With the release of Gears of War 4, the servers appear to be down. I would like to play horde mode to kill time, but the game sits there and says "Connecting to Online Services" and after about 30 seconds, it stops trying to connect (no error either).
At a recent event I had a chance to play Gears of War 4 multiplayer on Xbox One (Microsoft has yet to announce a PC version but it seems like a safe bet), and it's pretty good. It's familiar in that it feels very much like Gears of War multiplayer - Gears of War 3 multiplayer, that is, as opposed to Gears of War: Judgment's - but there are a few tweaks to the gameplay that stand out, and one new weapon that's sure to go down well.
One of the big issues with Gears of War multiplayer is that you'd sometimes find yourself embroiled in silly looking shootouts against an enemy who was crouched behind the same piece of cover as you. You'd pop up and fire your Gnasher, then your enemy would pop up and fire theirs. It was the video game version of that Naked Gun scene where they end up chucking their guns at each other.
Usefully, the Vault Kick can be used to seamlessly mantle cover even when there isn't an enemy on the other side. It's a little difficult to master the timing, but once you do, you can press and hold the A button on the Xbox One pad to roadie run, then roll your thumb to the B button to vault over cover when you get close. This, in combination with The Coalition's commitment to 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second visuals in multiplayer, should make for a satisfyingly fluid and responsive PvP experience.
It's hard to tell at this stage whether these new cover moves will significantly change up the way Gears of War multiplayer works for this game. The Coalition chief Rod Fergusson says these moves are optional, but learning to use them well will make you a better, more effective, player.
"It's like Active Reload," he says. "You can play the game without ever Active Reloading. But if you do Active Reload you feel rewarded for it and it changes how you play. The same is true for close cover combat."
Back to the game modes. I mentioned the five versus five team deathmatch Gears of War PvP is built upon. One new mode I quite liked was Dodgeball. Here, if you're eliminated, you can be brought back in by one of your teammates if they score a kill. So, even if you're the last player standing against five enemies, there's a chance to slowly but surely make a dramatic comeback: 1v5 becomes 2v4, then all of a sudden it's 3v3 and it's game on.
Dodgeball reinforces what I love best about Gears of War multiplayer: it's skill-based, and every player counts. Battles rage on a level playing field, no matter how many hours you've put in. Your Gnasher is as powerful as their Gnasher. And, crucially, because Gears is a five versus five, kills matter. You can make a difference.
Dodgeball drills down into that feeling. When you're the last person standing, you're in cover, the camera's tight and the enemy is on you, you know if you can kill just one enemy player your team might win. It's good fun!
While Gears of War 4 competitive multiplayer is reassuringly familiar with a few welcome but subtle changes, I feel like it's outside the gameplay where The Coalition makes the most significant changes.
The Coalition is doing something pretty cool with maps. Here's how it works: the game comes with 10 maps (nine new and a remake of Gridlock). Those you own, as you'd expect, and you're free to play them whenever you want.
If you want to play a DLC map when it's out of rotation, you can buy it with real-world money. From there, you can host a private match, inviting nine friends to play the map you've bought. The cool thing is those nine friends don't need to own the map to play. They just need the invite from someone who does.
"I like to think of it like a seasonal menu at a restaurant. Pumpkin ravioli is a classic on a fall menu. Let's say it's March and now it's the spring menu and it's citrus salad. And I'm like, damn it! I really want my pumpkin ravioli. How do I get my pumpkin ravioli? If pumpkin ravioli is the most important thing to you, you can actually buy pumpkin ravioli, and play it privately. So every time I go in the restaurant, it doesn't matter what time of year it is, I can always get pumpkin ravioli."
Like so many shooters, Gears of War multiplayer can be a daunting experience. Experienced players can tear up the less experienced in the blink of an eye, and because every player counts in Gears of War PvP, teammates don't suffer fools gladly.
Gears of War 4's Co-Op Versus mode lets players matchmake onto the same team to compete against new AI bots - AI bots that benefit from the transition from Unreal Engine 3 to Unreal Engine 4. The bots have personality types, Fergusson says, and so assume roles in the team. Some are aggressive, some hold back and go for the sniper. Some use cover smartly.
"In the past what's happened is, a new player would come in, say, I've heard a lot about Gears of War multiplayer, I wonder what that's like? And they get in and get shotgunned in the face five times and go, screw that. I'm going to go back and play the campaign."
