From Director Rod Fergusson and The Coalition
Microsoft Games Studios Presents
In the 8th generation of console video games, I got to hand it to Phil Spencer & Xbox. It is inaccurate to call a billion dollar company like Microsoft underdogs, but it is interesting to see how they invest in the company having switched places with Sony from the last hardware cycle. They lag in terms of sales, they suffer from a weaker brand and had a bad launch. In terms of games, Xbox Game Studios has bought some worthy developers (along with the Gears brand) to invest in. At the forefront of a new branding initiative, Gears may represent the turning tide for the vocal minority of fanboys the same way ‘Uncharted 2: Among Thieves‘ did for PS3 back in the last era. But The Coalition is no Naughty Dog (Ninja Theory is).
There have been flashes of brilliance in previous storytelling aspects of the series. The 1:00 Mad World tv spot put the franchise on the map, and its follow up for Gears 2 had a clever melodramatic hook as well. Tonally the series remains all over the map. Gears of War 3 stretched the limits of original series director Cliff Bleszinski’s capabilities as a storyteller, as a closer, its appropriately exhaustive. The smaller scale prequel Judgement by developer People Can Fly had its writers clear the low average bar for mainstream video game storytelling blending story with a useful flashback structure and declassified gameplay mechanics. Although as a prequel its use came of no consequential value. Fans should note, beyond the design aspects at the heart of the series with the simple yet sublime third person genre-defining gameplay, and its controls that remain mostly unchanged here, give or take explosive organic cover and a chaotically beautiful storm system. Beyond lies a world of potential, and a beautiful world at that. The look of this game rivals the benchmark set by Control developer Remedy’s Quantum Break.
As a broke Canadian student with a weak dollar, I can say dropping full price $80 CAD is an .. investment to make. And I’d recommend to anyone… Whether you compare Gears of War to the Uncharted, or the calm Halo 4 before the sh*tst**m that was Halo 5: Guardians time will tell. Until then the cogs in the machine will continue to turn via The Coalition and Microsoft Game Studios, and its safe to say, the series is in at least capable hands.
Release Date: October 11th, 2016
Notable features: 2 player Splitscreen campaign co-op
Reviewed on Xbox One, available on Windows 10 Platforms.
Series Ranking: Gears of War 2 > Gears of War > > Gears of War 3 > Gears of War: Judgement > Gears 5 > Gears of War 4