Posted June 27, 2016 by Adam Ghiggino in Feature

E3 2016: Gears of War 4 Preview

Microsoft famously has an array of ‘killer app’ franchises at their disposal, from Halo to Forza, but not all of them have been unleashed on their latest console. However, now finally Gears of War will be making the leap to Xbox One with Gears of War 4. Set decades after the conclusion of the original trilogy, Gears of War 4 promises a new threat, new weapons, new environments and shockingly, more realistically proportioned characters. We saw the closed doors presentation at E3, and came away excited about the future of the series.

The BCD (Behind Closed Doors) presentation was different to the one shown at the Microsoft E3 Press Conference, being played in 4K on a very impressive screen on a Windows 10 computer. At the same time, another developer was playing in co-op on an Xbox One on a smaller screen to the side, showing how easy it is to cross-play between platforms.

The set-up for the demo involved the new character Kate’s mother, who has been kidnapped by the new villains, the Swarm, along with her uncle. The demo showcased the main characters meeting the Swarm for the first time in battle, as they try to rescue her uncle. The focus was on co-op action, with three main characters, all newcomers to the series.


The first thing that struck us was the graphics for the game – which are excellent. Clean models and textures along with the detailed architecture of the world make for a visual treat, which is to be expected from the series. The weather system wets armour realistically, and you can even see raindrops land on items of clothing and start to run down.

The Swarm themselves include enemies that rush you in large groups, similar to the flood in Halo. They convert humans into new members of their race through weird fleshy pod-like structures, and they appear to be spreading like an infection throughout the world. The game seems to have more of an emphasis on horror elements, with the Swarm definitely the scarier counterpart to the Locust Horde from previous games, and several moments ratcheting up the tension, building to jump-scares. The characters too are filled with uncertainty and shock as they encounter this race for the first time, far from the veteran soldiers that Marcus Fenix and his squad were in the past.

The cover system is, of course, back and has a bunch of new elements to spice things up a bit. For instance, the gestating pods created by the Swarm can be used as your standard waist-high cover throughout a level, but occasionally they’re strung up on the roof or out of reach. You can shoot them down as you progress, dynamically creating areas to rush to cover as you advance. The Swarm themselves also seem to constantly be evolving, with new enemy types being presented routinely throughout the demo.


One highlight of the demo had to be a new weapon – the Buzzkill. Far from what its name would suggest, this weapon was absolutely awesome to watch in action, firing buzzsaw-like blades that bounce around the environment and ricochet for some serious dismemberment action.

There’s a lot to look forward to in Gears of War 4, and thankfully there’s not long to wait until its release on 11 October, 2016 on Xbox One and Windows 10

Adam Ghiggino

Owner, Executive Editor of Rocket Chainsaw. I also edit TV, films and make average pancakes.


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