The Gears of War games are one of those series that nailed their gameplay on the first go around. It was unique, fun, and intense right from the get go, and hasn’t needed to evolve that much over the years. Gears of War 4, like Sony’s Uncharted 4, chooses to tweak, rather than overhaul its multiplayer mode.
If you happened to pick up last year’s Gears of War Ultimate Edition, you’re going to feel right at home with how Gears of War 4 looks, and plays. By that, we mean it’s crisper than a crunchy fall leaf 60 FPS gameplay. The Ultimate Edition was the game that finally turned me into a 60 FPS zealot. It made a huge difference on shooters such as Halo 5, and I’m happy to see it return again in Gears of War 4. If you were around back in its 360 days, how awesome Gears looks now should be a feast for your eyes. It personally took me back to the days of the original Gears of War game, the game you showed to your family and friends if you wanted to prove how powerful the 360 was.
As far as the actual combat itself goes, again, if you’ve played a Gears of War multiplayer game before, you know what to expect already. The classic controls and features such as roadie runs, active reloads, scattered power weapons throughout the map are all just the way you remember. At our PAX East 2016 demo, we played Team Deathmatch, but there are new modes on the way. One of which is the much more interesting-sounding Dodgeball, a mode that allows down players to return after a teammate gets a kill; it sounds like a neat marriage of the classic, more strategic one-life modes like Execution, and the more casual game types that one you can play in the beta.
Anyhoo, also on display at the PAX East 2016 demo was a new weapon called the Dropshot, which killed me many times before I even knew what hit me. It’s a essentially a souped-up version of Gears of War 3’s cover-busting weapon the Digger Launcher, but instead of burrowing under the ground, it floats across the map and drops a drill right into the opponent’s skull. Brutal, yo.
Whether you played the Ultimate Edition, Gears of War 3, or even further back, your muscle memory will kick right in Gears of War 4, and you shouldn’t have any trouble readjusting and enjoying yourself. At the same time though, if you aren’t a fan of that style, Gears 4 doesn’t do anything worth noting that will make you a convert. The number of people that will be upset by that news is probably very small, though. Gears of War is a known commodity at this point, with dedicated fans. Expecting The Coalition/Splash Damage to dramatically shake things up would probably be unrealistic.
With that all said, deciding whether or not to pick up Gears of War 4 should be an easy one for prospective buyers when it releases later this year.