Since its first release, Gears of War seemed a worthy exponent of good game design. The fourth installment has every right to take that 4 in title at least in terms of mechanical, because the plot seemed to us honeyed for a title whose main weapon is a machine gun that has an electric saw from 2 to enemies. The charm of Gears arises precisely the right mix of theme and game systems. On paper, perhaps the chainsaw only be a “kill instantly who you have in front if you do not get hurt,” but is a brutal contribution to the atmosphere that delighted a generation of players on the Xbox 360. The Xbox stakes are high, but after spending a good time with Gears of War 4 can say it is a full, meaty and visceral package. We could divide the experience into 3 main pillars: campaign, multiplayer and Horde 3.0. I will start with the campaign.
When Cliffy and his team began developing the first Gears of War, most of his attention turned in the campaign. Those were different times: the multiplayer console was a child that was welcome, but not demanded. If your game had an epic adventure, you guaranteed good reception both critics and players. Today that is not enough, but it does not mean that the campaign of Gears of War 4 lacks the characteristic charm of the franchise.
In terms of level design, rhythm and showmanship leaves us satisfied, but the quality of the script sometimes hurts its atmosphere. For example, it is no surprise that it is often necessary to generate conflict in the narrative to justify levels in video games. You know, blew up the bridge and you have to go around, the elevator does not work so the current must be restored, you must gather ingredients to cure your best friend, and so on. We have nothing against this resource provided they do not leave the player feeling a detour after another without significant progress. In Gears of War 4 we had this impression in at least 2 chapters. It is not serious and the tempo is excellent, but remains a bit of narrative to the actions of the characters transcendence.
But let most importantly control. Do not expect a radical change as Judgement, but rather something similar to fine adjustments and extra moves that implemented in Gears of War 3 compared with the second installment of the franchise. Control is fluid, clean and free of imperfections. Veterans will not detect any change at first, but as they advance the plot will notice improvements that contribute to a smooth experience without frustrations. Especially in the higher difficulties, you will appreciate the ability to jump instantly coverage by pressing B or can kick an enemy by doing so. Novices may find confusing scheme at first, but they should think of the game as a real title in the third person shoot without aiming it is vital in some situations and, although coverage is a vertebral element of combat system, in clashes melee well worth having measured the extent and dispersion of shot at close range.
Another important aspect in the campaign are the enemies. At some point, you fight against robots and against the swarm. Without going into details, just tell the robots, while presenting the player a relatively new dynamic for the franchise, are not close to the fineness of the fight against the swarm. In fact, the beginning might feel a bit ponderous because these enemies do not challenge the player to play new roles in combat. To understand this point, we’ll talk about the different types of enemies that uses Gears of War to sustain the experience. First we have the clones, which move and shoot like you. It is the most common type of enemy drones and robots will find with these characteristics. Then we have skirmishers: small and fast enemies that force you out of coverage, such as Trackers. Finally, there are the deadly threats that are impossible to fight melee and have such powerful attacks that force you to take cover, as the Boomers. In previous roles, Gears 4 adds threats that combine several functions in one and grisly be. There are enemies, for example, that force you into coverage, only to harass and force you to run away to find another. Also you face heavy soldiers capable of enhancing the damage and the resistance of those who surround them. This transforms the dynamics of combat by adding priority objectives. In certain situations, you might want to eliminate the sniper first, but you’ll be forced to deal with his harassment while you finish with these enhancers enemies.
When running to protect you from enemy fire, you should consider where you do and develop an escape route at the time if you make a mistake. We thought it was great that in some situations only shooting high-caliber weapons were able to knock down some walls or boulders. This changes the dynamics of the same scenario as the kind of enemies you face and is a logical addition. As for the climate, can be your ally or your worst enemy if it blows in your favor, throw a Granada will be more effective, but good luck in not fly apart if the opposite happens. This will encourage you to look relocating in a more advantageous site level. At other times, you can shoot stage elements to trigger a reaction that eliminates whole groups of enemies, if you calculate well. The wind can also affect your movement and the shells of some weapons.
We also noticed, at least Madness difficulty that certain enemies run aggressively toward you to stick one Granada or blow you to pieces with the Gnasher. The level design is still as good as ever: there are options flanking, no point offers total protection and flow of movement around the stage is fantastic thanks to the arrangement of hedges. The result is a dynamic experience that is rarely the best idea is to hunker down in one place for the duration of combat. The heads also found them ingenious, well designed and extremely difficult.
