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Review: Gears of War 4 is the best exclusive on Xbox One so far

Gears of War 4 takes place 25 years after the events of Gears of War 3, kick-starting an all-new saga. However, the game represents much, much more than that.

Microsoft purchased the Gears of War IP from Epic Games back in 2014, as the Unreal Engine developer began winding down its AAA game development ambitions. Microsoft repurposed the Vancouver-based Black Tusk Studios to oversee the franchise. Many developers from the original Gears of War team, including executive producer Rod Fergusson, jumped ship to join the new studio.

Black Tusk was renamed The Coalition to honor its stewardship of the Gears of War franchise. Much like Halo's 343 Industries and Forza's Turn 10, The Coalition is the third pillar in Microsoft's blockbuster Xbox-exclusive effort. The news was hugely exciting, but questions remained.

Can the Gears formula still work in 2016? Can The Coalition bring the same magic to the franchise under Microsoft Studios? Can Gears of War compete with the likes of Battlefield 1, Call of Duty, Titanfall 2, and various other heavy-hitting AAA shooters this holiday season? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding yes.

The Gears Awaken

Story & Setting

Gears of War 4 follows the exploits of JD Fenix, the son of the original trilogy's main protagonist — Marcus Fenix. Throughout the campaign, JD is joined by his childhood friend, Delmont Walker.

Both JD and Delmont (Del for short) deserted the COG during a "classified" incident, leading them to join a band of Outsiders, who exist outside of the COG's jurisdiction. Kait Diaz, the daughter of the village's leader, joins you early on to raid an uninhabited COG settlement for supplies.

The new characters are likable and sport good chemistry as a trio, each with distinctive, but complementary personalities. 'Family' continues to be a strong theme Gears of War 4, with both JD and Kait prepared to risk everything when their parents get into trouble. Much of the game focuses on the rescue of Kait's mother from a new, but eerily familiar enemy, The Swarm.

One quote from The Coalition that stuck with me was this idea that the studio would have to "betray" fans to show them something new and evolve the franchise, and certainly, that's how Gears of War 4 feels in the earlier levels. The genocidal Locust have been destroyed, humanity has begun to rebuild, and the global military urgency of previous games simply isn't there.

As Kait, Del and JD battle through waves of DeeBee robots in hopes of stealing an uninhabited, 3D-printed city's Fabricator, the new leader of The Coalition of Ordered Governments (COG) appears via video, accusing the Outsiders of attacking COG soldiers. It's not long before you find out the real source of the attacks.

I won't be posting any spoilers for Gears of War 4, suffice to say that its one of the most intriguing games in the trilogy so far. The early stages really slam home the idea of this much, much wider universe, while reminding us of the totalitarian nature of the COG, which has often taken a backseat in the story.

The game kicks off with a flashback to the Pendulum Wars which established the COG's global dominance, and then towards the end of Gears of War 3, where Delta Squad were able to destroy the Locust with a massive, targeted radiation weapon. It moves you through the new world, 25 years later, showing how humanity is attempting to rebuild in the wake of the billions slaughtered by the Locust invasion of the previous saga. We're introduced to new creatures, beautiful, bright and colorful alien landscapes, and new characters, like the instantly lovable Oscar.

Gears 4

As you progress through Gears of War 4, it gets gradually darker. Incrementally more industrial, desperate and horrifying.

These early levels lull you into a false sense of security. As you progress through Gears of War 4, it gets gradually darker. Incrementally more industrial, desperate and horrifying. You'll traverse abandoned facilities, underground tunnels, destroyed cities, and the as the Swarm evolves, you begin to feel that fist-clenching life-threatening urgency that really typifies Gears of War.

I can't help but compare Gears of War 4's delivery to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Formulaically, Gears of War 4 does little new. But what it does do is build on the wonderfully cinematic recipe of its predecessors while delivering something that not only re-establishes itself as one of the industry's greatest franchises but it also acts as a signal to let fans know the series is in good hands.

