Finally I got my early access code for the Gears of War 4 Beta (come on Microsoft, don’t you know I’m a hack video game journalist, I should take PRIORITY!) and got to delve back into the Gears universe. And as I say before each Beta impressions article, this isn’t a review, just my impressions of the beta. This, of course, is not a final version of the game, but merely an early access to it, so when the open beta starts, download it for yourself and see what you think.
As my co-hort Nelson said last night while we were player with our cub reporter Chandler, “It’s good to be back”, and indeed it was.
However, I feel this is an early beta, unlike say DOOM or Battleborn, who’s releases are around the corner (and ran more crisper) where as Gears isn’t coming out until October.
First off, Coalition is carrying the torch from Epic Games just fine, the game feels like the 4th edition of Gears. It felt like Gears. My original fear was that the game would be like Gears of War Judgement and they would change a lot of core aspects like that game did. Quick side rant, I was so pissed with that game, my favorite character Baird got his own title and they F’ed it up, that game was so unbalanced with dumb changes to the controls, I forced myself to play it and I hated myself with every hour I spent on it. Side rant over.
Coalition, however, did not do this, the controls and everything else feel like Gears, so we’re off to a good start. If you’ve played the other core Gears games then you’ll be right at home with Gears 4.
The game is fun but the Beta (and I stress Beta) has some problems, like pulling the trigger and your gun not firing, I had the jump on several players to find that when I pulled the trigger my gun did not fire a single bullet. Also there was some frame rate drops and lagging during the game. Also trying to link up with friends as well as finding a match took longer than it should have.
All of the above problems though I attribute to this being a very early Beta. Like I said, DOOM and Battleborn are very near release so their polish (as compared to Gears) was expected. Lagging and server issues with Betas always happens because that is the point of the Beta, it’s to test things like the servers so the companies know how much they can handle and whether to increase the power or not. These don’t bother me too much, as long they don’t persist in the retail release it’s no problem.
As far as things that need to be fixed and I don’t attribute to it being a Beta are the lack of a map of special weapons showing up before each map. One thing that’s great about Gears 1-3 is while the match is loading a map of the area would appear on screen showing you where all the power weapons were. This was great because it gave your team a chance to plan it’s attack out. However, in the Beta, this map did not appear and in the first two matches Team Clash played in we got our asses handed to us because we didn’t know where the boomshot, torque bow, or grenades were. Also a character select. At no point was I able to select my character but was randomly chosen for me. Also, where is the sawed off shotgun and retro lancer? Especially the retro lancer, charging at someone and stabbing them with the bayonet is so enjoyable.
All in all the Beta is fun, minus some lag and frame rate issues I have zero real complaints. Hopefully as the beta continues they fix these issues as they learn what they need to do to improve the experience.