Gears of War was the first game I ever played on my Xbox 360 way back in 2006. I anticipated it to be amazing in every way after watching the trailers and continued hype all over G4TV and seeing the gruesome and bloody kills that seemed to feel like 50/50=shooter/mortal combat gore. After my last “Beta Bonanza” articles, I was thrilled to hear that the game was opening up a Multiplayer Beta for its latest release. Grab your lancer and rev up your chainsaw bayonet! It’s gonna get messy.
Luke’s Note: Please keep in mind this is not intended as a review of a final product as this game is still currently in Beta testing. Game play and features may change in development and this is intended solely as my thoughts and reactions jumping into the beta. Thanks for reading and enjoy!
After downloading the beta, I was greeted with a very simple menu selection. I could choose from Dodgeball which required teammates to kill enemies to respawn their team and regular Team Deathmatch. I chose the latter similar to my time in Doom and prepared to get pummeled mercilessly which followed shortly thereafter. I know this follows a similar trend in both my Doom and Battleborn experiences, but in this game I was very drastically out of my element. For better or worse, here I am getting demolished and eating my fair share of lead. I did manage to get an accidental chainsaw kill which made me somewhat happy despite of my lack of skillz.
The thing that the Beta made painfully apparent in this reincarnation of Gears of War is essentially the most obvious. This is Gears of War. I don’t mean that as some form of Gerald Butler high kick in a skirt form of battle chant. This game is literally identical to prior titles. If there is any innovation from this title compared to its predecessors, it was lost on me. The weapons are pretty much more or less the same, the movement also the same. I felt like I was playing the first Gears which to some may sound like a good thing but in reality I felt underwhelmed. Provided this is a Beta and yes, there still is more that can be done but it felt surprisingly bare. The Coalition does have some time on their hands considering the game is not due out until October 11th but I don’t feel like a huge emphasis will be put on changing the formula they already have. One sort of cool thing is that there are now women characters in the game, although I am unsure if this was added in one of the prior titles.
To clarify, I am not a big Gears fan to begin with. The series never really resonated with me and provided me with content or story I truly felt involved in. That aside, I am a fan of a good shooter when I play one. I can’t honestly say I enjoyed playing Gears of War 4. The best aspect is simply the 3rd person perspective offering some variance from FPS hallmarks. It is a subtle aspect that brings with it a new set of challenges. That being said that was present on Gears 1 and is in no way an innovative feature for this title. The characters moved awkwardly. The healing mechanic for downed players also functioned really poorly. I unloaded round upon round and died several times after an enemy team mate just ran up and healed an ally that should have died. The maps were uninspiring and restricting and primarily consisted of random box-like structures strewn across a random area. This seemed restrictive and unnecessary when you have games like Halo 5 and Destiny adding movement and movement options. Now I can’t expect a game in Beta to compare, but the base movement should be rewarding and fun. It should put me in the heat of battle and make me feel like a badass. Gears, sadly, did not.
(another video of me running around like I crapped my pants, this time as a human.)
The menu offered only a simple experience bar and some randomized buffs to apply to the next match. There were no options for customization or any additional involvement post-game. I didn’t really expect this. I played on hoping that it would get better in the next match but over an hour and a half in, it already felt like a chore. What does this say about the title? Maybe it is simply that this is not the game for me. It very well could be my personal angst with a series that has disappointed me in the past. A bad shooter of an ex-girlfriend that I never quite managed to have any catharsis with, but I feel it is more than that. I feel that this game was made purely for fans of the series and to entice them to lay down their hard earned money out of loyalty. If you are a Gears fan, this may satisfy your urge and bring back fond memories of the prior incarnations of the Gears universe. If you are looking for your next competitive shooter, you may be better served in other titles if The Coalition does not change their approach after this Beta closes. In any event, feel free to download it and form your own opinion until the beta closes on 5/1 this Sunday.
(in case you weren’t satisfied with watching me die 800000000 times)
Featured image courtesy of Xbox.com