Now for the bad. First, we would to artificial intelligence. It does not happen often, but it’s frustrating to be about to pass a difficult section to fail because a fellow went and died stupidly. In some scenarios it is also annoying reduced die because coverage was already occupied. Cooperative there is not much problem because you can communicate with the other person, but the allies who control the computer are simply stupid and cumbersome. At low difficulty there is not much problem, but in Madness, where you die easily, is the difference between succeeding and failing without guilt.
Another point against certain sections are clearly designed to end them cooperatively. Again, if you play on Normal down you will not have many problems, but its frustrating trying to end the campaign on Insane yourself. We recall with special grudge a chapter of the fourth act that took us awake until 5 in the morning because it is essential someone to cover your back and need not be relived every 10 seconds. We are not complaining about the difficulty of the title, which seems acceptable, but the times when you lose unfairly because of poor artificial intelligence of your allies.
Finally, there are the auto save points. We like that are distributed so that there are long sequences of combat, so the difficulty is greater and you have to play to survive until the end of the fight and not just until you kill a few enemies. However, there are some that leave you on purpose in uncomfortable situations. On one occasion, whenever we died cubbyhole just off enemies. In Madness that means if you do not react immediately die instantly. He adds that sometimes your allies hinder you to escape and the result is an extremely frustrating section that whenever you die you cross your fingers to not die because of something beyond your control. There are also times when the save point is just before climbing stairs or a small box. The result is that, if you die, you must rerun those actions and hear the same thing over and over again. Maybe it’s an extra punishment for die game, but the pattern is repeated several times. However, we note that these errors are less noticeable at low difficulty. Those who enjoy the title in Madness, should consider that the game is not only difficult, but it can be frustrating if you play alone because of artificial intelligence, save points and are certain situations where clearly a fellow flesh is necessary for survive.
Horde mode is, in our opinion, one of the definitive cooperative experiences of contemporary gaming. In Gears of War 4 it was supplemented with elements of strategy, customization and defense structures. You can play with up to 5 friends to face 50 waves of enemies whose resistance and increase progressively damage. Every 10 waves also will fight against bosses. The composition of the enemy, because if that were not enough, it will become increasingly difficult to combat. You can start with a few drones, but kill robots mixed with the strongest soldiers swarm shield. Reach the end in madness remains a feat that few will tell.
During each wave, you’ll also complete side objectives that grant a bonus of essential resources on higher difficulties. Horde 3.0 will be playable in all existing and future title multiplayer maps. To this we must add the various classes of characters that help clarify and define the roles of each team member. Although really the main difference between them are their skills and start your build staff each (there are 13 different skills and can equip up to 5), since all can use all weapons. In addition, all characters are interchangeable with any class. Zombie Dom can be whatever you want. To this he adds that you can level up classes and abilities.
And what lessons are there? Soldier, explorer, heavy, sniper and engineer. The soldier is responsible for producing damage begins with grenades, the Lancer, one Gnasher and a gun. If you enjoy the main mechanics of Gears of War this is the kind you should choose.
Then we have the explorers who get a double bonus if you collect Power during combat. Its function is to collect resources and be the first line of combat. They start with a Gnasher, Retro Lancer and a gun. If you are one of those who love to run from one side to another firing the Gnasher in the face of one who put you in front, I just want you to know that you hate and you should play with this class.
Heavy generators are the main damage. They receive bonuses if they use turrets, explosives and heavy weapons. Retro Lancer begin with a Boom shot and Boltok gun. Its function is to control mass and sustained damage against bosses. Fun to use if you do not mind running out of ammo quickly. Given its synergy with turrets, it is important that they are in constant communication with the engineers.
Snipers are responsible for removing priority goals with his accurate shots to the head. His only bonus class is to start with a sniper rifle. Also, they get a rifle Markza Mk 1 and a gun. At the beginning of the game they are useful, but the more moving waves, your bonus class is useless. It is the kind most used and enjoyed. We think that all teams should have at least a sniper to eliminate enemies that are out of control if not extremists quickly shot in the head.
Engineers focus on constructing, improving, recharge and repair fortifications. They are the only ones that start with a repair tool, along with a Gnasher and Enforcer. They are essential elements for sustained damage equipment and cover flanks.
Besides the above, there is a system of cards or cards containing skills, aspects, emblems and experience bonus, credits and rewards. How do you buy? With credits you get playing Horde and other competitive modes. Absolutely all these elements can be obtained playing, but who want to speed things up can use real money. There are different packages, each with different types of cards, so you should make sure to purchase the one. After this, there remains the problem of what happens to all of your packages surplus repeated.
