Gears of War 4 Review
Gears of War 4 Cover Art
System: Xbox One, PC
Dev: The Coalition
Pub: Microsoft Studios
Release: October 11, 2016
Players: 1-10 Players and Online Multiplayer
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language

I was impressed with the visuals right from the menu screen. With massive head profiles of JD, an aged Marcus, Kait, and other characters, the physical details such as battle wounds and imperfections, as well as subtle facial expressions, really gave the characters... well, character. I also paused here and there to scan the well thought-out designs of both the modern and historical architecture of the fictional world of Sera. Most of the dedicated cinematics and quick time event scenes are rife with explosions and plenty of action, yet still maintain a smooth framerate. Some of the in-game cutscenes, however, offer a distinct graphical counter, with character models noticeably poorer in quality. Also, something just wasn't pouring properly with many of the liquid effects. Things like blood spewing from odd places and sawing through a wall of "snot" just aren't given much treatment in the way of lighting and shaders, and it shows.

Gears of War 4 Screenshot

You likely won't remember any of the music score, and maybe even question outside of the game whether there was much music at all. The Coalition apparently opted for subtlety with the orchestration, but it works. With only ambient noises and the occasional distant reverberation from an approaching enemy, there is a constant unease as you navigate through claustrophobic hallways and around shadowy corners. Every door that gets kicked open offers the chance of a lunging surprise from a snarling beast, sure to make you keep your Lancer revved up. When your squad is scattered around a room unloading rounds, if you can slice through the cacophony of noises you'll likely be impressed with how well the audio team nailed the distance and direction of each individual sound coming through your stereo or surround speakers.

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Gears of War is a tone-setting franchise for Microsoft, and clearly one they would like to enjoy continued success with as the paragon of third-person cover shooters. Gears of War 4 provides an introduction to a team and a new threat that will hopefully see more rising action in the story as the sequels come. It does, however, stay true to the gameplay mechanics of its predecessors, and provides countless hours of rewarding multiplayer options. The Gears faithful should rejoice, as a new saga is just getting lubricated.

By
Sean Engemann
Senior Contributing Writer
Date: October 11, 2016

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.0
Graphics
There are some remarkable visual moments and some stunning backdrops, but then there are some odd liquid effects and redundant environments as well.
4.4
Control
Snappy reloads and sticky cover give Gears 4 an expected thumbs up. The camera gets a little frenetic, though, when your personal space is invaded in melee.
4.6
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The score is subdued but atmospheric, the voice acting spot on and full of the appropriate personalities, and the effects, well, you'll be tempted to keep the Lancer revved all the time.
4.0
Play Value
The campaign feels like a lengthy prologue to the new series rather than a full story, but the multiplayer modes will keep you coming back until Gears 5 is released.
4.2
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • The first chapter of an all-new “Gears” saga thrusts players into an epic and perilous journey through the wilds of Sera.
  • Rev up your Lancer and fight your way through the Campaign with a friend over Xbox Live or via local split screen co-op. Cross Play lets Xbox One and Windows 10 gamers play together in cooperative modes like Campaign, Horde and Co-Op Versus.
  • Pummel your enemies from cover with new close-cover combat moves like yank, vault kick and a bloody new combat-knife execution. Make use of dangerous new weapons, like the Buzzkill and Dropshot, to shoot around and over cover, raining destruction from all angles.
  • Whether you enjoy powering through the co-op Campaign, fending for survival in Horde mode or testing your skills in frenetic Versus Multiplayer matches running in 60 FPS on dedicated servers, “Gears of War 4” is the ultimate game to play with friends.

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