Gears 5 review: Chainsaw bayonet meat art — with a heart. Chainsaw gears of war

Gears 5 review: Chainsaw bayonet meat art — with a heart

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Gears 5 Review “Buy, Wait for Sale, Rent, Never Touch?”

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Some people see Gears of Wars’ soldiers with tree trunk necks, rifles with chainsaws bayonets, and fountains of dark red viscera, and think that’s all there is — or should be — to the Gears experience. It’s just a testosterone-fuelled bloodbath, end of story. But the series’ writing team has worked hard over the years to make it something more, weaving in timely political themes — including cultural propagandizing, conscientious objection, and reckless pillaging of resources, among others — as well as some surprisingly affecting personal and family drama to create a narrative with more heart than you’d expect of a game with monsters that have names like Riftworm, Corpser, and Torture Barge.

Gears 5 review: Chainsaw bayonet meat art — with a heart Back to video

This is true of the latest instalment — dubbed simply Gears 5 — as well, though you’ll likely need a refresher on everything that’s happened in this epic sci-fi saga in order to fully appreciate it. Happily, the team at Microsoft-owned, Vancouver-based The Coalition has included a couple of optional primer videos that are well worth viewing. A review isn’t the place to get into a full franchise recap, but suffice to say the series’ political and family drama continues to evolve in this newest numbered entry, and especially the latter. The FOCUS has shifted away from the Fenix clan (fans needn’t worry; both Marcus — the series’ default protagonist through the first few games — and his son JD still feature prominently) to give us a better look at the equally messed up Diaz family.

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Gears of War 3 Takes a Chainsaw to April, Eyes Fall Release

Those of you who were looking to continue the adventures of Marcus Fenix and pals in April of 2011 are going to be a little disappointed this morning as Microsoft curbstomps our hope with this bit of news. Perhaps realizing that their exclusive fall lineup was a little slim, the software giant has chosen to move the “threequel” to an unspecified date closer to the holidays. Of course, there could be speculation that the game is just plain not ready, but the Microsoft statement pretty much says that this is a marketing decision:

Gears of War 3 promises to be the biggest entertainment launch of 2011,” the Microsoft statement reads. “The teams at Microsoft Game Studios and Epic Games have done great work thus far readying the title for release in the Spring of 2011. However, we’ve elected to move the launch of Gears of War 3 until Fall 2011 to make it the marquee title for the holiday season.

Just when we thought that Microsoft learned to spread its titles out, this notion gets dashed. While I can’t blame them for wanting a big game to shill around the holidays, this just means that we’ll be waiting even longer to cut up some aliens. Gears heads can get their fix with novel series if they are really parched, but for the rest of us, some patience is in order. So, any opinion on the news? Do you wish Microsoft would have just bit the bullet and stuck with April?

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Mitch : @mi7ch Gamertag: Lubeius PSN ID: Lubeius SteamID: Mister_L Origin/EA:Lube182 Currently Playing: PUBG, Rainbow 6: Siege, Assassin’s Creed: Origins, Total War: Warhammer 2

thoughts on “Gears of War 3 Takes a Chainsaw to April, Eyes Fall Release”

This is fine by me as it gives me time to get a 360 and catch up on games like Halo Reach, Mass Effect 12 and Gears of War 12! Your pain, my gain. Thanks Microsoft!

“we’ve elected to move the launch of Gears of War 3 until Fall 2011 to make it the marquee title for the holiday season.” Translation: This is the only “hardcore” game we’ve got on the holiday slate for next year among a slew of kinect games. I’m kidding, of course, but only a little. As a die hard Sega fan, I can tell you all about how putting tons of money, effort, and hope into a peripheral tends to work out.

