Platforms PC, XBO
Developer The Coalition
Publisher Microsoft Studios
Release Date October 11, 2016

New studio. New Gears of War. After the letdown of Judgement, fans have had to wait a while for a new installment of one of Microsoft’s flagship franchises. The wait was well worth it, as Gears of War made a triumphant debut on Xbox One with its fourth iteration, introducing us to a new cast, a new enemy and a new storyline to kickstart its move into a new generation.

In truth, Gears of War 4 doesn’t bring a whole lot of new to the table. There are some new mechanics sprinkled throughout, such as dust storms which restrict your movement, open up opportunities to use the environment against your enemies and occasionally cover levels in deadly lightning. These mechanics are used with restraint, however, showing up infrequently at best.

Instead, The Coalition focused on streamlining the traditional Gears experience. This is the game that popularised third-person, cover-based mechanics, and it’s those mechanics that stand out as the best part of the experience. Battles in Gears of War 4 are fantastic, brutal affairs that pitch you into excellently designed levels against a variety of enemy types that other games would kill for.

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Gears of War 4 starts out slowly, spending a ponderous first hour or two pitching you against generic robot enemies. The game eventually supplants these standard enemies with more interesting, varied opponents who require an array of different tactics and fighting styles to take down. Combined with the weapon variety, that includes guns that fire ricocheting buzzsaws and flying bombs, and every encounter is a memorable one.

It’s the campaign that is very much the star in Gears of War 4, even despite its slow start and certain chapters acting as barely concealed tutorials for the new Horde 3.0. Multiplayer is fun enough if that’s your cup of tea, although the changes made to Horde mode can take some getting used to. Gears of War 4 features a campaign that sees the series at its best.

Check out Tom’s review of Gears of War 4 here.

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18) Gears of War 4
19) Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
20) Batman: The Telltale Series

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