You will be agape with the implications laid bare by this new threat, you will enjoy the way the game hints at a larger, more diverse Gears of War universe, and you will be enraptured by the return of old friends, and the light-hearted camaraderie that typifies Gears games. You will adore the way the game subtly references scenes from previous games. You will be driven mad by the twists and turns in the introduction to this new saga, and by the time the game comes to its shocking conclusion, you will be beside yourself in the knowledge Gears of War 6 is probably a long, long way off.

Gears of War 4's story is perfectly paced, utterly engrossing and above all, it is indeed Gears of War.

Glorious Goriness

Visual & Sound Design

It's strange to think that, despite being a launch title, I still consider RYSE: Son of Rome to be the benchmark for visual greatness on Xbox One. While the Forza games have gone to great lengths to prove the graphical chops of the Xbox One, racing games rarely have the pressure of capturing human emotions, which gives games an entirely new dimension.

Make no mistake, Gears of War 4 is among the most visually stunning titles not only on Xbox One but of this generation in general.

Gears of War 4's characters are lovingly rendered, inching away at the gap between video game and true photo realism. While Gears of War human designs historically feature blocky, almost comic-book style proportioning, Gears of War 4 edges towards something a little more realistic. Del, JD, and Kait are beautifully crafted, and returning characters like Marcus Fenix retain their signature look, albeit weathered by age.

Gears of War 3 is one of the most visually impressive Xbox 360 games out there, and Gears of War 4 continues that tradition with some utterly incredible particle effects, breath-taking weather sequences, and mind-blowing lighting.

Not only are the basic visual features great, but Gears of War 4's art direction is also on point. New gore physics and designs make weapons feel more impactful than ever, weapons like the iconic Lancer received more thunderous sound effects (to the point of vibrating my earphones with bass boost turned on), and some of the new creatures and environmental hazards are as terrifying as they are awe-inspiring.

The Mad Max-esque windflare storm sequences make up some of the game's most visually impressive moments. They send cascades of debris flying in all directions, painted with real-time lighting from arcing electrical strikes. Everything caught in a windflare is affected by the storm's wind physics, including the bloody chunks of Swarm drone destroyed by the game's arsenal of deadly weapons. All too often have I simply stopped playing to stare at the spectacle unfolding on my screen.

As described by our own Daniel Rubino, the Xbox One S's HDR features send the title's visuals into overdrive with boosted contrasts, revealing details otherwise hidden. Deeper shadows and brighter lights give Gears of War 4 a vivid, almost life-like realism, that combined with dynamic 1080p resolution scaling helps to elevate it beyond the benchmark set by Crytek's triumphant RYSE: Son of Rome.

All too often have I simply stopped playing to stare at the spectacle unfolding on my screen.

There isn't a single dropped frame, even the slightest bit of screen-tearing or vaguest hint of slow-down in Gears of War 4. It's one of the most polished launch titles of recent memory, never crashing. Using dynamic scaling and 30 FPS works well for the game's campaign. The resolution visibly reduces during some of the game's most intense sequences, but you'll be too busy shredding drones with your chainsaw to notice.

Gears of War 4 also uses a technique similar to Quantum Break for its anti-aliasing, making the edges of models appear blurry in motion. I'm not a huge fan of this particular technology, but it's a subjective gripe. It does, however, remind us that the upper limits of what's possible with the Xbox One's hardware have likely been reached, but it's fair to assume Gears of War 4 will be among the first titles to enjoy boosted visuals on next year's monstrous Xbox Scorpio.

From the crimson entrails of a splattered Swarm to the delicate trails of rain sweeping down JD's armor - Gears of War 4 is a visual feast that is as satisfying as it is gruesomely delicious.

Home is where the meat is

Gameplay

Gears of War's gameplay has a unique style that many tried to emulate in the Xbox 360 era, but it hasn't been seen much on Xbox One. Set in the third-person, Gears of War 4 is a highly cover-based shooter known for its gory combat, signature, heavy feel and cinematic showcases. Gears of War 4 doesn't attempt to redefine, or even evolve that formula, but it does refine it, giving it a glistening finish.

