Gears of War 4

A cautious revival but a very worthwhile one, which creates a great foundation for future games.


Key events

Gears of War creator Epic Games announces a new game

Remember when Epic Games flew the Xbox 360 flag with Gears of War? Those were the days. Now we get Paragon (open beta), a not-bad MOBA; Fortnite (alpha), a base-building survival game in development for six years now; and a new, somewhat openly developed Unreal Tournament (pre-alpha).

Oh, and one other game, just announced: Battle Breakers. A turn-based tactical role-playing game for mobiles and PC, with cross-platform play.

Battle Breakers looks like typical mobile fare, with your team's heroes stood on hex grids on your side, facing off against enemies standing on hex grids on their side. There's an anime style and tone to the whole thing, with loud noises and flashy abilities. Do I sound old yet?

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Face-Off: Gears of War 4

Digital FoundryFace-Off: Gears of War 4

A technological masterpiece for both Xbox One and PC.

In development since 2014, Gears of War 4 marks the triumphant return of the chainsaw-wielding franchise. While it may seem like familiar ground initially, Gears of War 4 is actually a game of many firsts - it's the first project from The Coalition - the Gears focused studio formerly known as Black Tusk - the first big AAA console game powered by Unreal Engine 4, and the first Gears title released day and date on both Xbox One and PC.

Gears of War is certainly an important franchise for the Xbox platform and it has quite the heritage on the technology side of things. The original game helped influence the amount of memory included in Xbox 360 while simultaneously showcasing Unreal Engine 3 at its best, helping it to become the most popular toolset of the last console generation. Times have changed as of late with more studios favoring in-house solutions but Epic has continued to refine its latest iteration of the technology, Unreal Engine 4. Now, 10 years after the original release, does this latest iteration keep the Gears tradition of pushing technological boundaries alive?

Let's start with the basics - Gears of War 4 is focused on delivering pristine image quality on both platforms. On Xbox One, the game presents a full 1080p resolution for most of the experience while using an adaptive pixel count on the horizontal axis in order to counteract GPU spikes. While playing the campaign or engaging with the game's horde mode (both of which operates at 30 frames per second) you can expect to see full 1080p more than 94 per cent of the time. In competitive multiplayer mode, however, the frame-rate is bumped up to 60fps resulting in more noticeable drops in clarity as the action heats up.

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Gears of War 4 review

RecommendedGears of War 4 review

Runs like cogwork.

Editor's note: This is our final review of Gears of War 4, based on time with the full game on live servers. If you want more in-depth impressions on Gears of War 4's campaign, our early impressions piece goes into more detail on the game's single-player.

After 40-odd hours with Gears of War 4, I have just one burning question: how on Earth did this game, the game with characters amassed from leftover dinosaur parts and a rifle you can chop timber with, grow up to be so bloody sensible?

Gears of War 4

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VideoWatch: Ian and Johnny take on Gears of War 4, Act 1

Getting their Cogs out at 3:30pm BST.

Johnny had so much fun playing Gears of War 4's Horde mode with me last week that he practically jumped at the chance to try out the first act of the co-op campaign with me. And by 'jumped at the chance' I mean we kind of had to force him...

I've been playing Gears of War 4 a lot this week and I find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with Edwin's early impressions piece; they don't make 'em like that any more. The wending, ammo laden campaign of Gears of War 4 feels like a rare treat - a throwback to a time when AAA games were built differently.

FeatureGears of War 4 is smarter than it is sensational

The Coalition's campaign is a sensitive and opulent retreading of some classic concepts and themes.

Editor's note: This is an early impressions piece based on a playthrough of Gears of War 4's campaign. Our full review will be published early next week once we've had experience of the full game on live servers.

FeatureGears of War 4's campaign feels like an Epic revival

Hands on with campaign and multiplayer.

The views may be pleasantly apocalyptic, and the second act may feature a motorbike duel with a robot B52, but it's the little things that really sell me on Gears of War 4 - the surprisingly delicate way it both harkens back to and departs from Epic's original cover-shooters. The fact that Swarm footsoldiers rush you when they're close to death, for example, where their Locust predecessors would often dig in till the bitter end. The presence of branching path sections that ask teams of two to support one another across a gulf, a classic Gears device enlivened by the addition of flying enemies and eccentric new flavours of sniper rifle.

Here's another 10 minutes of Gears of War 4 gameplay

Microsoft has released another 10 minutes of Gears of War 4 gameplay, this time showcasing the third-person shooter at 4K resolution.

