Review: Gears of War 4

The Gears of War franchise could have easily died after Gears of War: Judgment. The unnecessary fourth installment received a poorer-than-usual commercial response and Epic Games soon moved onto other projects. Yet just when the series appeared to be bleeding out, The Coalition (and Microsoft) breathed new life into it with Gears of War 4. The new game features tongue-in-cheek humour, ridiculous battle sequences, and solid co-op play, making Gears of War 4 a high-octane bro-fest that is accessible for both new and veteran players.

At its core, Gears of War 4 recognizes the appeal of blasting enemies’ faces off with overpowered weapons. The latest installment in the third-person shooter series is unapologetically gory, and it’s better for it. The human-on-monster-and-robot violence never crosses into horrific or realistic territory, which makes the blood and guts seem irreverent in the most sophisticated way possible. Gears of War 4 has a ridiculous tone that is in line with what the series has always brought to the table.

Gears of War 4 is also a reboot of sorts. Though the game retains its core combat mechanics and exaggerated art style, the story kicks off when Marcus Fenix, the protagonist of the previous numbered installments, is taken captive by enemy forces. The game then introduces a new generation of monster hunters: Del Walker, Kait Diaz, and Marcus’s son J.D. The characters toe the line between stock tropes and lazy stereotypes, but it’s unlikely to bother most players because the banter and dialogue is as fantastically cheesy as the bravado-heavy action scenes. The group is battling an entire enemy horde and attempting to rescue the kidnapped Fenix elder, yet they talk like there isn’t a doubt in their minds about their ability to accomplish that task. The ass-kicking confidence produces some serious belly-laughs.

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