With excitement for The Coalition’s Gears of War 4 heating up, one Game Rant writer takes a forlorn look at his PS4 and ponders over making another platform purchase.
Microsoft has been pushing exclusive and limited platform releases as huge incentives for the Xbox One in 2016, and it’s hard to disagree. Just this month saw the launch of Quantum Break, and although there have been some issues with the title, particularly when it comes to its PC version, overall the response to the game has been positive. In fact, Microsoft has suggested that the game is the biggest-selling new Microsoft IP of this generation.
However, there is one Xbox One exclusive that potentially has even more hype surrounding it than Quantum Break. That title is Gears of War 4, the upcoming sequel to the acclaimed third-person shooter franchise. With the original trilogy in particular taking a place in Xbox gaming history, a lot is expected of this new installment in the series.
The gaming community recently got a fresh look at the title, in the form of a stunning new trailer. Shown during the season two debut of AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead, this new Gears of War 4 trailer continued the franchise’s trend for fantastic trailers in advance of a game’s release. Giving a look at new protagonist JD, along with cameos of Marcus and Anya, fans of the franchise were left wowed by this brief glimpse at the game world.
As such, plenty of gamers were even more excited for the game’s release, counting down the days until October 11. However, there is one fairly large demographic of console gamers who may be feeling a little left out by the anticipation surrounding Gears of War 4: PS4 owners. After all, the series has always been exclusive to Xbox (with the exception of the original game’s PC port), and PlayStation users have never had the chance to play the games on their platform of choice.
Unfortunately, for the first time in Gears of War history, that group of gamers includes me. In the previous console generation, I was firmly in the Xbox 360 camp, and thoroughly enjoyed the Gears of War series, alongside other standouts like Halo 3 and Forza Motorsport 3. However, when it came to this generation of consoles, I made the jump back over to PlayStation.
It has to be said that, overall, I am incredibly happy with the PS4. I’ve been able to enjoy the giddy high of the LittleBigPlanet series for the first time of my own accord, while Sony’s dedication to high-quality remastered versions of games from the previous generation has been much appreciated through the likes of The Last Of Us and the Uncharted franchise. There’s a reason why the console is proving to be incredibly popular with gamers.
However, the release of the new Gears of War 4 trailer has definitely left me pining for an Xbox One. Even though the PS4 has proved to be an outstanding platform, the idea of missing out on a Gears of War game is a very disappointing thought. Although Gears of War: Judgment was a bit of a misstep, the series has routinely provided fantastic entertainment.
In fact, the Gears of War franchise holds a special place in my heart. Without getting overly sentimental over a series that primarily involves killing hulking subterranean beasts with a chainsaw machine gun, the original trilogy brings back great memories of playing co-op campaigns with my old housemates, sneaking games between university assignments, and generally enjoying the last great hurrah of split-screen gaming.
It’s not just this feeling of nostalgia that keeps me longing for Gears of War 4, however. The title looks like it’s going to make a strong return to the franchise’s roots, with developer The Coalition suggesting since the game’s inception that those horror themes that fit the game’s atmosphere so well in the first installment would be making a strong return to the fore. Meanwhile, even though split-screen gameplay and couch co-op in general seems to be dropping off the list of needed features on new games, Gears of War 4 will get back to the series staple of 2-player cooperative play.
It’s development choices like this that truly make Gears of War 4 stand out from some of the other Xbox One games that have seen release. The loss of split-screen from Halo 5 was extremely disappointing, particularly for proponents of split-screen as an additional gameplay option. It seems as though The Coalition has eschewed some mainstream design choices in favor of creating a game that truly speaks to Gears of War fans – after all, it’s rare to see a series return to horror themes after taking steps towards set-piece action, as fans of Resident Evil and Dead Space have no doubt found out.
Although having a respect for the previous games in the franchise is undoubtedly a big bonus, some of the additions to Gears of War 4 also seem hugely impressive. New characters such as Oscar and Reyna look set to add a new dimension to the series, while the new trio of JD, Del, and Kait will hopefully prove to be just as strong a set of main characters as Dom and Marcus and the rest of Delta squad from the original games.
In fact, there’s very little about Gears of War 4 that looks concerning as of yet. Although a number of details surrounding the game have yet to be announced, there has been more than enough for gamers to get a general idea of what to expect. Already, The Coalition has taken a proactive approach to sharing details of the game’s new enemies and weapons, which will hopefully stop the gameplay from feeling a little stale. Even the idea of gore and profanity filters of the title could prove useful for those looking for additional ways to control their content in-game, although exactly how successful a gore filter on a game as violent as Gears of War can be remains to be seen.
All in all, then, Gears of War 4 is nearly enough to make me doubt my PS4 purchase. The franchise has a huge place of importance in my personal gaming history, as well as in the realm of video game shooters as a whole, and it will be a genuine shame to miss it – particularly if The Coalition includes a much-wanted Carmine appearance. Until then, I will be keeping my fingers crossed that rumors of a possible PC release prove to be true.
Gears of War 4 arrives exclusively for Xbox One on October 11, 2016.