After narrowly escaping an attack on their village, JD Fenix and his friends, Kait and Del, must rescue the ones they love and discover the source of a monstrous new enemy.
Please note this review is based on the single player campaign as the multiplayer servers are empty until launch. Once the multiplayer servers are full and playable, this will be added to the review at a later date with Horde 3.0
I am going to start off this review by saying that I have never actually played any of the Gears stories, however, before starting I did do my research on the stories and thanks to Martin and his article ,this has helped me greatly with getting to know the basis of how we get to where we are now in the story and whole Gears of War world.
Gears of War 4 brings a new saga to the franchise, playing as JD Fenix, the son of Marcus Fenix, you start off on a salvage mission, to get a fabricator to help rebuild a village, this soon turns into something a lot bigger!
With twists and turns along the way, the narrative will grab you and keep a hold of you right the way through. I have to admit as well that I love it when games do this, they grab you right from the off with the story, you’re always wanting more and find yourself wanting to keep going back and playing until you have finished it. Then when the ending comes, you have that feeling in the pit of your stomach. It’s over. The story is done, but you have that feeling that you’re not completely satisfied, you want more, but know there is nothing new in the story to have.
This was my feeling at the final scene in the game, there was a bitter sweetness about it. Yes, I know that I can play through again and look for the collectables that I didn’t get first time round, but I know that I’m not going learn anything new about the story. This is where the brilliance from the story telling comes into play, it leaves you wanting more, knowing very well that you can’t have any.
When you start the game and go through the Prologue, you get a homage to the previous games, which I actually liked, it was a very brief form of an overview for the previous games, which was very good for those like me who have never played the previous games.
The visuals for the game are simply stunning, the finest of fine details have gone into everything within the worlds which are very nicely designed as well. The cinematics for the game are some of, if not the best, I have ever seen in a game. The amount of detail that has gone into each of the character models is unbelievable, and I have to say that again, it is some of the best work I have seen in a game to date. The game as a whole is simply stunning and it has been an absolute pleasure to play.
Following on from the graphical elements in the game, the mechanical side of it was just as impressive, the game-play was smooth, I didn’t encounter any frame rate drops and the actions were impressive, especially going from cover to cover, or into and out of cover. The players movements were simply spot on as well, I’ve noticed in a lot of games with AI characters that they may drift off elsewhere or get stuck on objects as they are running through the worlds, but there was nothing like that in this. The characters stayed with you when they were meant to, I didn’t find anyone getting in my way, and everyone would move from cover to cover as to not over crowd a certain area.
Another thing I loved in this was the Windflares, and the effects that they had on the game, especially when it came to things such as throwing grenades. Half the time I would end up seeing these come straight back to me… Which had some hilarious consequences, but Windflares were also good for using the environment to your advantage. Shooting certain items would see them come loose and if your enemy was in the way, then they would get taken out and go flying, which again was quite funny to see. Especially when they were smashed into pieces and all the bits would go flying. Brilliant!
I love as well the different destructible items that are in the worlds, which include a lot of cover areas too so there is a lot of movement that has to be done when facing enemies. I like this as it keeps you on your toes, you don’t feel like you’re going in each area and hiding in one spot and just shooting, you get the sense that you’re working for the kills and to get to each area. Another thing that I loved within the game was the dynamic battles that you have, where things are constantly changing and evolving during the battle, such as chains slamming and moving about, so cover is constantly changing, and it was good to see the AI react to this very well and react quickly too, they didn’t just stand around looking at you for a few seconds, as the area changed, they did as well running for other cover. Excellent work.
Another thing I liked about some of the battles that you have is the use of the Fabricator, it felt a bit limited in places, however the items you use throughout the game do rank up and get better the further into the game you get. You have a selection from things such as turrets to barricades to try and stop the swarm coming at you.
When you start the game, its all about the Cog trying to arrest you and the DeeBees coming after you, however this does escalate into something much bigger and you end up chasing the swarm after a raid on Kait’s village by unknown entities.
There are plenty of weapons to choose from within the game from SMGs, Sniper Rifles, Assault Rifles, Pistols etc. My favourite gun was the Lancer, I loved that chainsaw and slicing open fools who attacked me. I would always try and get ammo at every possible opportunity because I didn’t like the thought of having to pick another gun. I did lose my Lancer at one point, and I it just wasn’t the same with the Hammerburst or Enforcer SMGs, damage didn’t seem to be as effective. But not to panic, the Lancer was returned to me…. After picking it off a dead body…. ha!
The game is built up of 5 Acts each with varying amount of chapters ranging from 4 to 6 in each of them. They are all of a decent length and provide enough sustenance to keep you going. I managed to finish the story in just over 6 hours, so it was a little shorter than I thought it was going be, but I wasn’t purposefully looking for other things such as collectables. If I was to scour each area for the Collectables it would have taken me a lot longer to finish the game, but I wanted to finish the story before writing this review. The story can be played on your own or you can team up and play with a friend. I didn’t get to test the co-op side of things out, so I’m not sure how that really feels to play and whether it makes any difference having someone there with you.
The campaign was absolutely phenomenal and I loved the story as well as how the game was designed and the detail that has gone into it, and it has given me a twitch to go and get the ultimate edition and play through the first 3 games to get an overall view.
Based on what I have played so far though, Gears of War 4 gets a 10.