Gears of War 4 Gameplay, Our Opinions & The Wrap
Gears of War 4 seems to implement DirectX 12 right -- in fact, the game requires DX12 and the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. Gears 4 looks great, and thanks to its myriad of graphics options, it is scalable across a wide variety of hardware and GPU types. Remember though, 4GB of frame buffer memory or more is a necessity for resolutions above 1080p, especially if you want to configure the game to its highest quality graphics settings.
The Coalition’s artwork and use of Epic’s Unreal Engine 4 leaves us with a game that is graphically breathtaking, notably during the more intense firefights. Texture detail is some of the best in gaming right now. While the physics and weather conditions make for a wild and turbid trek across just about every locale. It also paves the way for some cool environmental interaction, which players can make use of to dispatch enemies or to just enjoy the visuals, as changing weather patterns create dynamic movement of trees, cloth, and debris for added immersion.
The problem, despite the stunning visual fidelity, buttoned-up storytelling, added game modes, and cross-platform play, is that the fun is fleeting. Plodding through missions, methodically popping off shots while systematically moving from cover to cover can get old fairly quick. Enemy AI does little to add complexity to the firefights, most of which can be completed by simply just shooting all incoming enemies. Sure the developers have thrown in more gameplay variety, but it adds very little to the depth of game content and plot.
Gears 4's vehicle physics are virtually nonexistent too, and the motorcycle bits are on rails. You get to shoot enemies and pursuing vehicles while weaving left and right on the screen to dodge obstacles. In fact, you don’t even have to press a button for acceleration. The whole thing is basically full-auto.
Finally, game controls still feel somewhat clunky for a Gears game. Holding shift to run is not our favorite mechanism and running itself is far from smooth, with excessive head bobbing and an irritating zooming-in effect. Movement is also very limited while running. Trying to turn left or right while sprinting results in your character just slightly veering to whichever direction you choose. It feels something like trying to steer the Statue of Liberty while careening downhill.
With that said, Gears of War 4 leaves us with hope for future implementations of DirectX 12 in upcoming titles, as it is put to great use here with Epic's Unreal Engine 4. In the end, Gears of War 4 is a solid addition to the series that builds on the previous titles in both story and in the evolution of gameplay features - it's just not the blockbuster we'd hoped for. The game is more of a tech showpiece, than anything else.
However, Gears of War 4 is definitely one of the best looking PC games to land this year. And the game does feature several gameplay modes including Story, Co-op, Horde and Multiplayer Versus. So, if things get dull too quickly, there are a number ways to experience the game, change things up, and break up the monotony.
Did you pick up Gears of War 4? Let us know some of your favorite ways to dispatch enemies and how much you’re enjoying the game in the comments section below.