Gears Of War 4 sets stage for new trilogy

Gears Of War 4 is still as breathtakingly beautiful as the earlier GOW versions.
Gears Of War 4 is still as breathtakingly beautiful as the earlier GOW versions.PHOTO: MICROSOFT STUDIOS

The look and feel of the latest version have remained faithful to the GOW franchise

Gears Of War (GOW) is a third-person action shooter first released 10 years ago. You play Marcus Fenix, a soldier in the Coalition of Ordered Governments (COG) tasked to destroy the Locust Horde - a demonic race of creatures that emerged from underground that is threatening humanity on planet Sera.

The franchise spawned two sequels that followed Marcus' battles before he finally defeated the Locust in 2011's GOW3.

In 2013, there was a prequel in Gears Of War: Judgment, that followed the path of Damon Baird, one of Marcus' squad mates.

Now, Gears Of War 4 (GOW4) is here. The single-player campaign picks up 25 years after the events of GOW3. You play J.D. Fenix, son of Marcus Fenix.

Having played all the Gears Of War games, I was apprehensive when a new developer took over the making of GOW4.

But my worries proved unfounded. The look and feel of the GOW4 have remained faithful to the franchise. The game is still as breathtakingly beautiful as before.

  • 9/10


    PRICE: $69.90 (PC; Xbox One, version tested)

    GENRE: Action shooter

The gameplay is similar too. You duck for cover, peer around corners, fire at your enemies and try to outflank them. Take your time and you risk being outflanked or overrun. If you are badly hurt or nearly dead, you have to crawl to your squad mates so they can revive you, and vice versa.

The superb soundtrack and realistic audio effects accentuate the intense action. It is really exhilarating to be back in GOW action after years of hiatus.

GOW fans like myself will definitely delve into the single player campaign for continuation of what happened after GOW3. And, for those new to the franchise, the opening sequences of the campaign will introduce you to the gameplay as well as the back story.

With peace, the COG now imposes martial law, build walled-off cities to protect its citizens and uses robots known as DeeBees to keep law and order. But this totalitarian rule has spawned many deserters, including J.D. This is where the story continues from.

Without revealing too much of the storyline (except that Marcus Fenix will appear again), I think GOW4 has essentially set the stage for a new trilogy.

Like its predecessors, the GOW4's single-player campaign is a very linear affair with automatic save points. The campaign is well-crafted, nicely paced and varied. You might be doing battle in the air or shooting your way out of a dungeon. There is even a motorcycle shooting sequence.

The voice actors all did a great job in conveying the emotions of the characters. Some occasional banter among your squad mates makes for good laughs. It is also great to hear the voice of Marcus Fenix again.

It will probably take you at most 10hr to complete the campaign. After finishing the campaign, you can either replay it at a level of higher difficulty or venture into the array of multiplayer modes.

Other than the usual Team Deathmatch mode (eliminate all opposing members) and King Of The Hill mode (hold and capture objective rings), there are new and interesting modes such as the Dodgeball and Arms Race.

In Dodgeball mode, every kill respawns a teammate. So it becomes very exciting to see who will survive to the last minute and how a team can come back from the brink of defeat to clinch victory.

The Arms Race is rather funny, as it involves a weapon swap for the entire team after every three kills. So imagine, you are taking aim with a sniper rifle when your teammate scores a kill and you end up with a shotgun.

And then, there is the competitive Escalation mode. It is a team deathmatch format in which the first team to win seven rounds wins the match. But the team that loses a round gets to place a weapon. So you can strategise on where to put the weapon for maximum protection, or on where is a good location to lure your opponents.

  • Verdict: With its engaging single-player campaign and multitude of multiplayer modes, Gears Of War 4 retains the franchise's unique flavour and sets a great stage for future titles. I can't wait for Gears Of War 5 and 6 already.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2016, with the headline 'Gears Of War 4 sets stage for new trilogy'. Print Edition | Subscribe