Gears of War 4 – Splash the Gnash – Review

3 years from Judgement Day, we finally have a new numbered installment in the Gears franchise and a first on Xbox One and Windows 10.

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New features include Roadie Running into a vault hop. You can also vault-hop when diving into cover to make the action more seamless and dynamic. And you’ll need to keep moving with the action as enemies will literally boot you out of cover, charge you with reckless abandon and blast you to pieces without so much as a shred of regret.

But stealth can also be rewarded. If an enemy is directly opposite you in cover, you can pull them over and impale them with a dagger. Yank and Shank is going to prove to be a sick multiplayer addition in the months ahead.

The Vault Kick can also be used to boot someone out of cover if you Roadie Run toward them. From there, you can tear them apart with Lancer ammo or execute them where they stand. Careful though, they can also counter back and turn the tables on you.

Gears 4 also has an incredible focus on stats. War Journal is so incredibly vast with numbered information across ranked, social, horde and campaign. You can see what percentage of kills you have with each weapon, what you tend to favour, and what you use the least. This includes total kills for a weapon, downs, executions and active reloads.

The core modes for Versus are

  • Team Deathmatch
  • Dodgeball — where every kill will bring back a dead team mate.
  • King of the Hill
  • Arms Race — where you kill the enemy using almost every gun and every three kills changes your teams’ weapon
  • Guardian — where you execute the enemies team leader to prevent respawns then wipe out the enemy team
  • Warzone — where you only get one life per round and must defeat enemy team.

There’s also competitive modes.

  • Escalation — where you capture objective rings to score enough points to win or capture all three to win instantly. New weapons are added every round.
  • Execution — where you eliminate all enemies using executions but you only have one life per round.

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Bounties make a return in both Versus and Horde, all of them giving you a boost of XP if you fulfil their requirements. For example, get a score of 1000 or higher in an Arms Race match and earn 2000 XP. However these bounty cards need to be created with Scrap which is earned after each Multplayer match. You can also destroy duplicate cards to earn some.

Meanwhile, Horde 3.0 is a mesh of everything we already know about the classic mode, but with some new tweaks and changes. You start with a Fabricator which can be moved all over the map. Essentially, Horde 3.0 is all about collecting loot and building. Enemies drop power when killed and you’ll need to run over their corpses to pick it up then deposit in the Fabricator. With power, you can build fortifications and weapons to help battle through later waves.

There are five different classes that can be played in Horde, Soldier, Scout, Sniper, Engineer and Heavy. This class based aspect was introduced to us in Overrun back in Judgement and has now been built into the core Horde experience to great effect.

Then there’s the campaign with diverse narrative direction, horde-influenced action, and dramatic set-pieces that would put Nathan Drake’s forays to shame. The new characters work well together, produce a fun chemistry and each have something unique to offer the story. The Coalition even got some big actors involved like Jimmy Smits, Eugene Byrd, and Liam McIntyre

Gears 4 is a fantastic game, though it isn’t without issues. The cut-scenes are skippable but the wait time is soooooo long that occassionally you’ll have watched the entire thing before you actually get to the action. There are also some minor glitches at certain sections, in addition to some questionable Team AI when they don’t come to revive you at critical moments or get stuck on corners.

Fortunately though, Gears of War 4 is gratifying grisly and gloriously great. With memorable landmarks, heart-stopping set-pieces, and content galore, there is so much to love. This one is a sure-fire Game of the Year contender!

Gears of War 4

9 out of 10

About the author

Ray Willmott

Ray is the founder and editor of Expansive. He is also a former Community Manager for Steel Media, and has written for a variety of gaming websites over the years. His work can be seen on Pocket Gamer, PG.biz, Gfinity, and the Red Bull Gaming Column. He has also written for VG247, Videogamer, GamesTM, PLAY, and MyM Magazine,