The Weapons And Enemies Of Gears Of War 4
Gears of War has always had a fair amount of creativity stocked in the enemies it throws at players, as well as the weapons it has given them to mow them down. Though Gears of War 4 looks to make some changes when it comes to tone and scope, The Coalition aims to keep both enemies and weapons as delightfully nasty as they've ever been.
Old favorites like the chainsaw equipped Lancer and the trusty snub pistol return, but with some aesthetic changes. To help instill the more survival-horror aspects of the game, the Lancer now has a flashlight attached to it that simultaneously makes targets easier to see and highlights their creepier features. Of course, not all changes to the classics are done for pragmatic reasons. The team admits the Gnasher now has a shell rail attached to it simply because, "it looks cool." While these additions are mostly cosmetic and don't fundamentally change how these weapons function, they are pleasant to look at.
The new weapons we've seen are essentially construction equipment that has been repurposed for violent means. The Coalition chose construction equipment in particular as an inspiration because of Gears of War 4's setting becasue the humans left on Sera are trying to build a new life after the war with the Locust. The two new big weapons we saw (and played with) are the Dropshot and the Buzzkill.
The Dropshot functions somewhat as a replacement for the Digger launcher from Gears of War 3, which fired explosive creatures underground. Instead, the Dropshot fires an aerial mine that floats over the battlefield in a straight line as long as you hold the trigger. The moment you let go, the mine spins downward violently. If it hits the ground, it drills for a second before exploding, blowing anything nearby into chunks. If you manage to nail a direct hit on the enemy, it drills directly into their head, decapitating them while their body convulses until the mine explodes. It's a gruesome display that fits alongside some of Gears' best weaponry and it's also super challenging to control, making you feel like a champion whenever you manage to score a direct hit.
The Buzzkill fires buzzsaws – a lot of them. And they spew everywhere as long as you hold down the fire button. However, these saws don't become embeded in walls; they bounce, ricocheting off surfaces to tear enemies to shreds. During our time with the Buzzkill, we found the weapon was great at clearing a room but was dangerous as it was efficient, capable of killing you with your own saws if you lose track of their trajectories.
Gears of War 4 brings new melee executions to the series in the form of combat knives. These brutal finishers are a gruesome sight to behold, with knives plunging into ribs and skulls. In multiplayer, the look of your knife will depend on which faction you're playing as. The COG knife is shown above.
One of the Coalition's biggest challenges in the early stages of developing Gears of War 4 was coming up with an enemy that was just as fearsome as the Locust. After spending a good chunk of time going back through the series and studying why the Locust worked as well as they did, the Coalition eventually created the unit types that make up the new threat in the game: the Swarm. We got to see a handful of these enemy types in action during the demos we watched. While there were some we didn't get many details about (like the hulking and mysterious Snatcher creature we only caught a glimpse of in one of our demos), there are three types the Coalition showed us and talked about at length.
The drones will probably be the most familiar of the Swarm enemy types, with them resembling various modified Locust soldiers. We weren't told why these units bear such a strong resemblance to the enemies of previous Gears titles, so speculate away. During the two demos we saw, the drones functioned similarly to how the Locust did in the original Gears of War games, with each of them fulfilling a different role. Some of them would try to pin JD down while others flanked him or tried to get him out of cover.
Juvies are nasty business. At first glance, you might think they're updated versions of Gears of War's annoying wretches, but juvies are faster, harder to hit, and have a deadly ability. During the game you'll come across gooey pods that can serve as temporary cover until a stream of bullets pop them. Sometimes a drone or juvie will be inside. Certain juvies can unleash a bloodcurdling scream that will pop all the pods in the nearby vicinity, potentially flooding your combat zone with more enemies. Where wretches never really succeeded as being anything other than mild annoyances, juvies' deadly capabilities (along with their slimy appearance) could make them into something far more terrifying.
Pouncers are a bruiser unit we saw near the end of one of our demos. These giant naked mole rat-looking beasts are not only capable of pinning you to the ground and viciously mauling you, but they also carry deadly quills in their tails that they can whip at you as projectiles. However, the cautious or reflex-skilled player will be able to take these monsters down. During our demo, JD actually caught one of the pouncers in midair with his lancer's chainsaw as it dove at him, killing it instantly in a bloody but fantastic sequence.
Be sure to return to our Gears Of War 4 hub throughout the month for the history of The Coalition and a roundtable with the game’s voice actors. You can access the hub by clicking on the banner below.