Why Gears of War 4’s E3 Reveal Left me Unconvinced

by on June 29, 2015

Throughout my gaming history I have primarily been a Nintendo fan, then fluctuated between them and Sony for my console usage after the release of the original PlayStation. During the last console generation I was a PS3 user. After a dalliance with PC (World of Warcraft was my home for a long, long time), I settled once again on PlayStation. During my time with the console I would occasionally glance over at the 360’s software line-up and feel a little pang of envy. Titles like Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey were games I wanted to play, but I wasn’t willing to buy a console for them. There was however, one series that caught my eye that wasn’t a JRPG  – and that was Gears of War, Epic’s impossibly-manly dudebro simulator. But, I loved the Uncharted games, despite their inconsistent quality, and so I never did buy a 360, and never got to play Gears of War. Maybe one day…

It came as no surprise that Microsoft showed Gears 4 to the world at E3, and to be honest I found myself underwhelmed. The pace was plodding, and a grand total of three enemies were seen during the demo playthrough. Where was the bombast? Where was the pulse-pumping action? Where was the “Hoo-rah!”? Everything the Gears series is known for was absent during the demo. We saw only one enemy killed, an electrical storm that didn’t really do much apart from look pretty and some “tropey” stuff that was used to create a sense of elevated tension.

Gears 4 trailer screengrab 3 - shooting

Maybe this was a response to the criticisms of Gears as a “game for bros”, an attempt to change it up and attract others to it? But that’s not always needed; it’s Gears, it’s supposed to have that air of “America! Fuck yeah!,” and I didn’t get that feeling at all. It should be noted that this could possibly change, the game isn’t due out until 2016 and there’ll obviously be numerous tweaks and changes made to the whole thing. I hope The Coalition has enough people onboard who understand the Gears of War brand and can deliver the experience people expect from a Gears title. I’m sure series devotees are waiting with baited breath to see.

For the sake of balance I should probably mention that I was also a little underwhelmed by the Uncharted 4 demo. After Drake’s rather lacklustre third outing it was evident that something needed to be changed, possibly a return to the more focused “one location” style of the original, or even the recent Tomb Raider reboot. But it seems that once again we have a globe hopping adventure with puzzles bookended by telegraphed firefights. Naughty Dog have an eye for spectacle, but Drake’s formula is starting to wear a touch thin.

I’m open to being convinced either way, but right now I remain a little nonplussed. Maybe I have third person shooter fatigue? Maybe I am way too cynical in my old age? I don’t know, but there are plenty of different games due for release between now and Gears – or Uncharted – 4. Maybe by that point I’ll be crying out for a really pretty shooting gallery?

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  • June 29, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Respect your opinion, but disagree with this: “Everything the Gears series is known for was absent during the demo.”

    Not at all. For me it’s known for redefining the third person shooter. The active reload, the cover mechanic, the roadie run… hell, even the Lancer! For me, that was all there, but wrapped in darker tone.

    Moreover, the darker tone *was* present in previous games. The first time you encounter Wretches in Gears of War, it’s a dark, stormy night and they are creeping around just out of reach. I dunno, I feel like people are down on this before we know anything about it. We don’t even know who the characters are yet!


    • Fraser McMinigal
      June 29, 2015 at 3:34 pm

      Yeah I agree with Adam, I admit that I’m a Gears fan boy, But that trailer worked for me. I’m even okay with the fact that we’ll be playing as Steve Rogers.

      p.s. I also thought judgment was okay.


      • Coty
        June 29, 2015 at 7:10 pm

        For real stop judging the game b y the trailer their intentions was to make a dark and eery looking game to keep the factor of the original gow feel the same, you think its boring and unappealing well then don’t play it just dont make a fricon forum on how it’s disappointing rather instead write about how your a self conceded jerk who wants to start a fight on the internet!
        Btw if were talkin about Judgement it sucked just awful


  • Paul Dennisjones
    June 29, 2015 at 11:20 am

    So, someone who didn’t play the original wasn’t overwhelmed by the trailer for the new one???

    The trailer looked dark, gritty and tense, much like the original. Everyone I know who played and loved the original trilogy like the look and feel of the trailer.

    Give it a chance and don’t judge it on Judgement, personally I think it could be Epic 🙂


    • June 29, 2015 at 12:15 pm

      I sort of agree, but at the same time, a lot of Microsoft’s conference felt like an attempt to win people back, but also win over new players, too.

      Also, am I the only one who thought Judgment was good? Not incredible (like 1-3 were), but pretty good all the same!


