Gears of War 4 Review

Gears of War. One of my favorite franchises since I first took chainsaw to Locust way back when (2006). Now the first original game not made by Epic, or its affiliates, continues the Gears story 25 years after the world-changing events of Gears of War 3.

The Locust are a bitter memory. Survivors of Locust and Pendulum Wars have lived for the last 25 years in relative peace, a peace that they have never known before.

Gears of War 4 starts off with a prologue that gives a glimpse of Sera before Emergence Day (E-Day) during a battle at Aspho Point in the Pendulum Wars. The COG are fighting against the UIR (Union of Independent Republics) for data that the UIR has that the COG, and most likely Adam Fenix, need to make their satellite based weapon system (Hammer of Dawn) work. The entire prologue is well done and this portion specifically stands out as it’s the first time that humans fight humans (not counting Formers).

Anvil Gate as Adam Fenix’s Immulsion Countermeasure is activated

Emergence Day in front of the House of Sovereigns
The opening act introduces us to series newcomers JD, Kait, Del, and Oscar on a raid of unfinished COG settlement 5 in order to supply power to their own outsider settlement.

It’s here where you encounter the new enemy type, the DeeBees. Automated construction and security machines that provide the COG with unquestioning authority they need to impose on the populace rules and regulations, partially for the benefit of all, but also to maintain rigid order (the COG has never been about allowing too many civil liberties). The DeeBees also come with new weapons like the Enforcer, a rapid-firing smg with a forgiving active reload area perfect for frantic firefights. The Overkill, a shotgun based weapon with extremely high rate of fire, devastating from short to mid range. And my personal favorite the Embar, a charging pulse rifle that fires a high precision bolt at long-range, but without the scope because, you know, it’s made for a machine, that probably has little scopes for eyes anyway.

“it’s made for a machine, that probably has little scopes for eyes anyway.”

Little things discussed between the characters help to flesh out the differences between the outsiders and COG in the post Locust War age. Kait arguing with the rest about going through a maternity ward because while she doesn’t hate kids, she hates that the COG would demand that she have kids.

First Minister Jinn is not a nice lady
When the team find what they are looking for, a fabricator, there is a short introduction to the new HORDE mode as the device is used to fortify your position with caltrops, turrets, and sentries. It’s a great way to bring all the game modes together in just the single player story.

Collectibles are dispersed well throughout the entire game, with the number of collectables lightening up slightly when either story or action take more precedent, but still enough to keep collectors going through multiple playthroughs.

Now to get to the REAL enemy, the Swarm. Without spoiling anything, the Swarm in terms of gameplay generally play similar to the Locust before them. The Swarms drones are, well almost identical to the Locust drones. There are some newcomers that offer a nice challenge to the traditional Gears formula of cover, shoot, move up, repeat. Juvies are the basic melee combatants for the swarm and function much like the Wretches, but that is where the similarity ends. Juvies are faster, terrifying, humanoid shaped creatures that cover ground quickly. It only takes a few shots to bring them down, but they are hard to hit. Another difference between the Juvies and the Wretches is that Juvies can dive into a “swarm nest” and come out Drones. They evolve. THEY EVOLVE!!! Pouncers traverse the map rapidly, jumping from cover to cover and flushing out anyone who happens to be behind it. The constant repositioning makes for frantic firefights that can be difficult, if not somewhat frustrating, for those with not a lot of skill in cover based shooters, like me… Snatchers remind me a little of the Reavers from the first three games at least in their design. They play very differently in that you are literally snatched up inside the thing if it downs you, and you have to hope that your teammates can shoot it enough times to get it to spit you out before it just leaves the battlefield. Each of the enemy types really has significant depth to them in how they all interact is much more apparent than it was with the Locust.

“They evolve. THEY EVOLVE!!!”

I won’t go into much more detail about the enemy types that you will encounter from the Swarm as it gets into spoiler territory, but there are plenty to make encounters vary.

Windflares. Sera’s new weather pattern seems to have caused major hardships for survivors of the almost extinction level war. COG settlements have developed windwalls and as for everyone else, not really sure how they survive since almost every building you run into to escape the storm during the campaign is almost immediately destroyed. Combat-wise, they change the landscape drastically and allow for new tactics for players, as well as enemies, to use to their advantage. Not only do the high winds affect trajectories of slower projectiles, like the boomshot, and grenades, but debris can be dislodged to either flush enemies out of cover, or to smash them into gory, chunky bits. Movement against the wind is hampered during a windflare, and if you’re not careful, some piece of piping is going to smash you into bits. As if that wasn’t enough, lightning bolts that must be crafted by Zeus for how long they remain, travel across the map usually in between you and shelter. I believe it was Del who said “Is it just me or does it seem like the entire planet is against us?”

