HXR First Thoughts: Gears Of War 4 Beta

After the recent mess up of the code distribution of the eagerly anticipated Gears 4 beta on the Xbox One, I found myself codeless and feeling like I did back in the day of school, where all the cool people had the stuff I wanted for myself. I wasn't having myself wait what could be days to play something that I had looked forward to since hearing that playing the Ultimate Edition of Gears would get me in to the beta early, so I did what any sane person would do and found another way in.

O2 were giving away codes to people via their priority promotion here in the UK, so I went out got myself an O2 sim card and a ten pound top-up to register just so I could play the beta a day after I should have been playing it. Also worth noting, I'm still to recieve my actual code from playing UT before the deadline, so I'm glad I did what I did to get in.

The gears 4 beta offers three modes of play for you to try, and also a reward for reaching level 20 in it to unlock some cool exclusive stuff for the full release on October 11th. Reach level 20 and you will unlock a vintage Kait character skin, unique bounty card, vintage emblem, and finally some vintage gun skins for you to use later on in the year. It shouldn't be hard for you to get this rank at all, as I've only put in a few hours play myself and already find myself sitting on about rank 6 without even actually trying to be any good.

The three modes you have to play to get ths rank all offer something different to both the Gears pro or rookie out there on the Xbox One. If you are used to the style of Gears games then standard TDM vs other online players will be your first place to go. Fancy a change? Then the brand new one life mode that is Dodgeball is a mode to try out. While you only have one life in this mode, if you get a kill you get to bring one of your dead temamates back into the fray again. The third and final mode is for all those players who worry they will suck vs others players online, as co-op TDM pits you and 4 other online players against 5 hardcore bots as you learn the way of Gears MP.

In terms of weapons, all the old favorites are there to be enjoyed again, as well as the new dropshot gun to have a play with. Personally, I've not mastered it myself just yet. But I can see if being a deadly gun when in the hands of those that do master it. In terms of old faves then you will of course get to use the Torque Bow, Boomshot, and get to hear that sniper head pop that is still the best sound in any shooter ever.

In terms of other new things that we see in the Gears world for the first time in this beta, none of them really stood out and made me go "wow, that makes such a change to the game" when having a play with them. Two new moves are useable now and are all about interacting more with cover, with both a vault and yank move now possible to do.

Yank you can do by simply pressing up and X when your opponent is facing you directly on the other side of the wall/cover that you are on. Pressing this will pull him/her over the cover leaving them open to attack from you. This move can also be countered by them however, simply by pressing the B button.

The next move requires you to run at the cover they are behind and press the B button, which will in turn see you vault the cover and kick the enemy on the other side. This can also be countered with a press of the B button.

The last new item was bounties, which is simply a challenge card that you can choose to play while wating for games to start. If you complete that bounty in the next match you can earn youself some decent XP to rank up with.

Finally onto the maps, with the three on offer being Dam, Harbor, and Foundation. Perhaps one of the weaker points of the whole beta in truth, as even after playing them for 4 or so hours I can't really put into words where one stands out from the other. It is a beta though, so to fully go mental on just three of the maps the full game will see would be just stupid.

The Gears of War 4 beta ticked all the right boxes in what I expected from it leading up to the beta being released. Of course there will be some that may not enjoy what it offers, or some may even have a serious annoyance at something they found in it. It's a beta though, and people need to remember this. If there is something you don't like or if something is not working right then let them know and help the full game be the best it can be.
If I get more of the same in regards to how it feels to play and more maps that offer something different to each of them, then I will be happy when the game is fully released. For now though, I'm going to enjoy every second that I get to spend with the beta until it releases fully on October 11th.