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    dkirschner's Gears of War 4 (PC)

    [May 13, 2020 09:25:38 PM]
    Done. Great continuation from new series developers. The Gears of War games have always been super solid third-person cover shooters. This doesn't change much in the formula, generally playing it safe, but what it does change, I really like.

    The games' stories have been getting better and better as the evermore likable characters get fleshed out. This game takes place a generation after the last game and you play as Marcus's son. He's got his own appropriately diverse crew (there's a woman, a Hispanic guy, and a black guy to round it out) that deliver one-liners and rib one another in between dangerous firefights with the Locust and new human baddies (for the first act or so). You do join up with Marcus and some older former COGs that you'll remember from previous games, which is awesome, so family is quite the theme here.

    Another narrative element of the game I thoroughly enjoyed is that it toned down the macho-ness of previous games (which, as I recall, had been moving along these lines anyway). Early Gears of War entries were so military macho rah rah rah it wasn't even funny after a while. The series has finally become self-aware. The new main characters don't wear any big armor until they meet up with Marcus, who makes them wear it. They complain say it's so heavy and big and bulky and Marcus says that's the point. Why did the Gears always wear such ridiculous armor? There is no reason; they just did. That's the point. There is no point. There's a little feminist streak going on in this one as well, which was a bit cheesy or forced sometimes when deployed, but they got the tone right by the end. Finally, the game is really funny. I loved listening to the characters banter back and forth. The game's tone has changed so much that it ends with a joke. Imagine the earlier games ending with a joke. No way. This one? Great sense of humor.

    Gameplay wise, I'm not sure I remember the other games being as melee focused as this one feels at times. I completed whole chapters with the Lancer's chainsaw. Ripping Locus grunts in half with that thing is one of the best feelings in videogames. It. Never. Gets. Old. Gears of War 4 adds a melee grab attack. If you are on the opposite side of cover as a Locust grunt, you press X to reach over and pull them to your side, then Y to execute them while they are disoriented. This led to a lot of bravery on my end as I sprinted to cover opposite Locust to attempt this move. It usually works, but watch out because the Locust can do the same thing. If you miss, they'll pull you over and pummel you!

    This game (series) is funny for making the world into grids of chest-high cover. You know you're walking into a fight when you exit a door and see an area with loads of chest-high cover in front of you. Enemies often attack in waves, and it did get repetitive during the first chunk of the game when you are fighting humans and robots to hear "Another dropship!" for the 100th time.

    Two more things...I don't remember if previous Gears games did this, but Gears of War 4 incorporates Horde mode into the Campaign. Early on you find a "fabricator," which can make turrets and barbed wire and other stuff to slow down and attack swarms of enemies. Every so often (maybe 4 times) you'll have to defend a point and you get to play with the Fabricator. These parts felt like a commercial for Horde mode because you get just a taste, and can usually only build two or three things. I played a ton of Horde mode in one of the earlier entries and, although these were novel diversions from the regular business of moving from area to area, they usually felt forced, really like I was being marketed to. Couple the few "Horde mode" parts of levels with the title screen urging you to play that mode and complete all your daily quests or whatever they called them.

    Finally, a very cool audio feature that I noticed--When you're near your squad, you hear them normally; they're within earshot. If you sprint ahead, their voices actually get softer. Keep going, and the voices switch to coming from the walkie talkie. It's seamless, a great use of contextual and proximal audio, and conveys useful information (how far away from your squad you are) all at the same time. So clever!

    I didn't even know there was a Gears 5 out, but now I'm going to play that (thank you Microsoft Game Pass) and this new Gears Tactics game just game out (thank you Microsoft Game Pass) that is supposed to be quite good.
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    dkirschner's Gears of War 4 (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Monday 4 May, 2020

    GameLog closed on: Wednesday 13 May, 2020

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Slick, fun, difficult. Thoroughly enjoying so far. --------- Early difficulty fades. Very generous "help" from allies. Great game. Funny too!

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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