Usefully, Gears of War 4's experience point gain system works across all modes, so you'll level up by playing Co-Op Versus just as you will if you play PvP or campaign. And by gaining experience you'll earn in-game credits, which are used for, wait for it, buying Gear Crates, which contain, wait for it, virtual cards!
In Versus MP, only personalisation Gear Cards, such as weapon and character skins, are available to players. Phew! There are also Consumable Bounty Gear Cards, such as get an XP boost for scoring 10 headshots with a certain character, but these are only consumed when the player accomplishes the Bounty. So while there's a degree of risk associated with their use, it's not a big one.
"There's a way you can enrich your own experience by using real money. But that's not necessary. Everything in PvP is a personalisation, its customisation. It's optional. It's a weapon skin. It's a character skin. There's nothing in the cards for versus multiplayer that changes the game. It's just about how you look. Everything is earnable through in-game credits. It's only if you want to expedite that, you can if you want use real currency."
So there you have it: Gears of War 4 multiplayer is familiar fun, and structured in a clever way. The beta begins on 18th April for those who played Gears of War: Ultimate Edition on Xbox One or Windows 10. It opens up to Xbox Live Gold members on 24th April.
Gears of War 4 is out and there are some questions as to how the all of that Xbox Play Anywhere/cross-platform play works. Here's how you can experience all the co-op goodness it has to offer.
Combo co-op is only supported on the Xbox One version of the game, and only in the Horde mode. Horde mode supports up to 5 players total, so two local players could team up with three other players online, or two groups of local players could team up with a fifth online.
The season pass is primarily focused on Gears of War 4 versus gameplay. VIP Vintage Pack -- Vintage JD character skin, vintage Gnasher and Dropshot weapon skins, vintage JD emblem, and vintage JD bounty that gives you extra XP. Permanent DLC map ownership for 24-plus maps -- At least two per month for 12 months for private play on dedicated servers. Developer Playlist -- This lets you play upcoming modes, maps, and variants before they are released publicly. Six Gear Packs -- These let you unlock character and weapon skins, as well as equipment and abilities, along with bounties that offer extra XP.
If you purchase the digital version of Gears of War 4 you can play it on your Xbox One or Windows 10 PC. Your save progress is automatically sync'd between the console and PC so you can start on one platform and pick up on the other. Players can play Gears of War 4's co-op modes with players on any platform. This feature works on all game modes.
Cross-platform play is still supported if you purchased the physical version of the game, but you can only play the game on the platform for which you bought the disc (i.e., only on the PC or Xbox One).
Can I use the same Microsoft account on my PC and Xbox One to play the Gears campaign and/or Horde mode in co-op? For example, I play the game on the PC while my friend uses my account on the Xbox One to play?
For an ideal setup, Nvidia recommends a GeForce GTX 1060, an i5 4690 (at 3.5GHz) and 8GB of RAM for Gears of War 4. This will more than adequately play. the game at 1440p - just make sure you have a 2k (or 4k) monitor to make use of it. With that said, there are other great GPUs for 1440p running at 144hz so make sure to shop around.
If you happened to check out our Gears of War 4 analysis back in early October, then you may have noticed that some incredibly significant improvements have been made to Microsoft's UWP platform since the start of this year, leaving us with a much brighter outlook when it comes to Microsoft's upcoming PC gaming efforts. However, there is still room for improvement and the next thing on the list is enabling offline play for more titles.
Right now, a lot of Windows 10 games require an internet connection to run. However, this week Xbox's Major Nelson announced that some new backend updates have been made recently, which will make it possible to play more of your UWP PC games offline.
KitGuru Says: As great as it is to see Microsoft improving the Universal Windows Platform, systems like this are still pretty limiting. Sure, it is better than no offline play at all, but it's still not a completely ideal solution- especially compared to Steam.
The Coalition Studio Head Rod Fergusson confirmed split-screen play will be supported in Gears of War 4 during an appearance on the Game Informer Show (via GameSpot). This includes both single-player and multiplayer.
Split-screen play will come at a cost though. The game runs at 1080p and 30 frames per second (fps) during the campaign and 1080p and 60 fps during multiplayer. The Gears of War 4 campaign framerate will be maintained in split-screen. However, multiplayer will drop to 30 fps. 2b1af7f3a8