Gears of War 4
Developer The Coalition, Splash Damage
Publisher Microsoft Studios
Official site gearsofwar.com
Localizer Microsoft Studios Russia
release date October 2016
Genre Shooter

The new generation of consoles was a good reason to revive the exclusive game series. Last year, Microsoft released a new part of Halo, which received more modest ratings compared to older games. This fall, the main exclusive of the company was supposed to be a new part of Gears of War. After the main story was closed and the spin-off was released, the players did not expect anything outstanding from the next «gears». However, the new team of The Coalition did not disappoint and frankly pleased. And thanks to Microsoft’s new policy, PC gamers can now join the chainsaw-wielding beefy fight.

Gears of War 4

Gears of War 4 kicks off a new story that takes place 25 years after the old trilogy. In the prologue, players are briefly told about some of the key moments of the past war. From the first minutes we are immersed in a whirlpool of action with explosions. The heroes attack the protected laboratory, scattering everything around with a hail of bullets. Having obtained the secret weapon «Hammer of Dawn», the next moment we begin to actively use it as another fighter who repels the attack of the Locust. Huge monsters push from all sides, and the beam of the «hammer» burns out their carcasses, spraying fountains of blood. After a few minutes of intense battle, we find ourselves in an even more hopeless situation, repulsing the attack of an incredible horde of creatures from the walls of the fortress. We smash to pieces those who climb up, and pour lead downpour from a stationary machine gun on the horde below.

Gears of War 4

After quickly replacing each other different battle scenes, the game finally gives a break and turns to new heroes. In the center of the story is a group of outcasts who trade in a small robbery. At the moment, they want to steal something valuable from the walled city. Inside, indifferent robots are busy building various structures, expanding the development. And the first minutes pass in a simple contemplation of this deserted automated place. Then, of course, the guards pull up, and the usual shooting begins.

Gears of War 4

At first, the opponents are exclusively robots of various varieties, and for a long time the game does without growling monsters and other attributes of Gears of War. The hunt for prey turns into a chase for the miners themselves. As a result, the heroes manage not only to fray the robotic army and the nerves of the head of the new government that controls them, but also completely repel all attacks on the outcast settlement.

Gears of War 4
Gears of War 4

However, a new threat is already looming on the horizon. There is an unknown force that kidnaps people. The protagonist JD Phoenix is ​​forced to remember the main deadly weapon on this planet — his father, Marcus Phoenix. The aged war hero still retained unimaginable square shapes, but managed to settle in a secluded estate. Here he spends his time growing grapes and vegetables, and is not at all eager to give up important things for the sake of another war. But when circumstances leave no choice, a cache of weapons and armor is immediately found. Dressed in a familiar uniform, the company of four comrades begins the path to the heart of a new threat.

Gears of War 4

After a long showdown with robots, the game is back to normal. The heroes get into a place that is teeming with strange monsters. Gears of War 4 plays on familiar motifs, and at first pumps up the atmosphere with a gloomy environment, where we are opposed only by jumping and not particularly dangerous creatures. But gradually the enemies become larger and more dangerous. A new threat is the reincarnation of the old Locust, whose corpses were dumped into deep mines, and now creatures called the Swarm have climbed from there. And the more the heroes go deep into the mines, the more dangerous creatures crawl out of all the cracks.

Gears of War 4

The game mechanics is still based on gunfights with cover. The general dynamics has grown. Enemies are active, some shelters are partially destroyed. Large opponents with weapons act under the cover of fast and small ones that impose close combat. Therefore, you have to change position more often, maneuver between shelters and act faster.

Gears of War 4

Yes, and the characters themselves have become more perky and dexterous against the backdrop of the immense quadratic Marcus Phoenix. A polished cover system works better and more accurately, making it easier for you to operate on the battlefield. Dashing is easier, you can jump over obstacles. The fighters also learned some new tricks. For example, you can grab and pull the enemy out of cover, and then finish off with a knife. Or you can kick him back by jumping over the same cover.

