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Posted May 4, 2016 by Andrew Cathie in Feature
 
 

Gears of War 4 Multiplayer Beta Preview


The original Gears of War was before my time, as I like to say. It released just before I started to really play and enjoy shooters, and so it passed by without much notice from myself. Over time, as I played through the likes of Mass Effect, Uncharted, Titanfall and others I began to form an appreciation for shooters that I had previously lacked. Because of this, I never had an in-depth or nostalgia-tinged view of Gears of War, but I understood from others the monumental impact it has had on third person shooters since it was released. So, while others may find the gameplay and style of Gears of War 4 very familiar, to me it’s all still relatively fresh.

My time with the Gears of War 4 multiplayer beta was filled with death early on, while I gradually adjusted to the movement speed and guns that feel so different to many of the faster paced shooters of today. Movement is slow and deliberate (you won’t be dashing at light speed here) and opponents can take quite the pounding. Basically, if you’re after a fast run and gun shooter like Titanfall this might not be your cup of tea, but if you enjoy the slower movement of a cover based system and taking out hulking beasts of characters, this might be exactly what you’re after.

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The beta contains two modes, Team Death Match and Dodgeball. Team Death Match is exactly what you would expect, a 5v5 mode where you do your best to kill the opposing team. The twist here is that unlike many other shooters, you don’t win by reaching a certain points total, instead you have a finite number of respawns and lose 1 each time you or an ally are killed. Whichever team hits 0 first loses, meaning that having an inexperienced player on your side can lead you to quickly lose even if everyone else is holding their own. As you get towards the lower numbers of respawns left, you’ll begin to notice team mates hanging back a bit, as opposed to being quite as gung ho as they were earlier.

Dodgeball is a brand new 5v5, best of 5 rounds mode, and personally, I love it. In Dodgeball the only way to revive a killed ally is to kill an opponent, just like in an actual game of dodgeball, and you emerge victorious once the opposing team is down to 0 players. Rounds can quickly turn, as I found out, swinging from being the last person left on my team to quickly killing 2 opponents and bringing the game back to a level 3v3 playing field. It’s a novel concept and leads to a real ebb and flow as you quickly change tactics depending on how many people are left on your side. If you have the advantage in numbers, you might run straight in towards the enemy and try to quickly overrun them, but if you’re the only person left you definitely won’t be running headfirst into enemy fire.

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While this is only a beta, it’s apparent that Gears of War 4 is going to be a good looking game, but there were some technical issues that crept in from time to time while playing. While lag and latency weren’t an issue, what I did find was that frame rate dips and hitches did tend to pop up while going through matches. The hitches were random, sometimes occurring when the screen was busy and sometimes not, whereas the dips tended to occur when smoke grenades were deployed and multiple people got close together to shoot each other. Again, this is definitely early code and there is heaps of time for these issues to be worked on, but it will be worth looking out for the closer we get to release.

While I may not have played much of Gears of War before, my time playing the multiplayer beta for Gears of War 4 has given me a thirst for more and I’m interested to see more of the single player content later in the year. The matches I played were all enjoyable, with Dodgeball being the standout and the odd technical hitch that occurred didn’t detract from the experience. At this point, I’m remaining optimistic about Gears of War 4 and am looking forward to its release later this year.


Andrew Cathie

 
Rocket Chainsaw's premier Fantasy-loving Editor. I basically play anything and everything that looks like it could be fun or interesting.


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