The result of all these systems surrounding the main experience, at least in the Horde 3.0 mode, is positive. Gears of War 4 adds depth to multiplayer, but the ability is still the queen of good performance. In a way, it became more complex, because now you can build builds and choose a class to be more effective on the battlefield. With the difficulty of the Horde, believe me it will be necessary to maximize all such modifications and advantages. Thus, although Horde 3.0 lost some of that arcade feel to take control and face the world, gained depth and strategy to become deeper experience. Undoubtedly, this is our favorite franchise Horde mode, but the cards also generate an uncomfortable feeling of having to spend too much time directly unlock anything you want.
The multiplayer of Gears of War 4 is the most ambitious of the entire franchise. This time the developers are well defined profiles of players: novice, social (or rather casual), competitive and eventually everything involving eSports. Not only of The Coalition, but all Microsoft commitment to build an infrastructure of electronic sports franchises.
The divisions of the free game Gears 4 resemble that of other competitive titles: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Onyx and Diamond. The Coalition added options to play on dedicated servers, LAN, split screen and even cross play for all private and cooperative modes pvp. The idea is to offer something for every player profile. We will briefly discuss each of the game modes.
The multiplayer of Gears of War 4 is the most ambitious of all franchise
First we Dodgeball, which is basically elimination by rotating teams that die back to not appear in the game unless someone on your team eliminate an enemy. The result is intense games in which one person can be the condemnation or the salvation of an entire team. In practice, we found that it is rare that a team is losing recovers, although good coordination can save games almost lost. It is very exciting to be on the verge of defeat or victory.
Running gun you must prove your proficiency arsenal of Gears of War 4, because to win, your team will need to get 3 assassinations with 13 weapons available. You start with the Boomshot and rotation ends Boltok. Every time your team get killing 3 opponents, weapons of all its members change. It’s not the most competitive mode and is not intended to be. In fact, for beginners it is a great way to meet all weapons and practice with them. In addition, this final gunfight Boltok is a delight headshots Unlisted and executions half turn.
Climbing is the gameplay thought about the competitive scene. Has elements as a time of recurrence increases each round, strategy placing weapons by the losing team, a new system for allocating the winner of a session (that is to win first seven games) and even a part time every 6 rounds. This embodiment is a modified King of the hill where you can win a game by getting 210 points or control while the 3 rings that appear on the map. It is designed to produce moments of tension not only in fighting, but in the fierce struggle for goals. It is still early to judge whether it will succeed or not in the competitive scene, but for mortals looking to have a good time may be difficult to commit to play up to 13 games to determine the winner between 2 teams. Yes, it is very funny and tempers flare after a resounding victory or a humiliating defeat. The details of the losing team choose the placement of a weapon for the next round is a subtle and elegant balance.
In addition, we have traditional ways of playing the game: Warzone, Duel Team, King of the Hill, Guardian and Enforcement. If before making fools of themselves in a real game you want to practice, you have option to play cooperatively against bots, which can be configured with different controlled personalities.
Finally, we have the controversial map rotation system that has concentrated hatred of some players. The idea is that at the launch of Gears of War 4 has 10 maps available. Each month, The Coalition will launch new maps that will be a mix between totally different scenarios and remastered classic. All these subsequent maps will be free to the public game. However, the old maps will rotation play lists public as new are introduced. The idea behind this system is to maintain the fresh competitive scene, although I think eSports and the need for a meta – game set and I see a potential conflict. The idea is that you can buy individual maps to play them in private games but out of rotation. It is only necessary that the host of the game has the map for others to enjoy. Additionally, those who get the season pass will have access to 24 additional maps The Coalition plans to release during the post-launch Gears 4. We worry a bit this decision, because the competitive scene is likely to favor some maps on others for tournaments and players who fall in love with a scenario should buy and can only enjoy it in private games, which are not always easy to organize. The metagame of Gears 4 also will be unstable due to the constant rotation of maps. Maybe it’s too early to condemn this decision, but our first impression is not favorable. Outside this detail, the multiplayer is a safe bet that fans will love the franchise.
We can conclude that Gears of War 4 is a great package of content and beyond the amount, boasts high quality. We are surprised by the ability of The Coalition to substantially renew each game mode of this release. While the campaign has its ups and downs and negative points, the reality is that the experience itself feels solid and polished. A must for all fans and a testament to the value of this series for the owners of an Xbox One game and now PC gaming.