E3: Gears of War 4 looks spectacular, but seems to be lacking

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To kick off the Microsoft 2016 press conference, live gameplay of Gears of War 4 was shown. The Coalition (the Canadian developer now in charge of the series after Microsoft bought the complete rights to the game from Epic Games) showcased just about 8 minutes of gameplay and two new weapons, which looked more of the same from the original trilogy, only with some beautiful graphics. If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, you may want to watch it before reading on.

The eight-minute live gameplay demo wasn’t bad. It was exactly what Gears of War fans have come to enjoy over the last 10 years. This story is set years later with a whole new team so it would be expected that something would be different right? Well, sadly, no. while it’s only a small taste of the game, the biggest problem with the trailer was that nothing new really stood out, aside from the improved graphics and new faces. We did see a cool scene at the end as JD has to dodge some deadly rays, but that was about it. No new weapons, no insanely powerful creatures, not even some fighting with any type of vehicle.

It’s not unusual at E3 for a company to just show off the same gameplay trailer that was shown during the press conferences. In actuality, it’s a pretty normal thing, sometimes with small variations; but for the most part, you are just watching the same scenes and moments once again, like if it was just one recording, played over and over. Luckily, this wasn’t the case for GoW 4, as Microsoft revealed a new 20-minute live gameplay demo, which wasn’t the same one shown during the press conference. This one featured a different level of the game. But what we get is more of the same, with nothing that really stands out, as the team fights through hordes of the new half human/half locusts enemies as the game showed off a new cover system where you use these cocoon like items to create cover. It isn’t until the end of the demo where we at least get to see our first boss-like creature (or should I say three) that fights by chucking some kind of substance at you, lunging at you. Defeating it brings two more of the same creatures you need to fight at the same time.

Watching the second Gears of War 4 live demonstration left me feeling the same as the Microsoft press conference demonstration: it lacked any flare, it felt simple and re-hashed, with the Coalition not really adding its own touch to the series, originally made by Epic Games. I hope this isn’t true for the rest of the game, because there is so much to be desired from it, especially since it’s being made for the Xbox One.

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There was one thing that really left my unsatisfied with both demos, and that is the severe lack of personality the new cast of characters have shown. The first three GoW games were not only amazing to play, because of the gameplay, but also the characters each brought something that really kept you interested. Whether it was the rough and angry voice of Marcus (who was voiced by the amazing John DiMaggio), the silly but serious nature of Augustus Cole and Damon Baird, or even Dominic Santiago, they made it worth playing. Sure, we heard a bit from JD Fenix (voiced by Liam McIntyre) , Delmont “Del” Walker (voiced by Eugene Byrd) and Kait Diaz (voiced by Laura Bailey), but it didn’t capture that same feel of the original. Aside from all the action, the only moment I was really excited was to hear and see was Marcus Fenix’s return at the end of the press conference demo.

Here’s hoping we get to see way more action packed moments, huge enemies, new weapons and more about the characters leading up to the games release in October. This series deserves it!

 

 

 

 

 

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