Gears of War 4

The set of weapons has expanded due to new varieties. Each «gun» is interesting in its own way and gives its own advantages in battle. Being able to carry two firearms and a pistol makes you experiment and try something new, depending on the situation and enemies. The familiar reloading system works, where by pressing again at a precisely calibrated moment, you will not only speed up the clip change, but also get a bonus to lethality. Familiar weapon variants have been slightly changed, which feels good after recently playing through Gears of War Ultimate Edition. Shotgun fire without aiming is now less accurate, and the Lancer rifle has a different recoil feel.

Gears of War 4

The Lancer itself is available in several varieties, but all of them have a built-in chainsaw that can cut monsters in close combat. And even the appearance of robotic opponents did not get rid of the usual occupation. Near them, you can saw with the same success, only instead of bloody splashes, fountains of oil and some other internal liquids will whip into the screen. So in terms of brutal reprisals, Gears of War 4 is no worse than the original.

Gears of War 4
Gears of War 4

Along with the increased dynamics, the game lost some of the nuances that made the first part a more thoughtful positional shooter. Previously, you had to stay behind cover more, and heavy enemies could sometimes be stopped by shooting at the legs. Now they are weakly susceptible to bullets in the knee, so you need to hit in the head or look for more powerful weapons on the map.

Monsters appear suddenly. Rifts in the ground have replaced the nests from which pumped-out big monsters pop out. Many levels are full of bursting cocoons, in which small creatures accidentally come across. Therefore, a firefight in a room with cocoons develops unexpectedly, and enemies randomly born around do not make it possible to sit out in one position.

Gears of War 4

There are armored monsters with machine guns that shoot straight ahead, ignoring many hits. There are jumping creatures that shoot needles from their tails. Other enemies strive to swallow people and carry them away from the battlefield in order to digest them inside. There are no less impressive creatures that spit acid charges. All this diversity implies a different approach and its own subtleties in countering them. Often the monsters act in large groups, and large engines are covered by more nimble soldiers. Fighting off simple fighters, you need to hit the weak points of large creatures along the way. At the same time, the ammunition diverges quickly, you are looking for new weapons and replenishment, grab some grenade launchers or machine guns and just killed enemies, shoot back and immediately rush to another point.

Gears of War 4

In the first Gears of War, we ran for a long time through the streets from a monster called Brumak. Here he appears in a new mutated guise, even more dangerous and even more invulnerable. We are locked with him in a limited room and forced to use the environment to gradually neutralize this «boss».

Gears of War 4

After a heavy victory, there will be several more meetings with the same colossus. But then our weapons are completely different. The last level is to be completed using large combat robots, which will easily smash all these mountains of meat to pieces with the help of their weapons and cover from a helicopter. Well, the main monster in terms of size and immensity naturally awaits in the very final.

Gears of War 4

The appearance of robotic opponents looks like a good addition and adds variety. But they lack some kind of uniqueness, robots are perceived as ordinary opponents. Unless they drop them in a very epic way — from a plane flying low in bursting dodecahedron balls. Among their weapons come across very interesting varieties like a shotgun that shoots several charges in a row, and a pulse rifle that needs to accumulate a charge. The first game act with robots is frankly delayed, they are given more attention than they should. But it ends with a spectacular motorcycle chase and the shooting of the plane.

Gears of War 4

It does not do without staged spectacular moments in other episodes. If you need to climb out of the mine, then this, of course, will happen with epic scope, destruction and rapid flight on cables.

Gears of War 4

Often the game pushes the heroes against powerful storms that create a completely different hostile environment. A powerful wind resists movement, blows grenades and carcasses of enemies. If you knock out supports near a pile of garbage, then scattered objects will knock everyone in their path. Destroy some cable, and a bunch of pipes picked up by a gust of wind will sweep away opponents. All this looks spectacular, and the elements are very convincing. Complementing such hurricanes are the races between electrical discharges.