Split into three pillars, Gears of War 4 contains a huge amount of content. The campaign mode lasts a good 10-15 hours depending on the difficulty you choose, but Versus and Horde mode pack potentially dozens, maybe hundreds of hours of potential gameplay. And if Gears of War 4 is anything like Halo 5, it's fair to expect a good amount of post-launch content to keep those multiplayer modes fresh long into the future.

When it comes to basic Gears of War 4 combat, very little has changed. It's still a cover shooter — but the mechanics governing cover systems have been given a much-needed injection of fluidity. I can't remember a time throughout any of the game's modes where I unintuitively snapped into unwanted cover, which is something I recall experiencing with previous titles. The gun play still has that signature, Gears of War heavy feel, but everything handles a fair bit faster. You'll still struggle while dragging a Mulcher across the battlefield, but general movement feels nowhere near as lethargic as it could in previous entries.

While stunned, enemies are vulnerable to an execution attack, which is delightfully satisfying to pull off.

Speaking of the Mulcher, Gears of War 4 comes with an array of brand new weapons and combat features that keep the classic formula from feeling stale. You can now vault over cover by holding the 'B' button as you roadie run into it, stunning an enemy on the other side. While stunned, enemies are vulnerable to an execution attack, which is delightfully satisfying to pull off. Similarly, you can grab an enemy out of cover if they have taken up an opposite position, resulting in the same execution stunned state. Of course, this also means that your enemies can utilize these attacks against you. Thankfully, The Coalition had the forethought to include a counter move, which prevents the new techniques from feeling cheap.

Some of the new weapons include the cover-evading Dropshot, which sends a flying drill across the battlefield. Releasing the trigger causes the drill to burrow directly downwards, generating an explosion. Headshots with this thing are sickeningly satisfying, watching the drill bore into the cranium of your enemies ahead of an ensuing, gore-splattered explosion. The Dropshot sounds overpowered, as it can fly above cover, but it can be tough to use. Combining its skill requirement with a 4-round clip ensures the Dropshot remains balanced.

Another repurposed engineering weapon is the Buzzkill, which almost feels like an homage to Unreal Tournament's Ripsaw. The Buzzkill is a heavy weapon that sends deadly buzz saws spinning and ricocheting across the battlefield, dissecting enemies like a hot knife through crimson butter.

Like previous games, satisfaction typifies Gears of War 4's combat. Every aspect of it is designed to feel impactful, as though you're the star of your own violent action movie. Some of the other new weapons include the Mulcher-like Tri-shot, some ancient UIR weapons like the Markza rifle, and new robotic DeeBee weapons like the submachine gun Enforcer and blisteringly powerful Rocket Salvo.

Speaking of which, the first stages of the campaign will see you face off against an army of COG DeeBee robots. These deadly, but dumb automatons feel little more like canon fodder a lot of the time, but their accompanying heavies, swarming roller ball Trackers and cover-evading Guardians can make the DeeBees overwhelming without aggressive resistance. It's not long until you'll meet Gears of War 4's headline threat, though, the all-new (but familiar) Swarm.

The real nature of the Swarm is unraveled throughout the game's campaign, but in combat, they feature similar archetypes to that of the Locust Horde from previous games. The Wretch-like Juvies bounce off walls and dodge melee attacks at will. Complacency can be deadly. Drones are the more intelligent, cover-using Swarm, and their AI has been given a punishing make-over. They're often more aggressive than the Locust foot soldiers, happy to rush down with shotguns and get into close quarters combat, making use of the game's new cover-vaulting stun abilities.

Beyond standard enemies, the Swarm also have a deadly menagerie of new enemies like the vicious, cover-ignoring Pouncers, and the horrifying player-swallowing Snatchers. Each new enemy requires tactics fresh to the Gears of War franchise, which stops the game from feeling like a rehash with a new coat of 1080p paint.

