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.

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