Today, Microsoft is celebrating the worldwide release of Gears of War 4 for Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs. The single player experience continues the story line from the original Gears trilogy, and Microsoft has amped up multiplayer in this release as well.
“Gears of War 4 marks the beginning of a new saga for one of the most acclaimed video game franchises in history,” Microsoft’s Will Tuttle explains. “Set 25 years after the end of Gears of War 3, Gears of War 4 has been a hit with critics and who have described the game as the ‘best-looking game on Xbox One’ and ‘stunning in 4K’.”
Well. Not all critics.
As I wrote in my Gears of War 4 Review and Gears of War 4 Review: A Quick Follow-Up, the game is indeed beautiful, though I lack the computing horsepower to play it in 4K (a feature that is only available in the PC version of the game). But it’s also monotonous and repetitive, and far too similar to the previous games in the series. (Be sure to check out A Timely Reminder of Why Call of Duty is So Great, too, to see how a nine-year-old COD game is far more innovative, fun, and differentiated than the new Gears title.)
But to each his own. And certainly Gears of War 4 has some things going for it.
For starters, the game is an Xbox Play Anywhere title, is in fact the biggest Xbox Play Anywhere title yet, and is thus a nice proof point for Microsoft’s plan to make Xbox exclusives far more inclusive across device types. (Note: You have to buy the game digitally to take advantage of this functionality.)
It’s also an excellent chance for Microsoft to create a second great Xbox-exclusive gaming franchise, along Halo. Given this, playing it safe might actually make sense for the first new game, and maybe the experimentation we saw in the final act is something that will be expanded in future titles.
Also, Microsoft has big plans for DLC over the next year, and has instituted a season pass-like system, like we see in Call of Duty and other games. So Gears fans have lots to look forward to: You don’t have to wait for the next game.
I’ll be fumbling around with multiplayer in the meantime. So far I’ve just played a bit of Horde mode, which works a lot like Zombies mode in the COD games, albeit without any of the story line and settings side-trips we see there. Off to the races…
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