Gears multiplayer is back and has a wide variety of game modes for everyone from the professional gamer, to the laid back guy sitting in a recliner while a 14 month old keeps hitting the D-pad and switching weapons on me. Dodgeball, a game mode introduced in the beta earlier this year is back and still is one of my favorite competitive multiplayer modes. Horde is back, and it really is more improved from Gears of War 3’s. Defenses can now be placed virtually anywhere you want them rather than the fixed positions in Gears 3, which allows for more thought in how you set up your defenses and tailor it to your playstyle. Points are now pooled into the Fabricator encouraging teamwork to decide what the points are used on. There are also bonuses depending on what class you picked, which isn’t so much a limitation as much as what bonuses you gain and what your starting weapons are. If I had one gripe about Horde 3.0, it would be that there doesn’t seem to be a way to upgrade things you have already placed after the Fabricator has increased in level. The only solution I see is to allow the old defences to be destroyed, collect the points left over, and build a new defence. I may be very wrong and it is certainly possible that I’m missing something, but as far as gripes go, I think this is pretty mild.

Another multiplayer mode that I don’t think has received much attention but is great for casual gamers is the co op versus mode. This pits 5 players against AI using all the standard multiplayer game types, Dodgeball, Warzone, Guardian, etc. AI difficulty is selected the same as it is in the Campaign or Horde mode and their is still a challenge to it, but one the players can dial in more rather than getting demolished by the Gears fan that has perfected multiplayer.

All in all, I think Gears of War 4 is a solid entry into the series. It brings back a lot of the familiar but also changes the formula up just enough to keep things from getting stagnant. The story is one of the better in the series and enough is left unanswered to keep you wanting more, but enough is revealed that the ending is also satisfying. So with that I am going to get back to my second playthrough and say, if you have an Xbox One, get this game.

Edit: After getting through all 50 waves of Horde mode, I did find that if you pick up the fortification you wish to upgrade, then hit X (provided you have the funds) it will upgrade existing items.

A face only a Myrrah could love…

Titanfall 2: 2016’s Most Underrated Game

Click here to see Titanfall 2’s frantic multiplayer 
The first Titanfall was established as a fast paced, parkour intense, shooter, with giant mechs to boot. It stands out as one of the few new AAA IP’s to come to gaming in the last several years, and yet, it doesn’t seem to be able to hold onto a player base. 

There were noteable criticisms with the first game, lack of single player campaign to tell a story that was constantly hinted at, but never really fleshed out during the Multiplayer-only battles voice overs. Though the core gameplay was absolutely spot on with a system of checks and balances that allowed players to be able to dominate the field whether they were in a titan or not.

Titanfall 2 seems to fall into this issue of obscurity as well even though it fixes many of the critisicms of the first game. A single player campaign that told an interesting enough story with strong dialogue and interactions between the pilot and titan, helps to get players invested into the world(s) of Titanfall. Multiplayer is still just as strong as the first title- fast paced, often frantic battles, are enjoyable and are approachable to new players competing against long time players with all the unlocked weapons and gear (no where near the same lopsided benefits to veteran or long time players when pitted against newcomers as in the Battlefield or CoD series, but yet still enough incentive to progress through the multiplayer stages). 

It probably would have faired better had EA not made the puzzling decision to launch it within weeks of a new entry in the long established FPS,  Battlefield. In a season inundated with futuristic shooters like Infinite Warfare, releasing Titanfall 2 along with an FPS that looks to the past was an obvious mistake.

It is a game series that seems to do whatever it can to make things right by its players, and it’s disappointing that it seems to go unnoticed by so many. 

Gears of War 3: HORDE Mode Rounds 11-19

Hey everyone, so just to get a sampling of everything that I plan to post on this site, the link below is our most recent YouTube Let’s Play where we try and survive against the HORDE in practice for the next Gears fight against the Swarm. Hope people enjoy this, it was fun to record. If you have any questions comments or concerns, feel free to post to the site or leave a comment on YouTube, whichever is most convenient for you and if you check out the rest of the channel and get a good laugh out of it all, feel free to subscribe it would be much appreciated.


No one cares

The whole election is absurd and it seems like everyone is distracted by the political opponent rather than examining the whole rigged setup, like dead people being registered to vote, which isn’t new but no one did anything when Christine Gregoire got elected by dead people (on top of winning by a smaller margin than what she demanded a recount on), and most likely no one will do anything now.

