If you’re a diehard Gears of War fan or even just liked the franchise, much like the new Halo games, this one is going to hurt. I won’t waste too much of your time other than telling you don’t waste your hard earned cash or time on this game.
I wasn’t surprised at the shortcomings of the latest Gears of War, knowing the embarrassing state Microsoft has left the current Halo Franchise in by dragging an already finished series through the mud just to make money off it’s old fame. I came with the same expectations for this game, especially since naming a studio after a part of the game sends me an immediate red flag. Much like Bungie lost Halo to 343 Industries, so named after 343 Guilty Spark, we see the same thing happen here with the naming of the new Gears studio The Coalition; like they’re trying to woo and grasp onto you being a classic Gears fan to make you go “Yeah, that’s cool they named the studio after the COG”.
Well for me, a long time fan of Gears, it was the first sign of trouble and I realized how detached Microsoft is from the fans of their premium series. This game wasn’t made for you the fan, but made for their wallets.
So where do we begin?
Let’s talk story, without spoilers, cause let’s be real I ain’t the kinda guy to spoil a game, even if it is bad.
The story takes place 25 years post Victory Day, if you’re familiar with Gears of War 3 and the epic finale of defeating the Locust swarms and all that jazz. Anyways you take on JD; Marcus Fenix’s son. You’re joined by his friend Del and blatant love interest Kait (New spelling of the name Kate, innovative and exciting gameplay awaits I’m sure of it)
The three of them are part of an outsiders camp living outside of the COG cities of new. If you remember Gears of War (really any of them) this is nothing new, there had always been outsider camps, those who opposed the government.
Anyways, their journey starts while on the way to get an item called the Fabricator that, you guessed it, fabricates items like guns, power supplies, and turrets. Of course gun fights ensue, stuff gets lit, and as seen in the trailers, you’ll encounter some new ugly looking guys.
We find out some history of JD, Del and Kait as their journey progresses, however I’m keeping this spoiler free so I don’t want to delve into too much.
However, my god the story is easily the worst written, it’s just boring and lacks engagement. The writing was coated with boring and cheesy dialogue and constant reminders that “SHE’S HER MOTHER’S DAUGHTER”, and forgettable one-liners. If there was an option to disable voiceovers I would have selected that.
Want some innovative and exciting game-play? Well you’re better off playing a Bastion in competitive Overwatch than even attempting this. The gameplay was rinse and repeat, no “wow” moments or exciting engagement with the enemy, it was boring. All it was is the typical Gears shooter – get to cover, shoot, reload, saw them in half, rinse and repeat. The Coalition brought nothing new or exciting to the table. It was standard Gears, with the exception of a new gun that felt like an M1 Grand. Other than that the combat system hasn’t changed or improved since Gears of War 2.
Sure we face some new enemies, but really they’re so easily taken down that the battles are anti-climatic. I didn’t get the same sense of doom I got while facing a Berserker and the immediate panic upon seeing it. When faced with these new enemies, I simply buckled down and let my lancer rip.
I find it hard to call this a full Triple AAA title, it felt more like a DLC to me. It was quick, short, dirty, and I beat it in a single sitting over one night.
The entire single player felt like a tutorial for multiplayer; it’s as if they washed their hands clean of the single player and just said “Hey guys let’s just throw these things in here and make it training for Horde Mode 3.0.” Every time you encounter enemies it’s alway set up perfectly for you to cover and engage.
Every engagement is the same engagement. You don’t have to strategize, you don’t even have to stress. It’s the least entertaining Gears I’ve played.
When there was a huge battle, it was literally Horde Mode. It was nothing special, every time there was an end of the chapter or a segment, there was a boring drawn out horde rush. It was the same gameplay, same voice lines of “LOOK OUT WE’VE GOT A SION” or “ENEMIES TO THE LEFT”; I was bored.
The one good thing to come out of my experience playing Gears of war 4 is remembering how good we used to have it with Epic leading the way with Gears. You can tell how little effort was put into this game, the story shoddily written, the single player a wash. It really makes you appreciate games of old, the excitement and rush you got playing games from early 2000’s.
When I used to play Gears of War games I got excited, the rush and excitement I got when jumping into pivotal moments like in Gears 2, every piece of that game outplays this. The action, the story, and the dialogue.
Can I have my time back? You’re better off watching a jacked up on Mountain Dew Code Red “Let’s Play” channel than buying this game. If you’re a diehard Gears fan I’d advise waiting for this to hit a bargain bin, or if Microsoft ever does a winter/summer sale. It is definitely not worth the $80 it’s selling for. It’s a boring, bland testament to Gears of old and I can only recommend this game to someone who has money to burn and enjoys endless hordes of monsters running at you, that’s all this game has going for it.
Steve Noel is the Deputy Editor.