The video, below, runs through the Rescue chapter of the game. JD, Kait and Del are chasing an unknown enemy through an old COG fort and come up against two new Swarm enemies: Drones and Pouncers.

Meanwhile, Microsoft confirmed the minimum and recommended and ideal specs for playing Gears of War 4 on Windows 10 PC. Of note: you need a whopping 80GBs of harddrive space free for the game.

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500GB and 1TB Xbox One S bundles announced

500GB and 1TB Xbox One S bundles announced

Coming to Europe 22nd September.

Two new Xbox One S bundles have been announced by Microsoft on stage at Gamescom, launching in Europe on the 22nd of September.

The console is bundled with FIFA 17 in a 500GB and 1TB version, retailing for 249 and 299 respectively. A month of EA Access is also included in the deal.

There has been no word, however, on any further availability for the Xbox One S 2TB edition before the Gears of War special edition launches, meaning it remains the best way to secure a 2TB console.

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Gears of War 4's PC-exclusive features detailed

Digital FoundryGears of War 4's PC-exclusive features detailed

"We sit at 28 different settings and we're thinking of ways to add more ..."

The upcoming Gears of War 4 will be one of the very first Xbox Play Anywhere releases, with digital purchases cross-playable between Windows 10 and Xbox One - but the question is, what exclusive enhancements can PC owners enjoy that leverage the more powerful hardware, and to what extent is the game customisable?

Tomorrow, Digital Foundry is running an exclusive tech interview with Mike Rayner, technical director for The Coalition, and he reveals some of the treats in store for PC users.

"Our focus on PC is to deliver a highly optimised, customisable experience first and foremost," Rayner tells us.

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New Gears of War 4 campaign gameplay features daddy Fenix

Microsoft's released new gameplay of Gears of War 4's campaign.

The video, below, confirms that daddy Marcus Fenix comes along for the ride during at least one point in the game. We only catch a glimpse of him in action in the gameplay, as the player is in control of his son, JD, throughout.

The video showcases the quiet/loud gameplay the Gears series is known for, with cover-based combat and environmental triggers.

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VideoWatch: Six strange moments from E3 2016

It's this week's Eurogamer Show.

E3 week is always a hectic affair. Typically speaking nobody has had enough sleep, everyone's had far too much caffeine and there's never not a huge stack of things on which to report. Small wonder, then, that it often takes for the show itself to close before we get the chance to reflect and realise just how weird E3 actually is.

FeatureXbox boss Phil Spencer: the big interview

"Scorpio is designed as a 4K console…"

Microsoft's E3 media briefing was strong, I thought, although its impact was dulled by a pretty spectacular set of leaks that not only revealed the existence of the Xbox One S and Scorpio ahead of time, but the running order of the show.

FeatureIn praise of Gears of War's horrible shotgun

A familiar monster bears its teeth in the Gears 4 beta. Will The Coalition finally tame it?

The Lancer is one of the most recognisable video game weapons ever designed - an improbable hybrid worthy of Jekyll and Hyde, which sums up at a glance Gears of War's oddly persuasive mixture of styles and tones. It is barbaric yet precise, a clownish torture device that doubles as an unpretentious assault rifle with a generous magazine. It's also the meat on the hook of a terrible trap.

Digital Foundry: Hands-on with Gears of War 4's multiplayer beta

Digital FoundryDigital Foundry: Hands-on with Gears of War 4's multiplayer beta

Xbox One targets 1080p60, but how's it shaping up so far?

The Xbox One multiplayer beta for Gears of War 4 rolls out this week, offering a playable sampler of a major Microsoft title not due for release for another six months. We were given the opportunity to jump in early over the weekend, and we were eager to see what new studio The Coalition has achieved so far. The ambition here is certainly lofty: while single-player campaign is confirmed as a 30fps affair, the studio is aiming for 1080p60 with its multiplayer mode - with Unreal Engine 4 providing the technological underpinnings.

Gears of War and Unreal Engine have been a ubiquitous pairing since the franchise launched on Xbox 360 in November 2006, with the success of that title leading to the Epic middleware powering hundreds of games in the last-gen era. Indeed, even now, ten years after its debut, it continues to power many hits like Batman Arkham Knight and Rocket League.

