza Horizon 3 at a later time. For now here's what i thought about Gears 4 after completing it within 3 days (a few hours a day so i think that adds up to about 10-15 hours of campaign play and a few hours of versus mode play).

I'm reviewing it without having played Horde yet. Yep, it's hard to find time to play games when you got a job and two kids!

Here we go:

For the campaign the one thing that stood out for me was the AI. I was playing the game at HARDCORE difficulty, and the AI was doing some interesting tactics where they'll rush at you, they'll grab you from cover if you're nearby, they'll flush you out with grenades and more. Interestingly enough the AI of your squadmates is also pretty good and they'll do their best to help you when you're down.

There was one act in the game with a major boss fight where I took a few tries to beat the level. It's because the boss itself had a lot of lackeys giving you a hard time and it has this one enemy type which is extremely hard to kill. I'm talking Destiny-boss type of enemy where it has tons of HP and you have to shoot at it for quite a while. Actually I recall three types of enemies in the game that are like this. One might argue this is 'bullet spongy-ness' and some people don't like that. But for the type of game that Gears is, I think it completely fits. Gears is essentially "Contra" in the modern age, and you're shooting at things for a long time before you take them down. For some reason it works in the context of the levels where you encounter these types of enemies.

That said, this AI thing is the one thing I couldn't stop thinking about. Yes a lot of reviews have said the graphics are amazing and that's true. For me it was the remarkable AI which made some encounters (in HARDCORE difficulty) really challenging, but in a fun way.

The new characters are alright. They do the banter so it feels like Gears and it kind of feels like the Avengers where they're all quipping every so often. It's good, I don't dislike it, and it's just the thing that makes Gears, Gears. If they made a super serious Gears of War game it just wouldn't work. They just have to always emphasize the camaraderie between the characters and I think this game does a great job.

Having the stodgy old vet by your side is really good, too. Of course Marcus is more than just a vet, though - he's the savior of the world from the last four games so I'd say he's really important. There's one funny bit where.... SPOILER

I can't believe Marcus Fenix is still a Sergeant! After all that work he put into saving the world from the Locust, you'd think he'd have ranked up several places. Or maybe I just don't understand how the military works. But yeah, he deserves more after what he's done in the previous games.


The new enemy types are alright. The "Juvie" unfortunately is exactly the Wretch from before. The Drones are your standard enemy soldiers...the Pouncer is a really good enemy design, because they jump from cover to cover and you just have to keep running from them. The Snatcher is also really good design, too, where it can take one of your teammates so you have to constantly watch out for it so you don't lose the game (i've had this happen a couple of times because it will escape from you after it kidnaps your teammate). The Carrier is really good, it has this awesome attack where it shoots out these 'missiles' from its chest, just fantastic work on that one. Overall I see these feel like preliminary 'new' enemy types, and most likely it will be Gears of War 5 which will really push the kind of creativity with monster design that you expect from the series.

The 'Deebees' (the robots), I wasn't originally excited to fight these since I originally thought they didn't fit. But later on when actually playing the game, i realized, these are pretty good enemy types as well. They're a bit more suicidal than your usual Swarm Drone. The standout ones are the Guardian which resembles one of the flying enemies in Halo (the healing unit), and the larger DeeBee carrying either the trishot or the overkill gun.

Speaking of weapons, the overkill gun is really strong. I got to play just a little multiplayer but I can imagine having that weapon in multiplayer is going to make anyone really overpowered. It just has a few shots, though, so it runs out fast.

I have a lot more to say about Gears of War 4....with the multiplayer, i have an average connection here in the Philippines and my upload speed is below 1mbps. But the multiplayer works fine and smooth, and the matchmaking was pretty quick. It goes at 60 fps in versus multiplayer so it really feels crazy fast. I enjoyed the little time I had with it, though honestly it's likely better to review it after more hours of play.

Overall, is Gears 4 a worthy sequel? I'd say yes. It feels like a good part of the Gears family of games and it shows that the series is in good hands now.


I think CliffyB's latest game, "Lawbreakers", sorry man, i think it's going to flop. And The Coalition will probably hire him for a future Gears sequel. Mark my words!

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