Initially conceived by Epic Games, the Gears of War series played a major role in establishing the Xbox 360 as a dominant platform, quickly becoming one of the most popular Xbox Live games. Its cover system also became a benchmark in third-person shooter games, as well as Horde Mode, whose concept, after being introduced in Gears of War 2, began to be applied in several other games. Therefore, Gears of War is a series with a tremendous track record and with important contributions to both the genre and the Xbox brand, and buying the property to Epic Games after the release of Gears of War 3 and Judgment was one of the best decisions of the Microsoft.
Gears of War 4, the first game in the series for the Xbox One, was developed by The Coalition (formerly Black Tusk Studios), the studio that Microsoft created especially to take care of this series. Although the first installment created outside Epic Games, The Coalition is led by Rod Fergusson, who worked on Epic Games and has been involved in the Gears of War saga since its inception. First of all it is important to underline that Gears of War 4 has not lost the identity for which the series is known. Ten years have passed since the release of the original Xbox 360, but the characteristic features remain present, although several aspects have been refined. Above all, Gears of War 4 proves that its status remains high in the genre and give one more reason to have an Xbox One or a PC Gaming with Windows 10 installed.
Gore, testosterone, and characters with abnormally large limbs are some of the words that could be used to describe Gears of War. Although it is 25 years after the events of Gears of War 3, the new game is about familiarity, not just the way the campaign but also in the characters themselves, to the point that the character we control, JD (James Dominic), is the son of Marcus Fenix, the main face of Gears of War in the first three games. Del, JD’s best friend, seems to be a subtitle for the iconic Cole Train, but it does not reach him to the heels. Interestingly, the new and more interesting characters and badass, like Oscar and Reyna, do not have a continuously active role in history.
The campaign is what you would expect from a Gears of War (this is if you played the previous ones), but too traditional in its format. The first chapters are highly satisfying, largely due to the nostalgia factor, but then the game regularly uses the same cards and near the end there is already tiredness, although the campaign is not particularly long. An example of the repetition that the campaign suffers is the Windflares, extremely aggressive storms of wind, dust and thunder that appeared in Sera (the planet of Gears of War). The first time one of these storms comes along, it’s exciting. The second time is not so surprising, but has a spectacular effect. The third time is no longer a joke and there is no emotion.
There is also too much betting on progression through areas where we have to sweep waves of enemies. Of course in a game of shots we will shoot many times for enemies, in this case The Swarm, which seems to be a kind of mutation / evolution of the Locust, but it needed more variety. There are two sections closer to an adventure game, and are well designed, but not enough to dispel the sense of repetitiveness. Apart from this, there are also parts of the campaign that are a kind of tutorial for the Horde, in which we have to protect the Fabricator, a kind of metal crate that we can use, harnessing the energy of the defeated enemies, to manufacture new weapons.
“The main reason to play Gears of War 4 is the Horde Mode”
Apesar das suas falhas, o maior trunfo da campanha é que pode ser desfrutada em modo cooperativo na companhia de outra pessoa, seja através da Internet ou no tradicional ecrã dividido. Não existem muitos jogos em que é possível terminá-los por inteiro em modo cooperativo, e embora esta funcionalidade já estivesse presente em Gears of War anterior, é positivo verificar que continuar presente em Gears of War 4. A campanha é mais divertida desta forma, por isso, é recomendado que joguem com companhia, até porque a inteligência artificial que controla os nossos companheiros comporta-se, por vezes, de forma estúpida. Fica também a nota de que o final da campanha não é satisfatório, terminando abruptamente e com um cliffhanger que só será respondido num futuro jogo da série.