However, Unreal Engine 4 is a different story: as companies transitioned over to the new consoles, changing business strategies, competing middleware and new in-house technologies have limited its appearance on new consoles. As a result, aside from a handful of indie titles and the occasional heavy hitter like Street Fighter 5 or the upcoming Paragon, we haven't really seen any AAA shooters designed using Epic's technology. That is, until Gears of War 4.

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Watch: Ian's playing the Gears of War 4 Beta live at 3:30pm

The Gears of War 4 multiplayer beta launched today and anyone who owns Gears of War: Ultimate Edition should soon have access to it.

Anyone else who wants to play will have to wait until the 25th of April when the beta opens up to all those with Xbox Live Gold membership. If you can't wait that long to see the beta in action, why not join me at 3:30pm today when I'll be streaming 90 minutes worth of testosterone-fuelled gameplay?

That's plenty of time to have a good look at the beta's three maps, the new, faster gameplay and also all the new death animations. I'm pretty sure I'll be showing those off quite a lot. Not because I'm rubbish, mind you. Because I'm thorough.

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At a recent event I had a chance to play Gears of War 4 multiplayer on Xbox One (Microsoft has yet to announce a PC version but it seems like a safe bet), and it's pretty good. It's familiar in that it feels very much like Gears of War multiplayer - Gears of War 3 multiplayer, that is, as opposed to Gears of War: Judgment's - but there are a few tweaks to the gameplay that stand out, and one new weapon that's sure to go down well.

Gears of War 4 trailer channels daddy Fenix

Gears of War 4 trailer channels daddy Fenix

Hello Marcus my old friend.

Gears of War 4 has a release date - 11th October - and now it has a teaser trailer that sets the scene.

Gears of War 4 is set 25 years after Gears of War 3, and as such stars Marcus Fenix's son, JD. The trailer fuses JD's fight against a new enemy with a scene taken from his childhood, where Marcus plants a tree for his son. All this to a soul-destroying cover of Simon & Garfunkel's The Sound of Silence, which is only a key change better than the abomination that was the cover of Nirvana's Come As You Are Microsoft used for the Quantum Break TV ad.

"JD Fenix must embrace his father's legacy and battle a terrifying new enemy," reads the official blurb.

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Gears of War 4 gets global release date

Gears of War 4 gets global release date

While split-screen confirmed across all game modes.

Gears of War 4, which I'm still a little miffed isn't just called Gears of 4, has been given a final release date, with The Coalition's continuation of the popular Xbox series coming on October 11th.

It'll be coming out just over five years after Gears of War 3 released in September 2011 (though let's not forget People Can Fly's 2013 series entry Gears of War: Judgement). A closed beta that shows a slice of the multiplayer - developed in part by Bromley studio Splash Damage - is rolling out on April 18th for those who played last year's Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, and it'll be opening up to all Xbox Live Gold members a week later on April 25th.

The Coalition confirmed recently that split-screen would be present in all modes for Gears of War 4 in an interview with Game Informer (spotted by Gamespot), with the game's 60fps frame-rate in multiplayer taking a hit to some 30fps (the campaign is already confirmed to run at 1080p30). We'll hopefully have a little more for you on Gears of War 4 at some point next week.

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Gear of War 4 open beta detailed

Gear of War 4 open beta detailed

Early access for Gears Ultimate Edition players.

Gear of War 4 will host a lengthy multiplayer beta next month.

Early access to the test will begin on 18th April for anyone who has played Gears of War: Ultimate Edition on Xbox One or Windows 10.

Players will be sent Gears 4 beta access tokens in waves beginning from that date.

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There's a scene in Generation Kill, the HBO miniseries that follows an embedded reporter as he travels with the Marine Corps' 1st Reconnaissance Battalion during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, in which Sergeant Brad 'Iceman' Colbert can be seen running around a field with his arms outstretched, pretending to be an aeroplane. After watching this display of benign madness, or freedom for a few moments, one of Colbert's comrades turns to the reporter (based on real life journalist Evan Wright) and asks: "What, did you like, give him some Rolling Stone drugs or something?"

Gears of War 4 announced, gameplay footage revealed

Gears of War 4 announced, gameplay footage revealed

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition beta starts tonight.

Microsoft has announced Gears of War 4 and in the same breath unveiled gameplay footage.

In the video, below, we see two new characters explore a dark and creepy environment. There's wind, crumbling structures and a bit where some monster goop splashes on the screen. Nice! Then, the pair face off against huge and horrible monsters.

Traditional Gears mechanics are present and correct, including cover-based third-person shooting, brutal chainsaw action and barrel rolls.

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