Gears of War 4.
There might be a gap in my memory; I recall saying that I would not consider Gears 4 if it did not have the Retro Lancer as a weapon you can use in the loadout menu – whether or not I said that I cannot remember. Fast forward to last week and there I was playing Gears of War 4 with the Retro Lancer in Horde mode: I think I made a good call reversing my decision to avoid this game.
Gears of War 4 is the latest Gears game, and it feels alive – alive as in there is a large active community and you will always find fresh items in-game like weapon skins and maps to enjoy as the as the game ages. Now returning to the Retro Lancer issue, I play Horde mode online more often than multiplayer – I dislike the shotgun only nonsense that goes on as the shotgun is the only effective weapon in multiplayer when everyone is popping about from cover to cover firing off shells at one another. Now the Retro Lancer is available to a couple classes in Horde mode, and what made me switch over to Gears 4 after sinking almost six years into Gears of War 3 was the fact that classes were not locked to specific characters unlike Gears of War Judgement. Similar to Gears of War 3, you pick the character you want to play and that is it – the classes are where the skills and weapons are organized, not the characters.
Thus I picked the Scout class because of the increased melee damage and the Retro Lancer and shotgun combo made me feel all warm inside – being able to choose a character from the COG list also helped. Now about two weeks in and I can honestly say that I really like this new Gears game. Foot steps this time around sound a bit more believable; previous gears games had a heavy metallic “shook, shook, shook” noise to them when you jogged and sprinted (you don’t really walk in-game, not unless you push very lightly on the controls). This time around the sound of jogging and sprinting is more akin to boots slamming down hard on pavement – something that adds to the immersion when playing.
Characters and weapon skins are unlocked via cards you collect from credits you earn in-game, and you can further earn scrap to make characters by destroying cards you do not want and saving up the scrap to further unlock specific characters and/or cards – you can also buy card packs with real money if that is your cup of tea. There is also an E-sports scene in Gears 4, though I don’t compete so I could not tell you how that scene is and whether or not it is worth the effort.
Now the real meat of the game is the Horde mode for me – campaign was alright but Horde mode is where all the fun lies. This time around you are given a fabricator – a box that can construct whatever defenses you need and can be moved once it is set up. This new feature in Horde mode means instead of setting up a base, you can set up a defensive position and place as many turrets, barricades, decoys, and weapon lockers you want all over the place provided you can collect all the power drops that come from dead enemies. This new feature is nice; it allows players to use the environment to set up their defenses and choose an optimal spot to place the fabricator – a welcome change from Gears 3 that limited you to pre-set defensive positions once a base was established and all you could do was upgrade the defenses – if you needed more defenses or space you had to set up a new base.
Gears of War 4 turned out to be a surprise for me; being dis-satisfied with Battlefield 1 and disappointed with Titanfall 2, Gears 4 being a familiar yet new experience was a welcome change. Going forward I might focus in on a specific sub-set of games to purchase – saves me time and money and helps me avoid misery. Now that is not to say I am regretting my purchase of the Titanfall 2/Battlefield 1 duel pack, but I am unhappy with how the games have evolved as of late – the whole issue of delayed bullet time in Battlefield 1 and the fact that Titanfall 2 feels boring and stale made me re-think my interest in First Person Shooters altogether. Doom was alright, and Far Cry 4 turned out to be okay in small bursts but left me disinterested in finishing the game. Here’s to a successful Gears 4 – more combat, more close quarters action, and more bayonet charges – thanks for reading everyone.