Gears of Four

gears4

When I think of Gears of War, I can’t help but think of boobs as well. Not (just) the hulking great muscled man-boobs of the protagonists, but the pendulous fun-bags of the female variety. Why, you ask? Well, partly because I am constantly and involuntarily thinking about boobs, but mainly because on a philosophical level, I think they both have so much in common.

The thing is with boobs right; they’re fucking awesome. Introduce boobs into a situation and it’s like; “Woohoo, best thing ever!!!!!!”. At first. Then, about ten minutes later, the hype has kinda dissipated. It’s not that the boobs are now bad; you’re just aware of their limited applications, your mind starts to wonder and you move onto something else. Here’s the thing though; reintroduce the boobs again a short time later and “Woohoo! Best thing ever!!!!”. Rinse, Repeat.

This, I think, sums up gears in a nutshell. It’s really great fun every time you pick it up, but the gameplay is limited and stagnates quickly. This latest iteration is certainly the best version yet, but only to the point of being boobs with nipple tassels. It’s not Total Recall level of boobage.

But then maybe that’s OK? That third boob in Total Recall definitely takes the titty game to a different level, but possibly not a better one? Maybe it’s best not to mess around with a winning formula. I mean; how can you improve on a boob?

So that’s what you get with Gears of War four. More voluptuous boob, with shinier nipples than ever before, but little in the way of innovation. Without moving onto the penis analogies, it’s extremely solid stuff. For me, the gameplay has never been much more than adequate and it’s not helped by the way the level design will often betray any hope of subtly or surprise. Most of the time you can see exactly when the shooting is about to start before it happens, as the level will open up and you’ll notice a handy collection of waist-high walls to hide behind.

Subtly isn’t really Gears’s thing though and, to be fair, it doesn’t need to be subtle; it needs to be the type of gruff, macho, in-your-face bullshit that satisfies our more primitive desires. In that regard, it doesn’t really fail.

Leaving aside a shitty section where you’re mostly blasting robots, it’s the classic headshot popping, chainsaw gunning, frag throwing, splatter-fest that Gears fans know and love. There’s a new rodeo running mechanic where you can vault, stun and execute enemies… but it doesn’t amount to much. Environments are more destructible this time around, so you’ll want to keep an eye on your cover and hope it’s as secure as you think it is. There’s also some reoccurring electric storm sections that ramp up the drama levels. In these sections, strong winds will hamper thrown weapons like frags and also introduce opportunities for environmental kills. Taking out a restraining barrier, for example, will cause stacked logs to get blown across the battlefield and wipe out any unsuspecting enemies in their path.

The story itself brings me back to boobs, in that; I find it very compelling, but I can’t really explain why. It’s not deep, complex or particularly fascinating, yet I do find it entertaining. I think it’s possibly the steady flow of cut-scenes and how they help drive the drama that does it; making it like an interactive action movie. As this game is set about 20-odd years on from the end of the last game, just seeing how things are getting on post locust horde has some appeal in itself. As you play through the levels you learn snippets of information about what has been going on since the Gears defeated the locust for good, and how civilisation is trying to rebuild. You follow the story of a new cast of characters this time around, but there’s some welcome cameo’s from the original Gears squad as well. It sets up the series well for a kinda reboot of sorts.

Gears of war four is gears of war more. More guns, more guts and oozing testosterone, the game does however sprinkle in enough emotion to show it has a human side, and stop it from being too obnoxious. You may not be able to polish a turd, but Gears proves that you can most definitely oil a boob.