Gears Of War 4 acts as a return to form following the disappointment of Judgement in 2013, although the game offers few new features and instead focuses on expanding the series’ story and lore. Following the formula of its predecessors, Gears Of War 4 sees the return of the series’ defining cover and combat system alongside the same weapons and familiar enemy types, alongside a small number of new ones that add a new twist to combat. Due to this, the game is a welcomed return for fans of the series as well as possible newcomers, but offers little innovation for those looking for a new gameplay formula.
As players begin Gears Of War 4 they are swiftly thrust into the game’s action, although their enemies are not the swarm, or the defeated locust forces, but are rather human enemies as the player fights their way through a human battleground set two years before emergence day. This introduction offers players an insight into the game’s interesting and rich lore as well as allowing new players to obtain a larger understanding of the game’s storyline. Following their brief encounter with their human enemies, players are then placed in the midst of emergence day as they battle invading locust forces alongside their fellow COG soldiers. This introduction not only allows players to gain an insight into the game’s past, but also sets up the intense narrative that continues throughout the game surrounding a new cast of characters.
Throughout the story, the game’s new cast are developed in several ways ranging from minor conversations to life changing events, allowing the player to create a connection with each individual character. In addition to this, the game sees the return of some of the series’ original characters including Marcus Fenix, JD’s father, who plays a key role in the game’s early missions.
In addition to interesting characters, Gears Of War 4 sees the debut of several new enemy types, ranging from the swiftly moving Swarm, to advanced COG robots. This enemy variety consistently forces players to adopt new tactics depending on their attacker. However, wave based attacks throughout the game often grow tedious despite this variety, as little variety is displayed in these events as the player is forced to fight wave upon wave of minor enemies. However the game redeems itself with its several impressive set pieces, ranging from the old Fenix house to the final day of the locust war at the early stages of the game allowing players to battle their way through a range if intense battles against several different enemies.
Unfortunately Gears Of War 4 possesses little innovation in regards to gameplay, but rather recycles gameplay mechanics from previous titles in the series, as players are constantly taking cover behind walls, timing reloads and taking part in wave missions in which the player is pitted against several waves of enemies, as they set up defenses and mounted weapons. However, the gameplay aspects of the title are overshadowed by the game’s new cast, enemies and locations making a minor inconvenience to the player whether they are a returning fan, or a new comer to the series.
In addition to this, the game advises caution throughout several locations as players are confronted by several pods placed throughout the location that they are able to pop alerting multiple minor enemies which proceed to swarm the player often overwhelming them. In addition to this, the Swarm possesses a wide array of enemy variety ranging from small foot soldiers to large four-legged pouncers that overwhelm the player with sheer power rather than numbers. In addition to wide enemy variety, Gears Of War 4 features several interesting locations ranging from a mechanically operated COG settlement, to ancient village consumed by the swarm. Alongside these new locations, Gears Of War 4 sees the debut of destructible objects ranging from explosive barrels to deployable cover giving the player an advantage over their large number of enemies.
Gears Of War 4 also sees the return of Horde mode in the form of 3.0 which builds upon the formula of its predecessors as well as seeing the return of several features. Though horde 3.0 has very few aesthetic changes in comparison to previous titles, it differs drastically in the preparation for each wave of relentless swarm enemies as players are now able to raise structures in any location thanks to the fabricator, taking elements from the campaigns several wave style battles. In addition to this new feature, players are now able to select 1 of 5 classes before beginning a match, heavy, scout, engineer, sniper, and soldier, adding an extra layer to the game mode as players are more likely to cooperate depending on their class and therefore abilities making Horde a welcome return in Gears Of War 4.
In conclusion, Gears Of War 4 builds upon the formula that made the original trilogy a thrilling adventure, whilst also utilizing returning features such as the cover and revival systems, making the game a great introduction to the series, as well as welcoming returning players earning it a 9/10.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.