Bloody, Beautiful, and Safe.
So the Gears of War 4 beta is now available to all the peons (myself) who elected to skip Gears of War: Ultimate Edition. So after a few hours of game time I thought it appropriate to write my thoughts and feelings about the next era of Gears of War.
Lets start this off perfectly clear. You know exactly what you are buying the second that you start the beta. I don’t recall The Coalition ever announcing that they were taking the game play in a drastic new direction, and that fact is clear here. This is classic Gears through and through. Lancers, Gnashers and Boomers abound. Bloody guts and chainsaw animations. Wall hopping and excessive grunting. This is the Gears game for the traditionalists.
New to the series are the three maps featured in the beta. It should be noted that similar to another exclusive Micrsoft IP, Halo 5, Gears of War 4 will include free map based DLC. This seems to be a way to introduce us to the new maps, as well as release the classics farther down the line such as Canal and Gridlocke. The new maps included in the beta include Harbor, Dam, and Foundation. The maps reek of classic Gears of War design, where holding power weapons is just as important as holding important map geography. The power weapons are exposed, making their retrieval an excellent experiment in risk/reward. All of the maps are solid, conversely they also lack a certain wow factor. They mostly feel like Rusty Location X and War Torn place Y.
Game play changes are minimal here. A factor that is often a “damned if we do, damned if we don’t” situation for most game studios. Do we implement huge changes to shake things up or do we give people what made them love the game in the first place? THAT….is a question for another time. The game play changes we do have involve the Locusts, I mean the Swarm. Yes apparently the Locust, who were wiped out in Gears 3, are entirely different from the Swarm. Despite the fact that they look exactly the same. I will withhold judgment here until we get some context from the story mode. Anyway, a new gun blasts its way into the beta, the Dropshot. A reverse Digger, this weapon shoots a bomb that travels in the air for as long as the shooter holds the trigger, when the shooter believes the bomb is now hovering over an enemy, they release the trigger and watch the guts fly.
It is the perfect addition to the Gears of War power weapon arsenal and I greatly look forward to any other new weapons that make it into the full game. The Boomshot, Torque Bow and Longshot all return in the beta, and series veterans will feel right at home with their controls. Speaking of controls, the game play is smoooooth. Gears of War 4 is responsive and rewarding, with the wall bounce mechanic feeling more flexible and accessible than it has since Gears of War 2.
All in all, I think fans of Gears of War have a good deal to look forward to in this game. As long as The Coalition delivers a solid story mode and more new content for multiplayer, I don’t think it’s too early to start revving your chainsaws.
Be sure to post your experiences with the Gears 4 Beta in the comments below! As always, stay locked into Gaming Tree House for all your gaming news!