There are plenty of epic set-pieces and boss fights scattered throughout Gears of War 4's campaign, but I don't want to spoil the fun. Still, these things are standard to Gears of War, but the fourth entry's new windflare mechanics give set-pieces an all-new meaning.

For reasons unknown, enormous electrical storms now rage across Sera's surface, ripping the environment apart with gale force winds and gigantic lightning strikes. As you traverse to the campaign's mission objective, JD Fenix and his crew are often caught up in these deadly meteorological death-traps, but you can use them to your advantage.

Most windflare sequences allow you to use the environment itself to vanquish your enemies. The wind affects the physics of most guns, warping the trajectory of projectiles. You can dislodge debris by shooting at them, sending massive battering rams sweeping across the battlefield to crush your enemies. The results of a well-placed shot in these scenarios are always incredibly rewarding, adding a new dimension to the Gears formula.

The fun continues in Gears of War 4's online modes, including the 60 FPS versus modes and the addictive 5-man Horde mode. I haven't been able to try too much Versus mode as of yet, due to the small amount of players with the game so far, but I'm hoping the game's new skill-based matchmaking system will pair me with players at my experience level. Previous Gears of War titles have been notoriously difficult to access for newer players, so these modern systems will hopefully go to some length to alleviate that issue.

I have, however, played a lot of Horde mode, which I'm happy to describe as the quintessential co-operative shooter experience on Xbox One. Horde 3.0 is class-based, giving players bonuses for committing to certain roles in battle. Snipers deal increased headshot damage and gain perks for spotting and so on, engineers take charge building and repairing fortifications, and heavies gain bonuses with explosives, heavy weapons and manual turrets.

Activities across Horde and Versus mode reward credits which can be spent on loot called Gear Packs, which contain tons of cosmetic items and skill cards for use in Horde mode. Duplicate cards can be destroyed and then put towards specific cards you're seeking, to reduce the randomness of the system. Upgrading your skill cards and leveling up your classes will be crucial if you eventually want to go through 50 ranks of Horde mode on insane difficulty, which, as the name implies, is a challenge best left to the thoroughly demented.

When you consider the 10-15 hour length of the campaign, the longevity of the online modes, the fact that Gears of War 4 also comes with Gears of War 1, 2, 3 and Judgement on backward compatibility, it's impossible to fault this game on value. It offers such a dizzying amount of raw, uncontaminated fun, making it such a pleasure to write about and recommend.

The torch has passed

Conclusion

As I was slugging through Gears of War 4's campaign, I'd planned to score the game 4 or 4.5 out of 5 for its polish, its visuals, and refined gameplay. It wasn't until I was playing Horde mode with Daniel Rubino and Zac Bowden and traversing the game's explosive, beautifully crafted later stages did I come to realize Gears of War 4 is a truly special, stand-out title deserving of a perfect score.

Gears of War 4 just feels great. It feels like the return of an old friend, and The Coalition masterfully weave that nostalgia into the game without smothering us in it exploitatively — which is something they very easily could have done. Gears of War 4's greatest moments can be found in between the lines. They're in the shadows of familiar silhouettes, in the tones of nostalgic sound effects, in every COG tag you find scattered around the battlefield, and every ridiculous, over-the-top set piece.

Pros:

  • Technical showcase for Xbox visuals
  • Polished to glistening
  • Satisfyingly gruesome combat
  • Engrossing story
  • Heaps of value

Cons:

  • Could have explored more new mechanics and features

I would have liked to have seen The Coalition take more liberties with the Gears formula perhaps. The game feels overly linear for a 2016 title, and I'm not sure what else The Coalition can do to keep the format fresh as we move into the inevitable Gears of War 6 and 7. Now that they have reintroduced Gears of War to the world and proven themselves as a capable studio, I'd hope that the next entry can go a little further to try out new things. But that's for another discussion, on another day.

Gears of War 4 is the greatest exclusive Xbox One has so far, and that's really saying something when you consider the likes of Forza Horizon 3, Halo 5 and Ori and the Blind Forest. The Coalition has solidified their guardianship of one of the greatest video game franchises of all time, and not only proven to the world that the IP is in good hands, but that Microsoft Studios isn't reliant on Halo to make its mark in the shooter space.

