I remember when Gears of War 4 came out, many people were upset about it. It’s understandable, especially having played the original trilogy. Gears 4 kind of feels like it was dragging things out longer than they needed to be.
At the same time though, I’m glad that there’s more. It’s great that we’re still learning, exploring and trying to find peace in the Gears universe. I just wish they had chosen a different way to revitalize the series though. That being said, here are 5 different changes and additions in Gears of War 4.
1. Gears of War 4 gave us a mostly new Delta team
This is probably one of the most important changes that Gears of War 4 did to the franchise. It Introduces a new generation to carry on the legacy of Delta team.
A younger, more rebellious group of people that don’t seem to take things as seriously as their predecessors. It’s kind of refreshing, but I couldn’t really attach myself to them. You know when you start playing a game, there’s always some emotional investment involved. If I can’t get emotionally invested in the character(s) I’m playing, then it won’t be as immersive.
That being said though, they’re not bad. JD and Del can be childish, their attempts at humour are elementary at best and are kind of lame if you ask me. It seems like they try a little too hard to be funny. Sometimes they can drag a little huff of amusement out of me, but that’s about it.
Kait on the other hand is more grounded and seems to take things more seriously. She’s a solid character that I can get behind. A strong, independent woman is always a plus in any game.
The new Delta team isn’t bad nor are they good, I find them to be just tolerable. In my opinion, JD could do with some growing up, Del is likable enough and Kait has potential in being an iconic woman in the Gears series.
2. Gears of War 4 has a familiar yet different story
The story of Gears of War 4, is similar to the original trilogy in the sense that you are fighting against enemies called the Locust. Except this time around, they’ve been upgraded and now call themselves “the Swarm.” Gears 4 is set 25 years after the defeat of the original Locusts.
Since there were so many of them, the Coalition of Ordered Governments (COG) had to dump the bodies in an old mine. And guess what happened, instead of decomposing like things usually do, they underwent a crystallization effect. Essentially, going through the transformation from a caterpillar to a butterfly. Except, they’ve turned into slugs.
Progressing through the story, we find out where these enemies are coming from and how they came to be. And at the end of the game, we learn that Kait is related to the locust mother, Queen Myrrah. This is a huge piece of information and also acts as a launching pad on what Gears 5 will be about.
Along the way, we get to see some very familiar faces from the old games. They’re not playable, but they still have a huge role in Gears of War 4. So, as a fan of the old Delta team, this is an acceptable alternative, in my opinion anyway. At least Marcus Fenix is running with us.
But, here’s my thinking, why didn’t the COG burn the bodies? They aren’t immune to fire as far as I know, incendiary grenades and explosives work on them. A resurgence could have been prevented if they had done this instead. But then, that would put a definitive end to the Gears series and the studio wouldn’t have been able to come back from that.
So, I guess introducing a new generation and enemy types is an acceptable way to break the rule of 3. I’m kind of impressed with how they got out of the corner they wrote themselves into with the Gears series. I would have been fine if the series had ended after the third installation, but this isn’t bad either.
3. New types of enemies to shoot
Alright, getting into the combat and enemies here. First off, the locust/swarm went from “unsightly” to “ugly,” now with a few more roided up monsters all competing for the “most hideous” award. Gears of War 4 has introduced some new enemy types that are pretty darn annoying and gruesome.
On the “swarm” side, we’ve got brand new pouncers, snatchers, carriers, scions, juvies and swarmaks. And on the robot side we have shepherds, dr-1’s, trackers, guardians and kestrels. I don’t worry about these enemies too much, it’s just the guardians and kestrels that could be a problem. But even then, they’re not too bad so, I won’t be deep diving into these types.
I personally think the most annoying enemies in Gears of War 4 are the juvies. These things are grotesque, they are abducted humans who have literally been transformed in a cocoon of flesh. They’re plentiful, quick and can overwhelm you in a matter of moments, luckily they can be easily killed.
