I got an Xbox one for my birthday this week, yay for me. And in this Xbox one there was a copy of the first Gears of War, among some other party games that no one cares enough to remember or talk about. Gears of War was remastered of course for the new console and let me just say that it looks wonderful. I can remember back when the Gears of war trilogy was coming to a close me and three of my friends at the time all decided that since we each had the set, we would do a speed-run from the very first game to the very last during upcoming February vacation, with the wining team getting 100 bucks (we had each thrown in a twenty). Flash forward several years now and I'm playing that same award winning game from several new perspectives (from a 360 to a 1 and from a high schooler to a university student) and I come to realize something important.
The game I'm playing will be the exact same as Gears of War 4. A good eleven-ish years later and the only thing that will have changed will be the plot and the visuals. And the plot has changed in the most basic of ways. It's gone from the 'gruff soldier and co. fighting for the survival of mankind' to 'my daddy was important and now I'm going off on my coming-of-age adventure' in the most cliche feeling way imaginable.
You've gone from the Locust hordes to a foe called The Swarm. Yes, that's the route we're going to take with our Gears of War 3 sequel. Marcus Fenix's son, our new protagonist will likely be fighting cut and paste Locust with his two friends, who happen to be hispanic and african (if character portraits and names are anything to go by) kind of like how his dad had a hispanic and african friend, but different because they're all younger and even though gameplay shows mechanics are just copied and pasted, its different because this is 2016.
But that's it isn't it? It's the current year you guys. Yes, Gears of War had a award-winning formula and yes, Gears of War was a good trilogy but was Gears of War 4 a game that really needed to be made? Think back to the ending of Gears of War 3. Carmine was alive, the Locust were gone, everyone was on one big tropical Island and Anya Stroud had just told Marcus that mankind finally had a future now that the war was over. Boom. Done, perfect. A satisfying end to a satisfying series.
Do I think that Gears of War 4 will sell a lot of copies? Yes. Do I think it'll be a particularly satisfying experience? No. Because I already have four Gears of War games that are doing the same thing that this one is doing, except the plot is actually solid and the characters are not cutouts of the ones from previous installments. I think the problem with the new Gears of War will be that it's going to use the same formula in an age where all of the people who remember that formula best have since grown, and now want something new. Gears of War 4 feels more like a value title, something made just so they could throw something out there. And based on what I've seen and read I won't be buying.