Among all of Microsoft’s first party franchises Gears of War has always been my favorite. I put hundreds of hours into the original Gears of War on Xbox 360 back in 2006 because it was just so fun to play. That is why I find the shape that Gears of War 4 has launched in to be very disappointing. Me and a friend that I have played Gears of War with for the past 10 years have been trying to enjoy Gears of War 4 this past week but we are finding it very hard to do so.
It’s frustrating because I don’t think that the problems with Gears of War 4 are being taken as seriously as they should be. The problems I’m talking about aren’t limited to one thing either as they include missing features, bugs, laggy servers, disconnects, and maybe worst of all microtransactions. The first thing my friend and I did was jump into multiplayer. That is when our problems started as matchmaking times can be extremely slow. Matches can take from 3 to 10 minutes to set up which is just unacceptable. Then we would find that sometimes we got put into a match that had just finished and would then just sit on the stat screen and never load the next match causing us to have to back out and start a new 3 to 10 minute search. This happened 3 times in a row at some point causing both of us to grow annoyed.
When we got a match started there is a weird lag when the match starts as well. The Coalition has said they are aware of this issue but as it stands it’s annoying and shouldn’t be excused. Then while playing several times either my friend or myself were disconnected and kicked back to the main menu several times. Looking online this is an issue that others have had as well and again it’s a frustrating problem and it ruins any possible enjoyment I could have with the game. Another puzzling decision is the lack of rolling lobbies. What that means is in most multiplayer games when you finish a match you stay with the same group of players and load the next match. In Gears of War 4 you are kicked back to the main menu and have to start a new search every time. Now there is one social playlist that does have them but what if you just want to play a certain mode like Execution or Dodgeball you are out of luck. I don’t understand this decision to leave them out at all as pretty much every multiplayer game has them. It’s yet another black eye for this game that really shouldn’t exist.
Issues aren’t limited to the multiplayer either as then my friend and I started the campaign in co-op. Surely this would go better right? Nope as while we played through the first four chapters of the opening Act we had a total of four disconnections here as well. Again this is an issue that others online have been having as well. So not only can we not enjoy the multiplayer but we can’t enjoy the single player either without interruptions. At this point my friend said that he’ll just have to shelve the game until the issues are fixed hopefully. I kind of felt the same way honestly and it’s frustrating because no one should have to feel that way about a game that they just went out and bought especially when it’s a well known AAA franchise.
The last thing I want to touch on is one of the worst parts about Gears of War 4 and that is how the in game credit system and microtransactions work. To get any of the character or weapon skins in the game you need to purchase the gear packs. You can do this with real money of course or use the credits you earn from matches. The problem comes from the fact that you barely earn any and the packs are really expensive. To unlock any of the rarer items you need to buy the Elite pack which did cost 4000 credits but has now been lowered to 3500. Now you were only getting about 30 credits per match but that has been increased to around 75-100. Now even with that increase you would need to play around 35-50 matches to earn enough to purchase one Elite pack. Then you aren’t even guaranteed a rare item and not only that you can get duplicates. This can make it very frustrating to get the one character skin you may want. Now yes you can earn credits from doing bounties and for leveling up as well but it’s still a slow process and one that as it stands right now seems to be trying to force people to pay real money for these packs.
As a fan of the franchise since the beginning ten years ago I hate to see these microtransactions in this game. My friend has always liked playing as Hoffman in the multiplayer and to unlock him he could have to play thousands of matches which as an adult just isn’t really possible. Either the packs need to be made cheaper or the credits need to be increased yet again. All of these issues that we and others have been having with Gears of War 4 have really put a sour taste in my mouth. All of the issues can be fixed in time but that doesn’t change the fact that the game shouldn’t have launched in this state. It’s also puzzling because the beta earlier this year didn’t have these disconnection and lag problems. Hopefully The Coalition gets everything fixed and running smooth soon as I really want to enjoy this franchise yet again.
Let us know in the comments what your Gears of War 4 experience has been like so far.