Gears of War was one of the top exclusives of the previous generation of the Xbox brand. Acomeback for the series has often been suggested, seeing as the core title that could make the sometimes sluggish-selling Xbox One console newly competitive in an evolving games market. Thus, the upcoming launch of Gears of War 4 is aiming not only to move more consoles and restart a popular franchise; it's also part of a major new push for the property in general.
The Coalition Studio's plans for the Gears of War franchise include not only more game installments, but also a feature-length film adaptation. Now that early reviews for Gears of War 4 have begun to make their way online, gamers will start to have a better idea about how the next Gears of War game turned out (lest they start looking too far ahead into the franchise's future).
While not every gaming site has published a comprehensive review at this time, the early reviews begin to paint a picture of a game being widely praised for its adherence to the reliable Gears of War formula and aesthetic (along with the new development team's skill at rebuilding the franchise faithfully in the image of its original installments). However, the title is also criticized for not delivering much in the way of innovation in the areas of either storytelling or gameplay. While praised for revisiting what works, many suggest that Gears of War 4 falters by relying too much on retreading familiar ground and on the built-in good will from prior installments.
Despite disagreements, however, a prevailing opinion that emerges is that the game likely will prove the shot in the arm that the Xbox One platform has been searching for; potentially transforming the landscape of an already volatile console market bracing for the release of Playstation Neo, Microsoft Scorpio and Nintendo's NX plaform. But, for now, how does Gears of War 4 stack up? Find out by reading the following review excerpts (with links to the corresponding full reviews).
Destructoid - Brett Makedonski
"A lot of plot threads are left hanging, even ones that are teased so often it seems impossible that they wouldn't be addressed. That will presumably come in a future game. But the best trilogies are the ones where each title stands on its own merits and Gears of War 4 doesn't really do that; instead, it aims to be one-third of a story that might eventually be good."
EGM - Ray Carsillo
"It retreads a lot of old ground, but it does so in a way that fans of the series should love, while setting up repercussions and implications for future games, paving the way for even better stories to come."
GamesRadar+ - David Houghton
"As an entry point for new players, it’s a perfect introduction to why Gears of War is important – an essence bolstered by several bold, narrative and tonal changes, but more on those later – and for old hands it’s an instant flashback to the best of Gears, but executed with freshness and vitality."
The Jimquisition - Jim Sterling
"After an underappreciated prequel in Gears of War: Judgment, things have been dark for three years while The Coalition took over from Epic Games to craft Gears of War 4. After an exciting announcement and promising previews, it’s finally here, and I have to say... I’m just a little bit disappointed."
Eurogamer - Edwin Evans-Thirwell
"It's rare to find an action game campaign nowadays that is quite as restful as this one, for all the well-greased frenzy of the gunfights - a calm born of the steadiness with which the game's corridor crawls, narrative interludes, setpieces and "combat bowls" lock together, and the care, admittedly to the point of hesitancy, with which it makes you the master of each weapon or variable."
IGN - Ryan McCaffrey
"The plot structure follows many of the same recognizable beats of the tale that started it all, and by the end you’ve been on a great ride that is both familiar and new at the same time."
Polygon - Arthur Gies
"Gears of War 4 at times seems to have more ideas than it has time or bandwidth to explore. This often results in a game that feels like a refined reboot rather than something truly new or different. But Gears of War 4 serves as an effective statement of intent, bringing Gears forward and competing with the modern vanguard of competitive shooters."
Windows Central - Jez Corden
"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."
Finder.com - Clint McCreadle
"The innovations drip out molasses slow, however, and boredom sets in when your enemies are all robots. I don't know about you, but playing what feels like an extended tutorial for two acts, chainsawing Transformers rejects isn't what I signed up for."
Wired - Jake Muncy
"Gears of War 4 feels like a series refreshed, with a new, lighter tone orbiting the fundamental realities that always aligned the Gears cosmos."
Gamespot - Mike Mahardy
"The Gears franchise has always hidden a quality story beneath its macho jargon and shallow jokes, but new studio The Coalition doesn't find much depth in its storytelling: the humor is irritating, romances emerge on an insincere whim, and I never felt as if the characters actually cared about each other. Dialogue serves mainly as exposition, without the nuances that could otherwise flesh out complex relationships among the cast."
PC Gamer - Wes Fenlon
"Gears of War 4 is a slightly newer, much prettier version of a game I've played a dozen times before. It's an expensive-looking, well-made toy that I'll completely forget in a few months."
Gears of War 4 will be available to purchase from all participating retailers on October 11, 2016 for Xbox One and PC.
Source: Various (see the above links)