Right, because ya know, Spring is not a good time to release a game because then people will have Summer vacation afterwards during which they’ll have plenty of time to play a game. Dumbasses. I really don’t understand why game publishers haven’t wised-up to the fact that the Holiday Season gets bogged down with games not to mention other merchandise! The reason Red Dead Redemption did well was because it was pretty much the only game released on the threshold of Spring and Summer. Come on, guys! I’d rather all the publishers clamor for Spring and Summer releases than in the Fall! It just makes sense; I’ll have more time to play all of the games over Summer vacation! Well, I’ll probably just rent Gears 3 b/c I’m not a huge Gears guy. I’m still kinda disappointed that it’ll all be lost in the chaos of the Holiday Season. And isn’t MW3 slated for Fall 2011? That’s some steep competition…although seeing how a lot of people hate MW2, I have a feeling that Gears 3 might actually do well.

Although disappointed, I see the reasoning. Dragon Age 2, Dead Space 2, Bulletstorm, Portal 2, Crysis 2, Ghost Recon, Bodycount, Brink, and FEAR 3 all come out in the same quarter. I don’t see how they would want to release one of their big hitters around these games and not too long after people have shelled out money for Q4 games.

@ SK Beans Gears 3 will crush all of those games. This is one of Microsoft’s premier franchises, the series that motivated a lot of people to buy their 360 in the first place. No serious 360 gamer is going to look at Gears 3 on the shelf and then decide to buy Brink or Crysis 2. Even the big games on your list won’t stand a chance against Gears 3 (sorry Valve fans). Besides, by the original April release date, most gamers will have already finished the games they got from the holidays and traded them in to place a preorder on Gears.

After some debate with several people, I think this move is to fill a big hole that Microsoft has in their Fall Holiday line up. No Fable, no Halo…I know something will be announced between now and then, but so far, there is nothing to hang their hat on.

[quote comment=”13767″]@ SK Beans Gears 3 will crush all of those games. This is one of Microsoft’s premier franchises, the series that motivated a lot of people to buy their 360 in the first place. No serious 360 gamer is going to look at Gears 3 on the shelf and then decide to buy Brink or Crysis 2. Even the big games on your list won’t stand a chance against Gears 3 (sorry Valve fans). Besides, by the original April release date, most gamers will have already finished the games they got from the holidays and traded them in to place a preorder on Gears.[/quote] I realize this, but it’s still a crowed market, why go for that window when you can get an open space in fall (note FALL, not winter when the game shitstorm happens)?

I played Gears of War 4 at The Coalition, and I can’t stop thinking about chainsaw guns

Is Gears of War the best thing ever? I visited The Coalition to find out!

On October 11th the fourth installment of the Gears of War franchise finally hits the Xbox One and Windows 10 PC as a Play Anywhere title. Last week I had the privilege to visit The Coalition who make the Gears games and get a sneak peek at the campaign and Horde Mode 3.0. I also got to chat with Rod Fergusson, the Coalition Studio Head about the game and motivation to continue the saga.

Here’s why I’m excited about this game even for those who have never experienced the franchise. Consider Gears of War 4 a new beginning and I’ll tell you why you should check it out.

Interview with Rod Fergusson

In this ten-minute interview filled with my actual gameplay, I ask Rod about the humor of Gears, the challenges in making this game accessible for new players, and the potential for a Gears movie down the road. Don’t miss it!

Launch Trailer

Premiering today is the official full-launch trailer for Gears of War 4. For those in the U.S. you can also catch it on tonight’s Monday Night Football game so keep an eye out!

The Coalition

To be honest, I would consider myself a novice when it comes to Gears of War. While I have friends who swear by the online co-op modes, and I have started playing the Ultimate Edition on Xbox and PC, my experience with the community is much more limited. That is why I was excited to learn what I could at The Coalition studios last week in Vancouver, Canada. Clearly, there has to be something to this game that has so many devoted fans including those who emblazon the game’s symbols and badges with tattoos (see the Gears Ink campaign).

gears, review, chainsaw, bayonet, meat

For two days, I got to play the campaign of Gears of War 4 and many of the game’s co-op and versus modes. During this time, I was also able to sit down with the game’s developers like Otto Ottoson (Lead Multiplayer Producer), Beau Breannan (Lead Multiplayer Software Engineer), Mike Rayner (Technical Director), Matt Searcy (Lead Campaign Designer), and Studio Head Rod Fergusson. Through these talks I was able to learn about what goes into making the game, the challenges of delivering such a game with high expectations, and what that game offers to those – like myself – who are new to the whole Gears world.

