Gears of War is celebrating its 10th anniversary since it first got started on the Xbox 360. Last year, Microsoft released a HD Remaster self titled, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, which guaranteed access into the first beta for Gears of War 4 that is currently ongoing until May 1st.
In the opening moments of the first round in sweet 1080p/60 frames per second, I immediately rejoiced that I was once again armed with a chainsaw bayonet primed to do damage in the area. Gears of War is a nostalgic trip that is easy to catchup on with a couple of new additions that keep the multiplayer fresh.
It should go without saying that Gears of War handles a lot like the previous installments in the series. Characters still feel heavy to move around, while at the same times feel nimble when sprinting.
Previously in Gears, an active match would take shots behind a wall forcing teams to coordinate to get better position on the map. Instead Gears of War 4 actively rewards the player to move up to take position through the advancement of in-game executions, and cover takedowns.
Gears of War 4 introduces two new wall cover executions: a vault kick move and an execution named ‘yank and shank.’ With the vault kick you can jump straight over a wall without entering cover first. The yank and shank move is for those on the attack, and want to go for the easy kill. When engaged the player simply reaches over the piece of cover, grabs the enemy then stabs him with a combat knife. This move is a chained attack and needs time to pull off. I’ve had this maneuver end because players still take damage while trying to pull of executions.
Currently the beta features three maps and all look fantastic. Harbor, Dam and Foundation run at 60 frames per second, but sometimes the frame rate does slow down a bit when playing online. This only happened when meleeing, or when multiple players were in the same area.
Playing the beta was a nostalgic trip that I was glad I experienced. It felt like I was watching the first trailer, and immediately got excited when anticipating what the full game has in store when it releases in the fall.