When I booted up Gears of War 4 to an image of James Fenix my wife commented, “he looks like a meathead”.
“Well he is,” was my response.
Then Marcus Fenix, the protagonist of the first three Gears games, appeared, an older and more grizzled version of James, my wife said, “He looks like a meathead too.”
“Well he’s the meatheads daddy,” I replied.
“Where’s his mommy?” She asked.
“She’s dead…… but she was a meathead as well.”
My wife left the room and I dove in to the around 8 hour single player campaign of Gears of War 4.
All the classic 3rd person duck and cover gameplay that made the series prominent last generation still exists. It’s heightened by pretty amazing weather effects and one or two intriguing set pieces that change the gameplay completely. I personally could do without the mech combat near the end of the game but it doesn’t take away from a solid ride fueled mostly by one thing.
The tag line for Gears 4 is “Never Fight Alone”. And that is the series at its best. In the first three games you and your oversized linebacker buddies delved deep into the locust underground relying on one thing only, each other. Even Marcus’s backstory is filled with him disobeying orders to save his father. In the new one family is even more important as James enlists his fathers help and although strained as many father-son relationships are they still answer the call. The main story is propelled by new character Kait trying to rescue her mother from the new enemies The Swarm. And in the end of Gears of War 4, the final revelation is about family.
Family is what you fight for, it’s what you go to war for and sometimes the people who fight along side you become the one thing worth dying for. They become family.
Beneath the over masculine framework Gears tells this story very very well.
“Never Fight Alone”.