Gears of War 4 – A new beginning

What makes Gears of War 4 interesting for myself is while it continues the trilogy – albeit 25 years later – the game is kicking off a new generation in the Gears universe. It’s now decades after the end of the Locust war, and Sera (the home world in Gears) is deprived of Imulsion, which while causing problems (to say the least) also provided energy for the planet’s denizens.

What happened with Marcus Fenix? Is the Coalition of Ordered Governments (COG) still around and what happened to the Gears?

If you are a veteran of the Gears franchise all of the above gets addressed in Gears of War 4. If you have never even played Gears don’t worry about all of that as it’s explained in the prolog and during the campaign gameplay. That’s what I found refreshing about playing Gears 4 as a new player I never felt out of place. Part of that is because of the new characters like JD (Marcus’s son), Del (JD’s best friend) and Kait (the female heroine whose mother has disappeared). Those are new to everyone in the Gears universe, and they’re kicking off what will likely be a trilogy of new games in the Gear’s universe.

A relevant analogy would be what J.J. Abrams had to do with the Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). Sure, hardcore Star Wars nerds like me geeked out over it, but if you never saw the original trilogy (you’re a bad person, by the way), then you could watch that film without the full context and still get it. The same applies to Gears of War 4 where there is a lot of familiarity for the fan base, but more than enough to pull in new players who have never experienced the familiar drama that inspires the Gears franchise.

5 years later

The thrust of Gears of War 4 is humanity is on its last legs due to the brutal war with the Locusts (Gears of War 1 through 3). The COG has created zones for citizens to live under constant protection. Automation (robots) have replaced all dangerous jobs including security and construction to ensure the repopulation program loses no lives. The COG is led by First Minister Jinn whose heart is in the right place (we think), but rules with a heavy hand. Not everyone likes her authoritarian style, so some people leave the COG settlements. These people are labeled ‘Outsiders,’ and they frequently raid COG settlements for supplies.

While the two groups are not at war, they are not entirely friendly either. That’s why when citizens of the COG settlements go missing they look to the Outsiders as the culprits.

So far, so good. But as like all good movies the friction between the COG and Outsiders is kind of a McGuffin. The real threat is something unknown, inhuman, and sinister (aka The Swarm). JD and his friends Del and Kait get caught between the two groups and search out JD’s father, Marcus Fenix, the legendary Gears solider who now lives neither with the COG nor the Outsiders, but alone on a large, secluded farmstead. Can someone say badass?

This moment is where the two generations meet. It’s quite dramatic to see Marcus aged 25 years, and I’m confident fans of the franchise will enjoy his important role in this game.

The COG track down JD, Del, and Kait to Marcus’s homestead and let’s just say all hell breaks loose.

A new, but familiar style

What I found exciting about the campaign was the FOCUS on an unraveling plot that goes from attacking COG DeeBees (robots) to the new, but familiar biological threat that is something other than the Locusts (cough, The Swarm). Speaking of, the DeeBees are quite entertaining in how they attack (they don’t duck) and some of the lines they mechanically bark are out of context. This disconnect makes sense as their mission has shifted from police to authoritarian soldiers who want to kill Marcus. What jerks.

If I had to make a more general comparison I’d say elements of the game resemble Resident Evil with its slow, unraveling, horror and Half Life 2 with its shifting game style that feels like you are playing the movie version of a great Sci-Fi thriller.

Lead Campaign Designer Matt Searcy tells me that the intent was to get back to the feeling of the original Gears game where there was more mystery, and less slog. I was also happy to see the game having more color instead of the drab, beaten down look from the previous games.

