Gears Of War 4
Developer The Coalition Publisher Microsoft Studios Format PC, Xbox One Release October 11
Gears Of War 4’ s E3 demo is in the grip of an enormous storm. Our sturdy space marines are unmoved – a side benefit to being blessed with the broadest shoulders in the galaxy. Enemies are flung offscreen. An abandoned aircraft slams into a group of foes, killing them instantly, while JD Fenix and his AI comrades look on impassively. At one point they cross a chasm on a narrow pipe, and despite the hurricane the trio roadie-run across without incident.
Still, it looks the part, and even more so in a co-op session showcasing the game’s crossplatform multiplayer: one player is on Xbox One, the other on PC in 4K. It also shows us more of the new enemy faction, the Swarm, whose larval pods can be shot down to provide cover as you advance. The Swarm invite unwelcome comparisons with Halo’s Flood, but evolve into more powerful forms as the game progresses, and there’s a certain visceral thrill to dispatching the onrushing hordes with the new saw-blade-flinging Buzzkill weapon.
Sadly, like so many of Gears 4’ s additions, it feels like a gimmick whose appeal will fade quickly. The appearance of an aged, bearded Marcus Fenix may draw cheers, but it merely reinforces the sense of a game going through the motions, stuck in its old ways, unmoved by the storm raging around it.