Whether you're a returning fan or a Gears of War newbie, do yourself a favor and pick up this stunning game as soon as you can.

Gears of War 4 launches on October 11th, 2016 for Xbox One and Windows 10 as a Play Anywhere title.

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Jez Corden
Jez Corden

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

85 Comments
  • Really? I'll incredibly skeptical because i haven't enjoyed any of the other games.
  • Then this series isn't for you, doesn't mean the game doesn't offer something people love. It's fanbase proves that.
  • No, but liking it doesn't make it the best exclusive on the console, either.
  • You are perfectly correct with your statment; however, "liking it" makes owning a console worth it for the consumer.  I have a PS4, but will not grab the latest Drake's...heck, I don't even bother playing my already owned versions of Tomb Raider, but I've spent many an hour on Gears 3 and have been waiting for almost 3 years for Gears 4.  Finally, here is a game that I personally would say makes owning my Xbox One worth it and a title that I can say is the best exclusive in my opinion. cheers, SEADRIVE
  • @Sin Oaris - Well then the series obviously isn't for you, then, isn't it? I am continually amazed by you people and your moronic mentality. It's like you've never learned the difference between subjectivity and objectivity - when you see something gets a good review you think that's a contractual promise that you, personally, will enjoy it, and if you don't you act like the review 'lied' to you... Instead of just realizing that for every game you like there are millions of people who feel the exact same way you feel about Gears of War, it's like your brains just can't process that there is nothing special about you. As though there really is an objective, absolute 'true' and 'correct' definition of a what makes a 'good game', and by a staggering coincidence that definition just happens to be exactly the same as your personal taste....I mean, wow, how lucky is that for you?
  • Wow, get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? I'll be sure not to have an opinion any more just to appease you, **** stain.
  • Exactly. I personally find them to be somewhat boring, but I can see that for the most part they are very well made games and why they win game of the year awards. Just like how I love Fallout (especially the first two originals on PC), but I can see why people that only play CoD (just one example that I have personally experienced) think they are terrible games that are boring.
  • Some other big name sites have said the storyline of this game is garbage. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I love this kind of game, my brother hates them.  Each to their own. My experience is almost exactly the same as Jez's (reviewer), and I think I'll be playing a LOT of this game, especially now I've almost finished Forza Horizon 3's incredibly lengthy campaign completely.
  • I'm not a racer guy. Forza rated super high, but I already know I'd be wasting my money. I've always enjoyed Gears. No reason for me not to expect to enjoy this one. Different tastes for different gamers. Happy gaming to you!
  • Best exclusive more than Forza Horizon 3?
  • Yes completely different games so I'd say depends what genre you prefer rather...
  • I can't take this review seriously given the writers flagrant Xbox preference and inherent inability to remain impartial. Anyone who can follow and converse with Xbox extremist people like Mooch and Crapgamer on Twitter can't be trusted to remain neutral. I enjoyed the read though, it was a good laugh.
  • You realize you are on a MICROSOFT site and he clearly states it the best exclusive xbox one title. I don't think he needs to be impartial. I don't give 2 craps about ps4 comparisons because I don't own one.
  • So calling yourself a MICROSOFT site is an excuse for having a positive bias now? I'm not asking for an objective review but a balanced one where the flaws actually make a difference to the final verdict would be a start.
  • You're not too smart, ill just leave it at that
  • You have no answer. That's fine.