Searcy notes that the ability to free themselves from the constraints of the original franchise was liberating for them. The planet Sera is now healing from the damage, so life is coming back, but not without compromise. One of those is the spectacular wind storms (called Windflares) that keep popping up during gameplay. These giant threats of wind and fire look like something out of Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) and not only are they terrifying, but they affect gameplay too with a burst of the wind that blows the trees and leaves around the environment.You can feel their ominous approach.

While some of the gameplay gets a bit repetitive e.g. the constant arrival of new DeeBees the game quickly shifts tone – and enemies – just as the right time before you get bored. The game also has some very forced mechanics e.g. you can’t wander very far or discover many secrets so no love for open-worlds. Instead, the game directs you on a specific, pre-ordained path with little room to explore. Nonetheless, the story kept me intrigued, and I can’t say I ever became frustrated even after 90 minutes of straight of playing the campaign.

Multiplayer goodness

If there is one thing Gears of War is known for it is the Co-op and Versus side of the game. For years, people have been playing Gears online with people around the world, forming relationships, and honing their skills in Horde Mode and Team Deathmatch.

Personally, I have always been apprehensive of such gameplay if only because I always find myself randomly being sniped. So, what has Gears of War 4 done differently to assuage my fears of being pwned without justice?

I spoke with Otto Ottoson (Lead Multiplayer Producer) and Beau Breannan (Lead Multiplayer Software Engineer) about my concerns, and luckily they had the right answers. GoW4 brings improved matchmaking based on some technology from Microsoft Research whose algorithms promise to deliver fairer results. Players now have skill ranks. Bronze, Silver, Gold, Onyx, all the way up to Diamond – based on your actual game experience and performance. Users can level up to categories as they improve and as will continually be matched – in theory – against people of equal ability.

There are the usual styles of gameplay including Warzone, Team Deathmatch, Dodge Ball, King of the Hill, Guardian, and Arms Race. Arms Race and Dodge Ball are both new and quite fun.

In Arms Race both teams start with the same weapon (Boomshot). Each time a team kills three opponents, they shift to another of the game’s thirteen firearms. The first to go through all thirteen of the arms wins (it ends on the Boltok). It’s a fun way to learn the mechanics of the new weapons and get a feel for different styles. Going from a pistol to a sniper rifle and dramatically change the situation.

The studio describes Dodge Ball as “a high intensity respawn mode with epic clutch moments” and that’s because you can respawn a teammate when you kill an enemy. Just as one side is winning, a few kills can dramatically shift the game and the round (the object is to eliminate everyone on the opposing team).

Interestingly, with Gears of War 4 PC and console gamers can play together. However, due to the advantageous nature of a mouse and keyboard setup, at least for online versus modes the two shall not meet. PC and console can play on the same team, however, for all co-op modes like Horde 3.0 where the enemy is the computer. Nonetheless, if you wanted to host your own LAN party you could allow PC and console users to play against each other (aka Private Versus). PC players will even have a ‘PC’ designation when listed to let others know. Clever.

Horde 3.0 is where it’s at

I think the most interesting of the online multiplayer gameplay is the Horde 3.0. This five-player co-op pits you up against 50-waves of ever evolving enemies with a boss wave on every tenth wave.

A new element in Horde 3.0 is the Fabricator, which the developers describe as an “indestructible military-grade 3D printer”. Think of Command and Conquer where you first have to choose a location for your base, and you’ll get the idea. This style of gameplay mixes real-time strategy with a third person shooter game, and it adds a new, creative element to the match. Building your base on the high ground gives you a vantage point, but you are now also exposed to Guardians (flying DeeBee drones). Choosing something sheltered gives you some protection, but you are now vulnerable to explosive weaponry.

Let’s get classy! Gears of War also introduces the increasingly popular mechanic of class systems: Soldier, Scout, Heavy, Sniper and Engineer. We have seen such systems used in the Borderlands series where you choose a specialty and level-up through experience. The difference with Gears, however, is that you are not forced to remain in that class. Engineers can grab a sniper rifle; a Heavy can run and do a Scout’s job, etc. While sticking to your class has advantages this flexibility lets you breathe a little on during the game. Users can level up with five skill slots and up to 13 different skills.