The different types of swarm enemies in Gears 4
Pouncers remind me of frogs, the way they jump from one perch to the next all while flinging projectiles at you. If they get too close, they will pounce on you, hence their classification as pouncers.
Snatchers are these huge beasts that have a pouch for a belly where they store abductees. They shoot this projectile from their tail that knocks you on the ground. Once you’re on the ground, they come over and snatch you up. If your teammates don’t bail you out, you’re a goner, used to add to their army.
Carriers are new as well, these things are large land monsters that shoot homing missiles out of their chests. First time I saw this in Gears of War 4, I kind of freaked a little. The only thing going through my mind at the time was “What the heck is THAT?!? We’re going to die. How the heck am I going to beat THIS thing?”
I admit, this was a little overreaction on my part. Turns out all you have to do is go from cover to cover and shoot it like anything else, it helps that they’re pretty slow too.
Then there are the scions, these are pretty much heavy troopers. A few well-placed head shots with a sniper rifle and they’re down. If you don’t have a sniper handy, just shoot it’s head with any weapon that is conveniently nearby or on hand.
Now, the swarmaks, the best way to describe these beasts would be huge, mobile siege tanks on legs. Fighting one of these on the ground can be a real pain.
Your aim has to be on point as it can only be brought down by shooting at the bulbous weak points located on various parts of its body. It’s got a tough hide and turret guns for hands. Keep behind cover and sprint around the area to avoid turning into Swiss cheese.
4. Added new challenges and mechanics
Gears of War 4 has set the bar pretty high for amazing, adrenaline rushing action in the franchise. I remember this one sequence where we were on some super fast motorcycles. Driving one of these at break neck speeds and shooting down a carrier plane just screams EPIC gameplay.
Another new mechanic that was added in Gears 4 are wind flares. These are super charged hurricanes that shoot multiple moving lightning rays at the ground. Accompanied by ridiculously strong winds that can bring down heavy duty construction equipment and buildings. This is one storm that you do NOT want to get caught in.
One thing I didn’t like about Gears of War 4 were the points in the story where I had to defend an area against an incoming swarm raid. Being forced to use the fabricator to make weak and pointless fortifications in order to defend a certain area is just not single player campaign friendly to me.
It felt very out of character for the Gears series. I get that they’re trying to go in a different direction with it, but this was not the best. Hope Gears 5 will get rid of this enemy wave mechanic.
In general though, I like the new additions that were made to help carry the series forward. It’s an improvement on the strong foundations that the original trilogy has set.
5. A fresh coat of paint
Along with improved mechanics and controls, Gears of War 4 was given a fresh new coat of paint. The game looks absolutely stunning. Gone are the gritty textures and dark colours that made me feel like an underground mole. To be replaced by mountainous regions, bright foliage and beautiful, yet deadly storms.
Even the enemies are easy on the eyes, despite them still looking terrifying. I can enjoy shooting their ugly mugs in stunning high definition clarity.
Controls still feel clunky though, very reminiscent of the original trilogy on the Xbox 360. I guess they kept them that way to ease the transition for veteran Gears players.
Being one myself though, I would have preferred them to modernize and streamline the movements. You know, make it more intuitive, sleek and sharp, something that feels like it’s grown up with gaming times.
Keeping the Gears series alive
Overall, I enjoyed Gears of War 4, it’s an acceptable transitioning game. I think it does its job to welcome new players as well as to bring veterans back into the fold. Introducing different stories, mechanics and a fresh, new Delta team that we’ll be working with to once again save humankind from the newly anointed swarm.
I’m curious as to what they’re going to do with Gears 5, hopefully they’ll have improved the controls and fluidity of moving around. I also hope that they get rid of the enemy wave system, I didn’t find that to be very fun.
Have you played Gears 4? What are you thoughts and opinions on it? Are you happy that their continuing the franchise? Or should it have stayed a trilogy?
Feel free to drop a line in the comments down below, I’d be happy to see what you think about the game. You can also check out my other posts if you’re looking for more games to try.