Gears of War 4
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, but with more slime, writes
A lot has changed with shooters since Gears of War first hit the scene. So the big question is: how does developer The Coalition evolve the series and keep Gears of War 4 relevant without losing its personality? Easy. By not doing too much of anything.
“At The Coalition we talked about doing it right before we do it different,” says Matt Searcy, Lead Campaign Designer. “We went 25 years after the end of Gears 3 in order to give ourselves space and have new characters, new settings, a new conflict and a whole new enemy.”
After some lengthy hands-on time with Gears 4, I can assure you Matt is right. This is the Gears you know right down to your chainsaw-crossmachine-gun Lancer and your trusty Gnasher shotgun.
“But that doesn’t mean we didn’t do anything new inside the game,” says Matt. “We have a lot we focused on, but [we focused] especially [on] the story. We went 25 years after the end of Gears 3 in order to give ourselves space and have new characters, new settings, a new conflict and a whole new enemy.”
The story takes place over the course of one night as three soldiers, including JD Fenix, son of Marcus Fenix, go in search of their missing friend. In my short time with this band of misfits I actually found them pretty likeable and believable, more than the Marcus and his pals. There’s still a hint of melodrama but they’re also more human.
“We tried to take back a little bit of that intimacy from [the first Gears of War],” says Matt. “It’s a little bit different to the Gears of the past where you were dropped into the middle of a war … It’s more about the journey of these three characters, and a few other characters as well.”
Along the way you’ll be tearing through your new enemy, the Swarm, who stepped up after the Lambent and Locust were wiped out at the end of Gears 3. Yet despite being a new breed of baddies, there are a few familiar classes within their ranks. A Hammerburst-wielding soldier, a grenadier, a sniper; it’s the usual suspects. There’s even new Wretchlike enemies called Juvies.
One all-new enemy I encountered was the Pouncer. Think of it as an Alien-like Xenomorph on steroids. Leaping around the battlefield, these nimble bastards require you to stick close together, keep moving, and take them down one blast at a time.
There’s something reassuring about how Gears of War 4 fits into the current shooter landscape. It’s the same, but different. Thankfully, The Coalition hasn’t added jet packs or an open-world design. They’ve stayed true to the series roots, and the game is better for it. It may feel anachronistic, but it also feels genuine. It's an unashamed gore-filled, cover-based shooter that won’t win any new fans, but will certainly please existing ones.
IT’S A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT TO THE GEARS OF THE PAST WHERE YOU WERE DROPPED INTO THE MIDDLE OF WAR. IT'S MORE ABOUT THE CHARACTERS