  • I think you are no too much into the gaming - so let me give u an insigth about what is going on - there is a famous game that sony owns it is called Uncharted - and the the 4th installment of the game has been released this year - now let me get to my point there are 10 or 11 websites that are ( playstation ) based and they are Metacritic certified websites now if these 10 websites gave uncharted a perfect score + 2 or 3 outsiders did the same the Uncharted score will not be less than a 90+ average ( which is the case that happend with Uncharted 4 ) even though the game has alot of downs ( like animation flaws - weak multiplayer and so on ) - now lets get back to the Xbox side and thier latest games ( Forza Horizon 3 and Gears of war 4 ) do u know that there isn't any Microsoft or Xbox site on the internet that gave both games a perfect score except Windows Central !!!! I mean the xbox sites instead of improving the average score ( which sony websites does all the time ) they reduce the score so for example if Gears of war 4 is an 88-87 game the average becomes 86-85 because of Xbox sites - but the case is different with sony If UN4 is an 88-87 game the avarge rises to 90-91 and that is a big deal in gaming today ( Trust me brother u have no idea what it is like out there with the averages and scores and such ) I hope the point is clear now - The Xbox sites sucks really really bad and the only one that is Good is windows central ( not because of the 5/5 reveiws ) but actually they back it up with a top class review that makes u think they are in this business longer than the likes of IGN , Gamespot , Gameinformer and so on
  • Did it occur to you that maybe, just maybe, the review was balanced and the flaws actually did make a difference to the final verdict, and that the game is just genuinely that good with so few flaws - for someone into cover-based shooters, of course - to begin with? I do know what you mean, I took a lot of the praise here with a pinch of salt - I mean, he's not gonna come out and say "Wow, this game really is mediocre, I don't recommend it..." is he. But he managed to justify most of it by explaining exactly what impressed him, and from what I've seen of all the videos and what I've played of it myself, everything he says does dovetail with my experiences, so I can't fault it, really. And to be honest, you're not really any more likely to get a 'balanced' review anywhere else - it seems like the majority of 'reviewers' right now are more interested in stroking their own egos then actually telling us about the games. The amount of contrarians out there saying what they perceive to be the opposite of the 'popular view' just to make themselves sound 'original' is becoming sickening.
  • TOO MUCH LOGIC. I still wonder if I'll ever come across a human reviewer who is 100% objective.
  • Xbox exclusive mate...has nothing to do with PS4. Byeeeeee
  • This is not a Microsoft site. It's a site devoted to mostly Windows and other Microsoft things. It's in no way affiliated with Microsoft. Microsoft doesn't own it. Please always try to put things in the right perspective. This is coming from someone who is not a mother tongue speaker of English. And now to the matter of discuss, I don't care. I am not a gamer, don't want to be one. I'd rather be a player, running things on the world most beautiful beaches.
  • Then why in the name of god damn are you reading comments on a webpage of a review for a video game? You obviously do care, because - guess what? People who don't care don't comment. If you didn't care you wouldn't even be here - you wouldn't even be reading this. So don't give us that "I'm a superior human because I don't enjoy the same things as you lot" bullcrap. You're a phony, and I don't give a damn what language you speak.
  • Ok! Now go play Gravity Rush 2 on the PS4, oh wait! One more year and Sony fanboys are going to play Uncharted remastered remaster! Your salt is indeed a good laugh!
  • What are you talking about?
  • im talking about Sony fanboys that comes here to troll cause they are salty with Gear 4 being a fantastic game!
  • Yeah, i get that but your reasoning is poor, you point out that Sony just remaster games on an article for a game series that had its first game remastered.
  • Ah the good old Delay Station.
  • Doesn't seem like you read it at all. You're just coming off as some angry and salty individual because somehow you couldn't stomach the game getting such high praise. Here's a tip, it's a game, it seems good, it's not the end of the world and there are definitely more important things in this world to be getting worked up about. Cheers!
  • Best comment ever.
  • What does my Xbox preference have anything to do with a game review? The only fanboy here is you. Thanks for reading though. ;D
  • I'd like to hear your take on why you state *inherent inability to remain impartial.* Is it because you have been playing the game and feel different than his opinion? If so then do you find the review from IGN or other sites *impartial* as they are overly PS biased? Please elaborate.
