As much as I enjoyed Gears of War 4, I was rather disappointed with the game’s narrative. What has been set up for the future installments is interesting enough, but the first game by The Coalition has me worried about what comes next.

Let’s be honest for a moment: the story in the original Gears of War trilogy wasn’t really anything to write home about either, but Epic created memorable characters and fans at least cared about their fates. (SPOILER) If you have played Gears of War 3, you know Dom’s death, as cheesy as it was, was a pretty big moment for the franchise. We had assumed it was coming at some point, but the way he ended up going out was a bit of a surprise to many.

While the Locust and their war against humanity was the focus of the overall plot, the subplot of finding Dom’s wife through the first and second game was always on player’s minds, and when you finally find her, Epic screwed with our emotions and made us believe we had saved her for a moment until that actual ugly truth was revealed. At that point in the series, Dom had essentially lost anything worth fighting for and players felt that weight. Or, at least I did. (/SPOILER)

Gears of War 4’s narrative tries to pack that same emotional punch into a six to eight hour campaign and falls flat. We hardly get to spend any time getting to know Kait’s mother before she’s abducted, and I had a hard time caring about rescuing her in the slightest, nor the fate that befalls her. I was much more intrigued by the mystery surrounding the Locust’s fate through the entirety of the game than I was with saving Kait’s mother. As I mentioned in my review and without spoiling aything, the narrative here retreads a bit too much of past games.

The abrupt, rushed and anti-climatic ending of the game did little to help either. Granted, as I mentioned in my review of the game, the ending does set up a very interesting plot for what’s to come, but Gears of War 4 was The Coalition’s chance to really introduce these new characters, their motivations, a little bit of their backstories and personalities and, in my opinion, failed to do that much at all.

This was The Coalition’s chance to show that the Gears of War franchise has matured along with its player base, but instead decided to play their cards close to their chest, understandably. My hope is that with Gears of War 5 on the horizon, that The Coalition really tackles the narrative head on and produces something great rather than just OK.

Don’t do what 343 has done with the Halo franchise and make us go looking outside of the game for more information on the story we are playing. You have the gameplay of the series perfected, and you know how to make a relatively fun campaign. Now, use that experience and craft a narrative and characters worth writing home about.

The opinions in this editorial are the author’s and do not represent OnlySP as an organization.

Nick Calandra
OnlySP founder and former site owner.

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