Users can also do some personalization for character and weapons skins as well as emblems.

I found Horde 3.0 to be a ton of fun. You are playing on a team, you have a role (albeit flexible, if necessary), and there is less pressure than in Versus. The maps are certainly challenging, and the way the levels evolve will keep you on your toes. For the record, I did see all 50-levels beat, but it will be a massive challenge to make that a regular occurrence (Not to mention the time needed! I sense a lot of breakups in the future. ).

We’ll be doing a lot with Horde 3.0 when Windows Central regularly streams the game later next month on Beam, so stay tuned.

Wrap up

As someone new to the Gears of War world I have to admit I’m quite excited about Gears of War 4. Some of that is also because I have a 4K TV with HDR and an Xbox One S. Yes, Gears of War 4 is one of the few new HDR games to hit and having personally seen the results during my Vancouver trip all I can say is ‘wow, not a gimmick.’

Besides technical wizardry, I thoroughly enjoyed the Campaign, the story, and the accessibility for new users like myself to the franchise. I’ll be curious to see how others review the game, including our own Jez Corden, in the coming weeks, but for now, I can say I finally get it.

All I want to do is play Horde 3.0, hear Marcus’s gravelly banter, and maybe chainsaw a few of the Swarm with gooey satisfaction. Count me in!

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Shack Chat: What’s your favorite video game chainsaw?

Sawing through enemies in video games is made much easier with the right tools. One of the best at the job is the trusty chainsaw. But which one is the best?

A tool normally relegated to clearing out tough and pesky flora and foliage, the trusty chainsaw has seen use in video games as a brutal and gory way to deal with enemies. Whether you’re using it with one hand, two-handed, or if it’s attached to another type of weapon, there are plenty to choose from. But the important question is.

Question: What is your favorite video game chainsaw?

The Lancer Assault Rifle from Gears of War. Ozzie Mejia, Senior Chainsaw Editor

I will never forget Epic Games (in the days before they were a store and publisher of the biggest battle royale shooter in the world) coming up with the quaint idea to cross over an assault rifle and a chainsaw. One might think it’s putting a hat on a hat, but those who lived through the 2000s can’t tell me there wasn’t a visceral satisfaction that came with a melee kill that was pure chainsaw. Gears of War never hit those heights again for me or for a lot of other people, but it became one of the hottest properties in the world because of that chainsaw.

The Chainsaw Arm (MadWorld). TJ Denzer, Likes his chainsaws artsy

An early win in the history and style of PlatinumGames, MadWorld was one of the first bizarrely violent games on a Nintendo console, in this case the Wii. In said game, players took on the role of Jack Cayman as he tried to survive a brutal game show in which the only way to win was to kill. To do this, Jack has a chainsaw attacked to his prosthetic arm for maximum visceral murder, and it leads to a delightful bevy of bloody beat’em-up action.

I’m always for a good chainsaw combo, and MadWorld is full of them. Add to that, the world was monochromatic in this game, with only shades of black and white. Only by spilling some blood did you get some further color involved in the situation. And boy howdy, nothing makes that kind of color like a chainsaw arm. Hats off to you, Jack Cayman. You wear your chainsaw like no other and aren’t afraid to use it either.


Bedazzled Chainsaw (Lollipop Chainsaw). Morgan Shaver, Packs a chainsaw

I love just about everything from Grasshopper Manufacture and Suda51 and 2012’s Lollipop Chainsaw is no exception. There’s just something so endearing about the absurdity of the heavily modded Bedazzled Chainsaw that makes it both fun to look at, and fun to use in the game. Not only does it visually match protagonist Juliet’s attire (because of course it does), the Bedazzled Chainsaw also sports things like a cassette player and phone built into its base.

