Gears of War 4 - Xbox One

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Viewed: 3D Third-person, over the shoulder Genre:
Shoot 'Em Up
Media: Blu-Ray Arcade origin:No
Developer: The Coalition Soft. Co.: Microsoft Game Studios
Publishers: Microsoft Game Studios (GB/GB)
Released: 11 Oct 2016 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 18+
Connectivity: Live online enabled


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Gears of War 4 is a cross-generational title in a number of ways, none of them especially subtle. The most obvious, perhaps, is the fact that this is the venerable Xbox franchise's first outing on the current-generation Xbox One console. Then there's the fact that a new developer, The Coalition, has taken the reins from series originator Epic Games. The thing that really drives the point home, though, is the new generation of characters taking up the Lancer.

The game takes place several decades after the destruction of the Locust. In a bid to keep what's left of civilisation hanging on, the Coalition of Organised Governments has moved Sera's remaining humans into giant walled cities defended by robots. It's not a state of affairs that everyone is happy with, however, and a few outsiders are still making a go of it in the wilderness, prizing their freedom over security. Amongst them is none other than Marcus Fenix, but it's his son, JD, who serves as Gears 4's leading man trying to protect humanity from a new threat, The Swarm.

JD, accompanied by sidekicks Delmont Walker and Kait Diaz, is more of a Nathan Drake style hero than a grizzled vet like his dad, so expect some fun moments between the pair.

Similarly, gameplay pays homage to what came before while moving things on a little. The game retains the familiar cover shooter mechanics of its predecessors - take cover, make your way to flanking positions, pick up weapons drops and rely on your AI (or human, in co-op) companions to revive you when you take a hit. New close-cover combat moves and combat-knife executions bring new danger to getting up close, however. New weapons such as the Buzzkill and Dropshot, meanwhile, tinker with Gears' modus operendi by allowing players to shoot round corners.

And, of course, it all comes with packed-out multiplayer modes that include a new visible ranking system for fairer matchmaking.