      • Paul Dennis-Jones
        June 29, 2015 at 12:19 pm

        Judgement was ok when played in co-op but felt too detached from the emotional side of gears which is what made the original trilogy so good in the 1st place.


        • June 29, 2015 at 12:25 pm

          I might go back and play again when it hits games with gold. I remember liking the multiplayer more than the single player. The class based stuff was kinda interesting.

          But yeah, the single player left me cold, mostly because of how the missions were structured. It was less like a single player campaign, and more like a load of score attack missions, for me.

          I always liked the Gears storyline, but I feel it’s unfashionable to say that!


      • Fayz 6ix
        June 29, 2015 at 1:00 pm

        if you thought judgement was good then please don’t state your opinion about gears ever again..


        • June 29, 2015 at 1:13 pm

          Well, when you put it like that, how could I refuse?

          Nah, sorry, I liked it. Didn’t think it was a world beater, but it was good.


        • Edonus
          June 29, 2015 at 9:40 pm

          Gears Judgement wasnt a bad game, it was just a bad Gears game. If you compared Gears Judgement to any other game other than Gear 1-3 its actually very solid.
          Gears Judgements only real problem was that they changed up the MP and left out lots of stuff Gears innovated and evolved. Again it wasnt bad it just wasnt as god as Gears 3 (or 2 for that matter and it was probably technically better than Gears 1 but being the original you get bonus points).


    • Zarbor
      June 29, 2015 at 4:25 pm

      Why would this clown give it a chance now? He skip the 360 though for the majority of the last gen while his PS3 collected dust waiting for Uncharted. Meanwhile the 360 had better exclusives like Mass Effect, Bioshock, Gears (that came out before Uncharted), Lost Odessey, Halo plus the multiplatform games ran better on the 360. Even the most loyal Sony sheeps were forced to buy a 360. Not this clown.

      He’s not a real gamer. Since as you said, why would you make an article about a series you NEVER played? He claimed Gears caught his interest but after several releases and even on PC which he was playing WOW, he never even bought the game to try it on PC. Really? And it caught your interest? How much is Gears on PC going for?

      He has no cred to be speaking about Gears since he knows nothing about it. What in the world does Gears have to do with America? Most likely one of the clowns who will claim MS only has shooters and is the big bad US company. Nothing says that more than Gears in this jokers mind.


      • The next week
        June 29, 2015 at 5:20 pm

        Another moron who doesn’t know that the plural of sheep is sheep. You are an idiot and your opinion is invalid because of this fact.


        • Zarbor
          June 30, 2015 at 1:03 am

          Another moron who has nothing better to add than grammatical correction. Go away fool, this isn’t English class, grown people having a discussion.


      • Claudiu Antal
        June 30, 2015 at 12:00 pm

        If you need to be FORCED to buy a console, than that console isn’t all that good. Also, Bioshock and Mass Effect aren’t exclusive games – sorry that you’re still living in 2007, the present is a really nice place -.

        I’m a PS player at heart, but I did play all Gears, Halo and Fable games – minus Judgement, ODST and the kinect Fable -. Even to me, the trailer from E3 was rather underwhelming. The atmosphere was nice, but it was a far cry from the original Gears of War reveal for example. Enemies seemed boring and the characters themselves felt like they were picked up from a different game altogether. It’s nice to change up some things…but at least for your reveal you should make sure to turn heads.


      • ReveltheDog
        June 30, 2015 at 8:29 pm

        Lol. Don’t cry too hard.


      • disqus_yHvGW3Su8x
        August 2, 2015 at 10:33 am

        I have all the bioshocks on ps3.
        Mass Effect is on pc.
        What came first doesn’t matter.

        In the end, ps3 has AMAZINg exclusives and won last gen in both sales and quality, also it didn’t break down.
        Xbox 360 started better but halfway in and on, ps3 dominated.

        Folklore and tons of other ps3 games simply rape xbox 360. Xbox 360 would be worth owning though due to being a better than xbox one system, though not with how much it broke apart.


  • Ricoh123
    June 29, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Can’t help but think this article came from the Sony damage control corner.

    The game looked great.


    • Claudiu Antal
      June 30, 2015 at 12:07 pm

      Except that Sony has no damage to control at the moment. Smooth sailing until the Bone hits a better stride.


      • Ricoh123
        June 30, 2015 at 1:19 pm

        In terms of hardware, agree. Hardware sales have been great.

        In terms of software, particularly triple a exclusives, Sony has had one train wreck after another.