No one cares that Obama declared beyond a shadow of a doubt that Trump WILL NOT win the election, which strongly implies he already knows the results of the November election that no one has voted for yet. (Please don’t confuse this as support for Trump, it’s not, just pointing out how scary it is that someone already knows the outcome of an election that hasn’t happened yet)

No one cares that Hillary is as corrupt as they come, as pointed out by Sanders, Obama, and every other opponent she has ever had.

No one cares that Bill Clinton is one of the biggest violators of women’s rights to be in office in the last hundred years.

No one cares that the whole Epipen price hike was implemented by DEMOCRAT whose daddy is a long running DEMOCRAT senator, (i.e. not a Republican who everyone accuses of being heartless bastards who do things like this, which to me screams that everyone is capable of this stuff, and it is not something that can be divided by party lines).

No one seems to notice that the same policies that they support, like welfare and universal healthcare, also promotes the same entitled mindset of “hey, I’m the customer (not patient because they aren’t patients anymore, they’re customers), and if I want Dilaudid because my meth is wearing off, which I’m on because the state allows me to sit on my ass and not work a day in my life so all I have to do is shoot meth and smoke cigarettes and weed, then I damn well better get it. And while you’re at it, I need pillows under my feet and 10 cups of chocolate ice cream even though my blood sugar is 482.” That is not to say that people don’t have real reasons to be on it, but I have yet to meet one of them but I’ve met DOZENS of the others and every one of them carries an apple health and an EBT card, which they then take to the nearest ATM to withdraw some cash to buy a 18 pack of beer while their 5 kids wear clothes little more than rags, but they are too busy on their iPhone 6s plus to notice.

No one cares that our government hands guns out to Mexican Cartels, but then says American Citizens shouldn’t have them.

No one cares that mental health care in this country is next to nonexistent.

No one cares that American veterans are committing suicide left and right.

No one cares that many retired police officers commit suicide within the first few years of retirement.

No one cares that the US has given more aid to other countries, in both terms of manpower and dollars, than almost every other country put together.

No one cares that a man of such low moral fiber, that just spouts whatever pops into his head, is running for the highest office in the country.

No one cares that he doesn’t put one ounce of thought in anything he says or does and yet is running for office.

No one cares that the two main political parties are all part of the same clique and have been for decades.

No one cares that the media shows only one viewpoint and has no interest in showing opposing viewpoints, or if they do show any opposing viewpoints, they show it in a way that demeans the other viewpoint without any real evidence.

No one cares that personal responsibility is going out the window and has been replaced with blaming society for their own actions.

No one cares that the DNC rigged an election, we have proof of it, the guy who got screwed isn’t upset about it, but the Russians are to blame for “tampering with an election”

No one cares that Snowden is a fugitive for revealing how much the government is invading our privacy, but Hillary is allowed to send CLEARLY marked classified information on her own email server and the head of the FBI uses words like “careless” and “negligent” to describe her.

No one cares that the people who are in charge of the debates, who answer directly to the democrat and republican parties, won’t allow any other political party to be on the same stage, ensuring the stagnation of ideas that has gotten us to the deplorable state we are in now.

No one cares that most of the political memes and cartoons and pictures, are either photoshopped or are complete falsifications or manufactured quotes.

No one cares that most of the people developing clean energy or alternative fuel cars are letting themselves be bought out by gas companies.

No one cares that mankind has not evolved socially since civilization has begun, we’ve only changed the ways we get to the same results. (War, brutality, mankind’s general inhumanity towards itself)

No one cares that people are against capital punishment for psychos and sociopaths, but will think nothing of aborting an unborn child whose only crime is being an inconvenience to irresponsible parents. (NOT counting those who are victims of rape, and also not saying that those children should be subject to be raised by people stupid enough to not realize that unprotected sex will eventually lead to pregnancy like it has for all vertebrates for billions of years. There are other solutions that no one will consider because it’s not politically correct to do so.)

Speaking of political correctness, No one cares that it is just another name for censorship and that if we were just respectful to each other in our discussions and in our daily lives (respect: archaic term for treating others with dignity, being polite, etc.) then we could stand a chance at making some progress with issues that have plagued Humanity since the beginning of civilization.

No one cares that History is repeating itself.

First blog post

Hey everyone,

I don’t know who would want to read this, but I am starting this blog because I can’t stand the state that Civilization is in and I’m tired of being quiet about it. People should be outraged and things that I say may cause some outrage and I welcome discussion on any of it so long as it has some degree of civility. For example, don’t just say “that’s stupid” back it up with reasons at least because that’s how we can learn other viewpoints.