Gears of War 4

The story campaign is traditionally played in single player or co-op modes. Forks with a clear division into two paths are few, mostly players just support each other. When meeting with a large monster, one player distracts him, and the second tries to hit a weak spot. That is, in the basic gameplay there are many nuances that are conducive to joint actions. At the same time, the increased dynamics also affects the survivability of the heroes. You can often be taken out of action, and you will crawl on the ground, waiting for a revival from a partner.

Gears of War 4 additionally offers a Horde mode. A group of players needs to fight off successive waves of monsters and robots, score points and use them to buy barriers and turrets. It is played cheerfully and tensely, and the successful passage of all waves requires coordinated actions and mutual assistance.

Gears of War 4

You can fight with real players in online battles. And these battles require not only the ability to accurately shoot, but also the virtuoso use of the cover system. Experienced players move incredibly fast, skillfully jumping from one point to another, abruptly changing positions and bypassing enemies. Maps are built in such a way that they give room for maneuvers and at the same time provoke constant clashes between teams. The main modes offer traditional team fights and battles for control of key points.

Gears of War 4

An interesting “Dodgeball” mode has appeared, where teams knock out players from each other, getting the opportunity to revive their fighter for each kill. That is, the ultimate goal is in a certain balance, which is achieved, including through caution. The «Arms Race» mode is played very cheerfully. As the kills grow, the team gets a new type of weapon, and this immediately affects the behavior of partners, making the development of the battle unpredictable.

There is a mandatory leveling system with new levels and many visual skins for character models and weapons. At first glance, the network component resembles Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, but, as noted above, the gameplay has become faster, which allowed the multiplayer to sparkle with new colors. The overall feel of 3rd person gunfights with cover is a bit out of the ordinary for a computer player and may require some adaptation. But there is a drive here, and the local multiplayer is more original than the numerous military shooters that do not change from year to year.

Gears of War 4

Visually, Gears of War 4 looks very good, pleasing to the eye with crisp textures and detailed environments. Destructibility and a lot of particles further improve the perception in dynamics. There are destructible shelters, fragments fall off the walls when hit, the carcasses of enemies fall apart, a lot of particles in explosions, abundant bloody splashes.

Gears of War 4
Gears of War 4
Gears of War 4

The game uses Unreal Engine 4 and only runs under DirectX 12 and Windows 10. It might sound like a death sentence, but the optimization is surprisingly great. With a good picture, the power requirements of video cards are quite moderate.

Gears of War 4

For clarity, here is a small comparison of four graphics accelerators in Ultra-mode, which was carried out when testing with the built-in benchmark.

We used our standard test configuration for graphics cards.

Gears of War 4

Even the budget video adapter GeForce GTX 1050 Ti provides about 50 fps. The potential of the GeForce GTX 1060 and Radeon RX 480 for maximum graphics quality at 1920×1080 is more than enough, but the first shows better results.

The set of graphics settings is striking in variety. Gears of War 4 allows you to separately control the textures of different elements, many different effects and their intensity. In addition to the standard maximum quality presets, you can increase the depth of the background shading, but this will make the picture too dark. It is also possible to include a more complex algorithm for calculating reflections, but it also gives a controversial result with a strong decrease in performance. So do not chase after an additional increase in parameters above the Ultra mode.

Separately, it is worth noting that the game requires a large amount of video memory. Even the GeForce GTX 960 is able to provide good fps, but in the 2 GB version, detailed textures will not be loaded, the picture will become worse than the original. Therefore, even for a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels, it is desirable to have a video card with 4 GB of memory.

Gears of War 4 is a good brutal third-person shooter. Among the representatives of this genre, this is the most spectacular action movie with intense shootouts and epic staged moments. The overall pace of the game has become faster, the controls are a little more convenient. The plot is simple, the story is built so that our adventure is constantly evolving. Even a player who is familiar only with the first part can see that the game skillfully beats old motives without slipping into banal copying. Gears of War 4 has more options for interacting with the environment and great moments with powerful storms. In the story campaign, sometimes there are drawn-out moments and copying of the Horde mode, but this does not spoil the overall impression. In comparison with the first part, the new game is more cheerful, brighter and more beautiful. One of the best action movies of the end of the year.

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