Monday, December 4, 2017

Better Late than Never Review: Gears of War 4

Time for some late final reviews! For old guys and dads everywhere who can no longer keep up with the shiniest, latest, greatest:

Gears of War 4

I finished Gears of War 4's single player campaign a couple months ago, after a long period of procrastination. At some point I settled down for a solid weekend with a determination to play through it. The overall campaign experience was....decent. But it was a smaller story of a new generation of future gears (sort of), with a passing of the torch (sort of) from the old guard. In the end, it was a fun ride but left me with an odd feeling that Gears of War is maybe....a bit overplayed? Formulaic and tired? It was a more coherent tale, and the new developers in charge of the game really wanted to tell a thoughtful, more consistent story than prior GoW games have, but it was also less dramatic. This is the first tale in the Gears universe where the existential threat is there, but it doesn't feel all that threatening, for some reason. At the end of the day, the villains are back to where future installments need them to be, the obligatory "shocking loss" moment is played through with far less drama than prior series went for, and not much happened beyond that. was a good game, it just lacked that little bit of incoherent crazy that marks your prior entries into the franchise as being so distinct. I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing, but I do know it was overall a less engaging experience for me than Gears 1-3 were as a result.

The multiplayer component of GoW 4 remains the bread and butter of the title, but I also found this to be less than stellar, with little motive to keep with it. At least it has split-screen and offline modes, which means my son and I can play. But you know what? Even then he's not asking to play this at all, vs. his constant love of CoD and Star Wars Battlefront titles. Hmmm.

So overall I feel like the game deserves a B+ for attempting to make a more thoughtful storyline, even as it failed to make that storyline engaging; and a B for more of the same old multiplayer gameplay, but hey, I'll say an A for continuing to support splitscreen and offline gameplay, even if  it, too, felt very "m'eh." So overall rating a B.

On the plus side you should be able to find this for $20 or less now, and at that price the campaign is well worth a play through. Here's hoping that this prologue of future games to come gets more exciting with the next installment.

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