Platforms: Xbox One, Windows 10
Tested On : Xbox One
Developer: The Coalition
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Release Date: 11 October 2016
Unfortunately, the latest Gears of War 4 beta proved that too much of an old thing could be a bad thing. As much as we tried to look past the same old formula and appreciate its classic approach to cover-based deathmatches, we could not help but feel like we’ve played the same thing in recent months.
Running and gunning with a shotgun is still the only weapon that actually does anything in the game. As you try to take a different approach, the enemy team will still take you down instantly with a hip fired shot of the Gnasher. We craved something new as it has been the same old tried and tested method when playing any Gears of War multiplayer. If we take the recent Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End multiplayer for example, its implementation of relics and power ups, have provided a new and refreshing way to play the game mode, while still maintaining the core of what we loved about the classics.
Saying that there are a few new mechanics in the game which kind of ask you why they have waited so long to bring them into the spotlight. You can now recover by tapping the “A” button when you are in down, but not dead phase. This happens when you take enough damage from an enemy to become incapacitated, and manage to get away to try to revive.
There is now an Active Reload mode where you can reload at any given time, and when timed perfectly with the “RB” button, your ammo returns to your gun instantly. This is the reload mechanic we have seen in every Gears of War campaign, but in the multiplayer for a change. Another new addition to the combat is the ability to take down enemies from the other side of cover with a melee attack. This was great when we were behind cover and the enemy team failed to notice us, we then were able to pull them over the cover and deal a killing blow to them. There were other moves which we noticed like a kick that saw us vaulting over cover and kicking the enemy on the other side, also dealing a killing blow.
While this was being used on us for example, there was a brief time where we could jump out the way and counter the vault kick or avoid our opponent grabbing us. Although this was great, lag often prevented us from countering the attack successfully. There are a range of weapons which can be found in the battle arena. The Torque Bow, Power Shot, Long Shot, and Boom Shot were all available in the beta. These weapons had to be picked up in order to be used, and could not be included in a loadout. When you die with the weapon, it is dropped, leaving it available for the enemy team to make use of. These weapons were extremely powerful and almost always resulted in a one-hit kill, the problem though was getting used to them, which took some time. If you have played any previous Gears of War, this would not be a problem however as they are nothing new in the series.
This is all made easier by a tactical vision in the game. This vision lets you see weapons around the battlefield and your team mates. There are also times when you can tag enemy players so that your team mates can see them. This became helpful when the battlefield was ridden with smoke grenades and players were masters at the cover system.
In between matches you can make use of a new bounty system. This system lets you use a bounty card which requires a set of action to be completed in the next match. Complete this bounty and you will be rewarded with XP which will go towards your player rank. Some of these bounties range from killing a set amount of enemies in a match, to using a certain weapon.
Playing a few hours of the game proved that there was really nothing new to make it feel like a sequel at all. The bounty system is probably the only thing worth taking note of, otherwise the rest is just the same old Gears of War we all know. We cannot help but feel that it should be time for something different. We got spammed with shotguns in every past title, and the same thing happened here, after the 20th match, it gets a bit old. Although the game is still in development, we hope that it brings something new to the table when it releases later in 2016, and not just a re-skinned Gears of War: Ultimate Edition multiplayer.