Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Gears of War 4 - REVIEW - Old friends to the rescue!

Gears 4 - A very respectable addition to a very impressive series.

                        When Gearbox announced the new Gears game to be released, the first emotion I had was utter joy.  There have been few series in gaming that have been so exciting, competent, and re-playable, so the idea of another blockbuster sent shivers down my spine.  Time passed - as they preview games out further every year - but the other day, I was finally able to play the game.

                        First, I have to be honest, this is NOT the best Gears in the-now 5 game series.  Starting out with a flashback (a recurring thing in Gears), you play as a simple soldier.  What?!.., Can't use Dom?  No hero, no giant Gear, just a nobody carrying very little?  Odd! In a lot of ways, this game is the carbon copy of everything Gears ever put out.  From area to area, there are convenient barriers strewn about in ways that NOBODY would ever put them.  Even the wreckage, pods and cars are placed perfectly distanced between each other.  Why the Gearbox geniuses didn't figure out other ways of ducking cover, I'll never know.  Maybe doorways, terrain, or maybe stuff not so obvious placed on the field.   Heck - even the debris falls into a nice chunk of stuff to hide behind.  
                        The new weapons aren't bad and the old reliables are pleasant to see.  The hammerburst has been massaged into a much better machine-rifle.  There is the 1/2 sniper from Judgement, the new electonic sniper, and 2 new long-range badass weapons - the buzzsaw and the dropshot.  I found both of these tough to use and not very effective but they are potent in the hands of the enemy.  This leads to another downside to the game.  Ammo.  It is free-flowing for all of the simplistic guns, but grab a longshot, and you have 4-8 bullets; Dropshot, 4;  Boomshot, 4.  And forget about an ammo crate that gives you a nickel for these baddies.  Im not saying it is the worst, but the game would be more interesting if there were more use of the better guns.  The horde levels from Judgement are a welcome sight.  I like the "build defenses", hunker down, sections of missions.  It is a very welcome change to finding another lump in the middle of a field to hide behind.Image result for gears of war new guns               All of that said, Gears plays VERY smooth, indeed.  The designers have scrapped the garbage lay-out of Judgement where it was disjointed due to individual stats on each mission.  The levels are good length and have a lot of varied enemies. 
                 There are wo negatives that the Gears reps need to keep in mind before Gears 5 ever hits the drawing board.  The first is the lousy eat-player system.  When a snatcher knocks a player or AI over, it then eats them.  After doing so, it makes its way - somewhat awkwardly - to a part of the map where it can escape.  Problem?  If you are taken, the AIs are crap at shooting the beast to get you back.  You end up dying at the end of a long battle to kill the thing, because the AI is flawed.  The other thing is, if this beastie leaves the immediate area, why aren't you allowed to go after it like going after Marcus for half the game??  This leads to the other problem.  There are some garbage check-points in the game - usually near one of the ignorant eat-die system.  Not a huge thing, but definitely an annoying glitch in such a polished game. 
                       The graphics are the best in the series, however, and things such as cut-scenes, mouth movements, and weather conditions are fantastic.  There has been a lot of blood, sweat and tears (mostly blood) put into the creation of this game, and it shows.  The multiplayer is as crisp and chiseled as all of the previous versions, but I am not a multiplayer fan, so I will leave that for someone else to praise or debunk further.  
                       In the end, Gears 4 gives exactly what players have come to expect for a Gears game.  There is a lot of shooting, assassinations, comedy relief, and a few surprises here and there.  It is a LONG campaign and worth the price of admission.  The end of the game stops things abruptly and could be counted with one of the worst in gaming but it definitively announces Gears 5 before the credits even role!

GOOD :: Storyline, New Weapons, New Monsters, Graphics, Voice-overs

LOUZY  ::  Ending, AI intelligence, Cookie-cutter cover spots, Lack of power ammo


Links :

Game Informer -->   http://www.gameinformer.com/games/gears_of_war_4/b/xboxone/archive/2016/10/06/a-return-to-form.aspx

Nilla gamer -->  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7hcgVCNv6I

XBOX -->  http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/gears-of-war-4