        • Claudiu Antal
          June 30, 2015 at 4:17 pm

          Driveclub is a great game – at this point in time -.
          Bloodborne is excellent.
          Infamous: Second Son is decent.
          The last of us: Remastered is…well, no need to get into that.

          True, there have been missteps – The Order mainly, and the Driveclub launch, plus the delays -…but otherwise, things are running OK. E3 was great – for everyone -, the future looks pretty good and there are games coming to all platforms.

          I don’t think anyone, at this moment, is doing any damage control.


  • Bobby Griffin
    June 29, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    Wtf. Waste of time


  • WitWolfy
    June 29, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    So the author never played the originals??? WTF?!?!

    I might as well write an article about Mario Kart. Say I never played any of the previous ones but wasnt impressed by number 8.


  • Stickz
    June 29, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    It looked cool, nothing more nothing less. It was just a teaser.
    But did you really just say Uncharted is inconsistent in quality? Maybe you are talking about the vita version, I haven’t played that one, but otherwise 1-3 are top notch quality


  • datdude
    June 29, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    I played the first 3 gears of war, and skipped judgement….after gears 3 I was a bit burned out on the series. The gears 4 reveal was disappointing to me because I assumed a fresh new take on the series, heading it in a new direction with story but more importantly with new gameplay mechanics. What I saw was virtually identical to my memories from gears 3…same roadie run, same chainsaw mechanic, same bullet trace, same lancer, same knasher shotgun, same character movement…too much of the same, and not enough innovation. And the JD character isn’t interesting to me at all….now maybe he’ll have a great and interesting backstory that will save this initial impression for me, but I highly doubt it. Overall, it’s certainly not what I expected, and I hope they show more innovation in upcoming reveals of the game, but it’s not impressing me at all from what they showed at E3.


  • Kfal Balli
    June 29, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    Wow. That was a first look. The game is over a year away. I rather watch that trailer than watch CG videos of games with no release dates. Gears will have a much stronger presence at E3 2016. Until then just let the devs work.


  • James Roman
    June 29, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    The only thing I didn’t like about the reveal was that the game was way too dark. You couldn’t really see anything. Better lighting in the game would’ve worked wonders. Hopefully they’ll fix that.


    • kentray1985
      June 30, 2015 at 4:40 am

      You know they will. Just think about it, this was the first reveal and they showed you gameplay . Now think about what their going to show you next.


  • V3
    June 29, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    I guess don’t remember the origibal e3 2005 reveal which has a demo in a similar manner. This is supposed to be a tactical/survival horror game NOT a military shooter it eventually became.


  • Edonus
    June 29, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    This is just residual media bias and MS hate. Lets compare Gears 4 to Uncharted 4 and watch how clear things become.
    first thing we saw from Uncharted 4 was a CGI trailer of Nathan Drake in the mud and standing up in a jungle. That is all. results…..OMG greatest game ever Sony won E3 with that.

    First thing we see from Gears 4, on stage demo so we know its in game graphics they looked stunning, we saw some environmental effects got a little taste of a story element, saw a new enemy saw that some of the trade mark Gears combat are still there. Results….. underwhelmed.

    The bottom line what they showed for Gears 4 was great for a first showing. What impresses overwhelms and underwhelms are based on the viewers mental processing of what was seen. In simple terms it an opinion. But dont be fooled…. people have started taking too much stock in opinions and not the reality of the situation. You can have the opinion that Ferraris are bad cars but it doesnt change the reality that they are some of the fastest and most advanced cars.

    Whether you were over or underwhelmed the Gears 4 reveal showed an impressive game.


  • Jin
    June 29, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    haha you can’t write an article about something you know NOTHING about. #youknownothingnickgillham #GOT


  • Young Hassan
    June 29, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    The main character JD was not a Gears of war type character. His character and tone was very weak


  • ImOnaDrugCalledSheen
    June 30, 2015 at 4:19 am

    It did nothing to convince me I need to buy an xbone.


    • kentray1985
      June 30, 2015 at 4:35 am

      Your Ps4 didnt convinced you either. The PR and the fan boys did


      • Claudiu Antal
        June 30, 2015 at 12:06 pm

        The PS4 is riding the PS3 wave pretty hard. Remember how Sony came out swinging in that generation? Uncharted 2…BAM! Infamous 2…BAM! The last of us…BAM! Ratchet and Clank: A crack in time…BAM! God of War 3…BAM!

