If you haven’t already guessed, this article is going to have massive spoilers for the campaign mode of Gears of War 4. If you have yet to play all the way through the campaign, we strongly advise that you bookmark this article and come back when you have finished the game.
‘Gears of War 4’ has arrived, and we like the game a lot. We had a few issues with the repetition in the game, but praised its visuals and set-pieces. We thought that this would be a good place to go into some detail about the campaign. We’ll talk about the new enemies, the returning characters, and where the series can go from here, and that last shot from the final cinematic.
This new start to the Gears of War franchise has given us a host of new characters. Let’s start by looking at the trio at the centre of the game, JD, Del, and Kait. For the most part I liked these characters. I wish there had been a bit more of the sarcastic banter that Marcus and Dom shared, but I did feel empathy for them. Part of this empathy comes from the fact that we understood and appreciated their motivations (of course they would want to try and rescue their parents). I also liked that they weren’t another group of bodybuilder-meatheads, let’s be honest, Marcus and Dom wouldn’t have looked out of place in the movie ‘Predator’. While it does stink a little of political correctness, having a rather precise mix of ethnicities and genders, I liked the characters enough to give them a pass. I also thought it was a smart move to give JD and Del military training but not confining them to the military (which would mean they just had to follow orders). I particularly liked that we were never given the details of why JD and Del went AWOL. I am more than happy for this to be explained in future entries, but it’s nice not to have everything spoon-fed to us. Special mention also has to go to Kait’s uncle, Oscar Diaz (voiced by the brilliant Jimmy Smits). He had the boisterous and sarcastic humour that I wish the rest of the team shared. I was so happy when they showed that he had survived at the end of credits.
With the prologue set during the original games, we once again got a chance to see Dom and some of the other characters in the series. Of course the characters that we really wanted to see were Marcus, Cole and Baird, and Gears of War 4 duly obliged. I thought it was a nice touch to give Marcus a period of happiness (even if it was before the game starts), this meant that when we meet him, he once again has a reason to be gruff and irritable. While I wasn’t surprised that Marcus was still alive at the end of the game, I think it likely that he may meet his end in either Gears of War 5 or 6.
It was also good to see Cole and Baird again. I was pretty sure that the person who Marcus was going to call would be one of them, but it was fun to see them both. However what I didn’t guess, was what Baird had been up to since the other games.
When I first heard the name Deebees in the game, I thought that it might be initials that stand for something. What I didn’t guess was that they were the initials of their creator, and that was Damon Baird. In the novel ‘Jacinto’s Remnant’ it talks about how Baird comes from a wealthy family and loves tinkering with machines. With this background it makes sense that once he had finished his military service that he might go into robotics. I’m interested to see whether going forward we learn more about how these machines built to help with the reconstruction on Sera were co-opted into military weapons.
The Deebees have their own range of weapons and a couple of them really stand out. The ‘Overkill’ shotgun is massively powerful at close range but only has a few shots. I don’t normally like shotguns, but this one works really well. I also really like the Embar sniper rifle. It may not have a scope, and you have to time the charge correctly, but if you get it right it really packs a punch.
I thought the origin of the swarm was massively predictable. I even mentioned in our coverage of the Microsoft E3 press conference that I thought the Swarm just looked like re-skinned Locust enemies. With the same types of enemies, the same weapons, and a striking similarity in appearance, it was obvious that this foe had its origins among the Locust. Quite what Locust enemy-types the Carrier, Pouncer, and Snatcher come from I have no idea, but they do make for some interesting foes.
Going forward, I’m intrigued to see what information we’ll learn about how the locust evolved into The Swarm. The end cinematic though, brings up the real question about the Locust and the Swarm.
Before I talk about the Locust question brought up by the end cinematic, let’s talk about the ending of the game. With Marcus surviving, it would have been a little cheesy to have Kait’s mother making it out alive as well. I thought this loss was handled well with both characters giving moving and believable reactions.
Of course the real zinger, was the pendant that Kait was given. What we know is that the pendant was the Locust symbol and belonged to her Grandmother. Did she have something to do with harvesting the emulsion that led to the creation of the Locust, or could she even have something to do with (or even be) the Locust queen? Whatever the answer is, I hope this is handled sensibly, as it is a bit convenient that someone who was rudimentary in the creation of the Locust just happens to team up with the son of the man responsible for their demise.
What did you think of the campaign in ‘Gears of War 4‘? Please feel free to share your thoughts and your opinions on the campaign in the comments below.