  • What does this have to do with judging the best Xbox EXCLUSIVE?
  • "greatest video game franchises of all time" wut? By what metric?! Not sales. Not critical reviews.
  • By opinion? I for one certainly think it is.
  • Sales: Gears of War ranks 58 in the list of best selling video game franchises in terms of units sold, selling over 27 million, just beating Far Cry, Borderlands and God fo War. In terms of actual revenue it ranks at 25, earning over $1 billion. That's at the lower end of the list of 'best' but it's just in there. Critical Reviews: Not counting Judgment, according to both Gamerankings and Metacritic every Gears of War title's critical review score, for the version of the game made for its native platform, has never dipped below 90%. Warren Dance is right, though; 'Greatest' is a subjective term. One can say it about anything and not need to justify it. I think Soul Reaver is one of the best franchises of all time, and only 5 people this side of Pluto have heard of it.
  • well, the remake for win 10 which recently came out is a 73 on meta critic, and this one is an 85. so the last two released have been (not including judgement) the lowest rated in the series. not exactly great scores. I like​ gow just fine. it isn't, imo, anything close to one of the greatest games in history. Moms don't know it.
  • The best female horde player from gears 3 is a 64 year old Mother.
  • Soul Reaver IS one of the greatest video game franchises of all time. :3
  • Agreed!
  • Ah, Soul Reaver, my old soul sucking friend!  That was ONE HELLUVA game for its time!  Sound was perfect, story was intriguing, and gameplay was absoulute perfection.  I miss gaming back in the day when game companies actually tried to launch a finished product.   That said, I LOVE the GOW franchise (well, all but judgment).  I started playing GOW4 last night.  I have only played Horde mode, but just from that I can say that the game is beautiful and Horde mode is FRIGGING AMAZING!        
  • Embargo over I see. Damn you played it cool in the Onecast, seemed you loved it, but 5/5 was a surprise. Wish I could afford this and Battlefield 1. Be grabbing this in a sale possibly.
  • Really more than quantum break. Or best multiplayer exclusive packaged with a campaign. id almost say halo5, qb, fh3, fm3, and Titanfall are all the best for very different reasons.
  • Really more than quantum break. Or best multiplayer exclusive packaged with a campaign. id almost say halo5, qb, fh3, fm3, and Titanfall are all the best for very different reasons.
  • Welcome to your opinion :)
  • Yes, better than Quantum Break.  Sadly, I also have to admit it is better than Halo5.  It is addicting as hell.   ....don't need sleep, don't need sleep, must Horde mode to 50....
  • Great write up Jez, thanks! You've really got me intrigued. I'll definitely be getting this!
  • Thanks for reading :)
  • But it's season pass is a rip off.
  • Unless you really want to host private matches, you don't need to pay for the season pass at all. All of the multiplayer/horde maps will be available for free, just rotating monthly I think.
  • Agreed.  I only purchased the ultimate version for 4 day early access.
  • Welcome to every Season Pass outside of Mario Kart 8.
  • Not true.
  • Wow, it amazes me how many people who clearly hate a franchise will bother reading through an entire review of its latest instalment just to comment in the comment section about how much they hate it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • I've tried GOW but I could never get into it. I'm more of a Halo fan. 
  • I was the same. GOW4 changed that for me. Different feel, different look.
  • awesome review!
    It made me pre-order it today!  
  • Thank ye :)
  • "Crytek's triumphant RYSE: Son of War" --> Should be "Son of Rome". And, yes, it still is impressive how great Ryse looks, three years later. Glad to hear Gears of War 4 pushes the bar further, but it's pretty crazy that just 3 years into this generation, we're saying things like this: "It does, however, remind us that the upper limits of what's possible with the Xbox One's hardware have likely been reached", considering how drastically different later Xbox 360 titles look compared to earlier ones. Anyway, I look forward to playing Gears of War 4 someday, but, as I've never played a Gears of War game before (I now own them all thanks to the Gears of War: Ultimate freebies via backwards compatibiliy), I'll be starting co-op with my brother sometime later this year as we work our way through the series just like we did with Halo: MCC and Halo 5.
  • You guys will love it I hope. Have fun!