        So it’s less PR and more good will from a previous generation. People bought the 360 for its lower price and its initial run of good games. But the same people got shafted towards the end of the generation with the relentless focus in integrating Kinect into every fucking little thing. While Sony were putting out games for gamers, Microsoft seemed content with just doing their little Gears – Halo – Fable – Forza routine, and too many Kinect games.

        The PS4 was a shoe in for this generation. Every generation sets up the next.


  • Revolver Ocelot
    June 30, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Good to see Xbox fanboys still getting butthurt over a bit of criticism.


  • Daniel evans
    June 30, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    i agree it did nothing for me either but to be honest i didnt like gears 1/2 anyway as i found them very boring. they had pretty big enemies for bosses that was ok but for the most part the games sucked. i got a 360 last gen at the side of my ps3 for only a couple games as everyone was saying how good they were but honestly i found better quality elswhere.


  • June 30, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    Hi guys, I’ve been away, what’s going o…………


  • V3
    June 30, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    How dare you even write an article on a game series where you never played the original AND were a PS3 user last gen. STOP WRITING.


  • ReveltheDog
    June 30, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Lolling hard at some of the comments. Please keep it going. Top bants.


  • rob
    July 1, 2015 at 1:46 am

    So you never played a gears game and yet felt underwhelmed…
    Just retarded


  • Wisdom Thumbs
    July 1, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    So… this is an article about your gaming pedigree. Bad start already. But then you’re not impressed by a trailer for a game series you say you’ve never played. And THEN you say this latest installment doesn’t look anything like the other installments… that you never played. It wasn’t even a trailer, btw. It was gameplay. Do you realize that all of this makes your article a bad one? Before you take that personally, please realize that I’m being subjective here.

    Anyway, large swaths of Gears 1 and Gears 2 were exactly like the gameplay for Gears 4 shown at E3. Dark, brooding, not a lot of action, just stalking through creepy ruins and facilities while the characters chat with each other. Gears 3 had similar parts, but with four characters instead of two, and usually with friendly NPCs in the area.

    Gears also doesn’t have an “America! Fuck yeah!” feel, because there is no America in Gears, and Rod Fergusson went on record back in 07 or 08 about how they were trying to create a very multinational “United Nations cast of characters from all sorts of different backgrounds and origins.” Hell, Gears takes place in a country called “Tyrus” and it doesn’t even have a “Tyrus! Fuck yeah!” feel.


    • July 1, 2015 at 7:15 pm

      As you have actually offered some good criticism, I feel I should respond.

      I should point out that I start this piece talki about the majority of my gaming history not to validate my family credentials, but to show that I’m not only a single brand person. I go where the games that interest me are.

      That said Gears is one series that eluded me throughout my gaming history, and it’s one that I was hoping would go multi-format when Epic stepped away from single console support. Alas…

      As someone who has never played a Gears game before I can only see what I have seen of the gameplay through other means, so the slower bits have obviously eluded my sight.

      So, this item is as me, an outsider looking in. Looking for something to convince me that now is the time for me to grab an Xbox One and get into Gears. And what I got from the gameplay demo didn’t set my heart aflame.

      Also, just to say, I constantly refer to what was seen as a ‘reveal’ and a ‘gameplay demo’. So I’m fully aware that it wasn’t just a trailer.


      • Wisdom Thumbs
        July 2, 2015 at 4:27 am

        Fair enough, though it’s easy to get the wrong impression when any article starts with a pedigree. And I’m not sure why I thought you’d called the gameplay a trailer (I think it was one of the other comments and I didn’t think hard enough about it).

        It is a pity that Gears won’t be going multiplat, though the original did come out on PC, and apparently the remastered version is also coming to PC (but I might be mistaken). Still, there are benefits when devs focus on shipping a game to one specific platform.

        If you have an Xbone, you might consider getting the remastered Gears of War Ultimate Edition, as it’s only $40. It’s as much survival horror as it is shooter, and while the writing was sophomoric, it did tell a decent if minimalist story. Lots of showing instead of telling. Great game, and looking gorgeous. Doubly fun if you have someone to play co-op with you, since it is a difficult game and your AI partners can’t revive you (unless the new Casual difficulty adds that in?).


    • disqus_yHvGW3Su8x
      August 2, 2015 at 10:37 am

      “you have to be a mindslave like me for a corporation if you want to judge it, haters gonna hate”
      ^ no logic


  • Jona
    July 14, 2015 at 1:11 am

    Did you completely miss Gears 1 aye? This was so Gears 1 it gave me flashbacks. In fact, all of the Gears games have had at least one long, quiet section. Mon tae fuck.


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