While having these things attached are convenient, the peak attributes of Juliet’s Bedazzled Chainsaw include its ability to slice through hordes of zombies without issue, and cool upgrades you can unlock for it as you progress like Chainsaw Dash and Chainsaw Blaster. It can even be used as a cannon (Nick Popper) to fire the decapitated head of Juliet’s boyfriend Nick at foes. What more could you want from a chainsaw, honestly?

The Chainsaw (Doom). Blake Morse, makes chainsaw noises with mouth

If you’re going to rip and tear, why not do it with fashion and flair? Why punch things when you can render them into tiny little bits with a chainsaw? The original Doom answered those questions way back in the early 90s and has continued that fine tradition since then. Getting the chainsaw made a gory experience even better in what was already a pretty damn violent game for the time. Even today the chainsaw still finds its way into the modern Doom franchise. Although I honestly don’t find the new version as enjoyable as the original as it’s more of a quick-time kill animation nowadays. Still, we’ll always have our precious memories of the original, old-school chainsaw and all the things we turned into meaty chunks with it.

The Lancer. Sam Chandler, Chainsaw Expert

It’s a machine gun with a chainsaw attached to it. It spews bullets, if you reload it at the right time you get super bullets, and it’s GOT A CHAINSAW ATTACHED TO IT. I repeat for the third time: Chainsaw. Attached. To. It. This thing ruins the Locust’s day and it’s a great way to humiliate your opponent in PVP. Plus, mashing a button to rev the chainsaw for no other reason than it sounds awesome? C’mon.

Gears of War’s Lancer. Asif Khan, CEO/EIC/EIEIO

What’s better than a gun and a chainsaw? A gun with a chainsaw. While there might be some more traditional video game chainsaws out there, The Lancer is one of my favorite guns and chainsaws to ever grace the medium. The satisfaction of a well-timed Lancer attack in Gears of War is unparalleled. Whether you are playing in Horde Mode, Multiplayer, or the Campaign, the Lancer is an outstanding weapon to keep equipped. Out of ammo? Hit the B Button, and watch blood splatter all over the screen. Truly a legendary video game chainsaw.

Grand Theft Auto Chainsaw. Bill Lavoy, Queensguard

I’m going with the chainsaw from various GTA games for two reasons. One, I forgot it was a thing and that chainsaw brought me great joy over the years. Two, my colleagues will (rightfully) choose some more iconic chainsaws from video game history. Even so, no chainsaw has brought me greater joy than in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. You get to be your own horror film villain, and it’s wildly entertaining.

Chainsaw in Left 4 Dead 2. Dennis White Jr., Prepared for the zombie apocalypse

There’ve been some great choices on the list so I figured I’d bring up a chainsaw that definitely makes you feel powerful while ripping and tearing through hordes of zombies in Valve’s classic co-op title Left 4 Dead 2. Yeah, it might take a bit of revving at first to get this bad boy going but when it is ready to roll, you become a human lawnmower capable of shredding the massive waves of undead easily.

House of the Dead Chainsaw zombies. Steve Tyminski, It’s a zombie with a chain!

What is my favorite video game chainsaw? I have to go with the House of the Dead zombies carrying the chain saws. I remember going on vacation to the Jersey shore and playing the House of the Dead arcade games with my Dad and brother. My father didn’t play too many video games but the House of the Dead games were some of his favorites. That being said, these zombies scared me when I was a kid as did most of the other zombies. The ChainSaw zombies were some of the most memorable from these games and have stuck with me to this day. You can’t forget the boss that handles the chain saw too. The House of the Dead series has it down when it comes to monsters holding chainsaws!

A few of us definitely seem to agree that the Gears of War Lancer is up there as one of the best. What do you think though? Do you have a favorite chainsaw in video games? Join us in the Chatty thread below and look over our Shack Chat page for all our discussions from previous weeks.

Shack Staff stories are a collective effort with multiple staff members contributing. Many of our lists often involve entires from several editors, and our weekly Shack Chat is something we all contribute to as a group.

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