  • The co-op is really fun! You're in for a treat.
  • @coip Cheers, writing at 4am ftw.
  • You two will enjoy it Im certain. When you get to GOW 4 and need a player, let me know! name is the same.
  • To many games coming out to get them all, I wish I had a rich.uncle to buy them all for me.
  • Excellent write-up Jez!
  • thanks bae x
  • Awwwww
  • Great review. Cant wait until my download unlocks!
  • I look forward to many many hiurs in Horde. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I'm a big fan of the Gears series... I will grab this one but, at a later time. I just pre-ordered Mafia 3...a title I have been waiting years for (HUGE fan of the series) but, I need to finish up other games before I jump into this one. I'll grab Gears 4 in a month or so, too many great games coming out this month (Mafia 3, Gears 4, Titanfall 2, and next month the next COD).... No cash to get them all at once...but, I MUST have them all... Sigh...too many games, too little time. Thanks for the review, looks good and really looking forward to playing this one...  
  • Jez, I read your bias in this article and I appreciated it! I won't get to play untill Im back from travel, but I need a team to get to that illusive 50th wave, in Horde, find me! I hope the performance/visuals on a Day 1 Xbox is not to far off from what you describe for the One S. Good read. Wish I could play today!
  • I couldn't get into the first 3 GoW games. They were so...brown. GoW4 from what I've seen on TV commercials somewhat intrigues me. Is it necessary to play through the previous installments in order to enjoy this one? Are the screen caps misleading? Is it still a mostly brown/grey game environment?
  • Wasn't sure which to get first! Forza H3, Gears 4, or Mafia 3. Reading this I might have to go with Gears 4 and get the other two later. My wallet only goes so far :(
  • Got on as soon as it was available to play last night and played some Horde mode.  The game opened at 11pm here and I was lucky enough to get on with a good group (well, all but one in the group was good - but 4 out of 5 is pretty rare with random matchmaking).  I thought i had been playing for an hour when we all decided to back out and upgrade to get by level 40.  No, wasn't an hour - it was 3:30 in the morning!  Horde mode is FANTASTIC! 
  • Free GOW 3 key 6WDHF-VK4PJ-F2F7Y-P27HJ-2G2HZ
  • Free GOW Judgement key TTPDJ-2FYWT-G2W4T-2XT37-QRMRZ
  • Is it possible to play horde with random players online? And what happens if someone quits in middle of it? Does someone randomly joins the next wave or you are stuck with one player less for all following waves? Absolutely love the GoW series and horde especially.
  • Its fun and the visuals stunning on my 4k xbox one s.
    Co-op with wifey kicks butt
  • Lol all you people are so ridiculous. This is a great game so stop hating and play the game yourself and find out. I've already been playing for a couple of hours and its just as fun as the original ones. It's an awesome game and deserves the 9.25 rating from game informer.
  • Played 4 hours last night. Game is amazing. By far the best Gears game. Abd it has the best cover controls of all time. So fluid. So reactive. Visuals are ridiculous. And the new characters are brilliant. Really, really special game. Xbox is killing it this year.
  • This is the one title to finally warrant owning my Xbox One...along with the controller.
  • I'm downloading mine at the moment and will be playing tomorrow.
  • Be sure to tell us what you think here... or better yet, in our forums :)
  • Forza horizon is the best.... 2 ME ! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • The problem with a franchise is that if you add to much new things you get criticized...if you add too little you get the same criticism...so, here Coalition was caught between a rock and a hard place it seems  with this title...sort of like Studeio 343 with Halo 5.  The new weapons are cool additions, the improvement to Horde is great as well, and the chance to see old Marcus is as cool as Han Solo appearing in last years Star Wars film.  So, if you like getting off the planet earth and work frantically with a team of buddies to survive waves of death, then Gears 4 and Horde matching is a necessary purchase. However, if you only like the old limited COD formula of gaming or prefer the type of interactive movie theme provided with Tomb Raider's and Drake's, this may not light your fire.  I personally enjoy COD's, Titanfall and the like...I also acknowledge the work put into the Tomb Raider's and Drake's as well, but prefer this over all of them...at least for now.