Tag Archives: Gears of War 4

What I Loved in Video Games in 2016

Happy New Year! It may be a little late this time around, but I have for you my annual wrap-up of my favorite things in video games from the past year. =)

I’ve done this most of the years I’ve been writing Robo♥beat, and it’s my favorite post to write because I get to relive some of the games I’ve loved over the year. Rather than make a big top 10 list or something, I prefer just picking out some of the most interesting mechanics, settings, and characters from the video games I played. Here are some from previous years if you want to check any out!

2015 | 2013 | 2012

Since I never get around to every single game I’d like to play — and some of these I haven’t finished yet — this list is restricted to just the games or parts of games that I know and enjoyed.

So without further adieu, here is what I loved in video games from 2016!


Biggest Life-Saver: Del Walker (Gears of War 4)

vintagedel.jpgSome of you may know I love the Gears of War series and have played all of the games on co-op. If you haven’t played these games co-op, I’ll just say it’s exceptional. And one of the things you can do in co-op is revive your allies when they’re down but not out. Or, to switch that around, if you fall in battle, you’ll have a limited amount of time to crawl to a safer spot while begging your friends for help and tapping a button to avoid bleeding out quite so fast.

That’s all well and good when you’re playing with someone. In previous games, as soon as I noticed my partner was down, I dashed over to rescue him — and vice versa. But one thing I noticed about Gears of War 4 is that you don’t need to worry about that as much, because you have AI squadmates, too. And they are awesome at keeping you alive.

The biggest life-saver for me was Del. In my campaign, my partner played as the protagonist J.D., while I got to choose between playing as Kait or Del. Obviously, I chose Kait, because she’s a girl and she’s awesome. But I underestimated Del a little there, because for the rest of the game, every time I fell in battle, he popped up at my side to revive me. Even if he was on the other side of the battlefield with enemy bullets flying and Juvies jumping out of popped pods, Del somehow managed to squat-walk all the way over to me, without dying, and bring me back into the fight.

I owe him my life about a hundred times over.


Coolest Character: Adam Jensen (Deus Ex: Mankind Divided)

deus-ex-mankind-divided-vazhnaya-informaciya-ob-augmentaciyax_minThis is a tough choice, because it’s easy to say that characters like Nate Drake from Uncharted 4, Corvo or Emily from Dishonored 2, or even the portrayal of Bruce Wayne in Telltale’s Batman series are all incredibly cool characters from 2016. But honestly, I don’t think any of them quite out-cool Adam Jensen in Deus Ex.

An augmented human with some super-human abilities, Adam Jensen is a badass. Even his built-in sunglasses look badass. His past as a security officer (among other things) make him handy with a gun, but it’s his augmentations that really make him a unique fighter. You play the game with a lot of stealth tactics, which means Jensen uses his wits even more than his weapons. That’s always the sign of a cool character in my books.

What I really enjoy about Mankind Divided is that Jensen comes into contact with all kinds of people — from cops to refugees to hackers — and he has to make decisions about who to help and who to trust. It makes for some interesting storytelling and role-playing. But Jensen never veers too far from his cool-headed attitude.


Most Intriguing Setting: Clockwork Mansion (Dishonored 2)

Clockwork Mansion.gifSet in the fictional city of Karnaka, Dishonored 2 brings the same steampunk-like details to its environments as the original game did with the city of Dunwall. But the best setting in the game is the Clockwork Mansion, which you either stealth or fight your way through in the third quest.

What makes this setting so intriguing is that it consists of shifting walls and platforms that can replace rooms with entirely new designs, with just the pull of a lever. Floor panels shift to replace furniture and decor, walls disappear while new ones are lowered in, a series of planks drop to the floor to create a walkway, or a staircase appears to give access to new parts of the mansion. If you haven’t already, you’ll have to play the game (or at least watch some footage) to see for yourself how cool this concept is!

clock-mansion-2


Most Interesting Death: The Series of Deaths in Battlefield 1’s Opening

Screen Shot 2017-01-01 at 9.00.25 PM.pngWhen you start the first mission of Battlefield 1, you may die. But instead of a traditional “game over” screen, you’ll see the name of the World War I soldier you were just playing as, along with the year of their death. You then launch into that same battle from another soldier’s perspective. If you die as him, you’ll come back as another soldier, with another weapon, on another part of the field.

This happens throughout that introductory mission, and it really brings home the idea that death in war is permanent. You may be playing a video game here, but let’s not forget that war isn’t a game. Battlefield 1 goes on to breathe life into a war many of us have forgotten from history books, in a very unique and human way for a shooter video game.


Favorite “Real” Moment: Nate and Elena Having Dinner (Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End)

uncharted-4-dinner1Uncharted 4 just runs away with the award for best narrative of the year, in my books. What makes it so special is not just the globe-trotting adventure Nathan Drake partakes in, but the personal side that gives the tale so much heart. More than being about a treasure hunt, the story is about Nathan’s relationships: with his wife Elena and brother Sam, and the conflicts that arise there.

The scene that had everybody talking when the game first came out was an early one in the game, a chapter called “A Normal Life.” It shows Nathan and Elena, now married, on their living room couch one evening — just having take-out, discussing work, ribbing each other a bit. I love when Elena calls Nathan out for not listening when she rambles about the article she’s writing. And then there’s the part where they play Crash Bandicoot to see who will do the dishes.

It’s such a real moment between two people who are intimate, and it shows the very relatable dynamic of a couple in a long-term relationship. Not much fiction delves into what it means to be in love in this way, or married — it all too often focuses on just the initial butterfly feelings of new courtship. I love watching the characters’ movements in this scene, and the easy way they go from talking to playing to making love.


Those are the big ones for me from 2016. Last year’s games I wanted to play but haven’t gotten to yet are InsideTitanfall 2, and Watch_Dogs 2 — but that’s okay. Another year, another 52 weeks to play video games, old and new. =)

What were your favorite games, characters, and moments from video games last year?

— Ashley

Women in “Gears of War”: Why I Wish Kait Were the Protagonist of Gears 4

*Gears of War 4 spoilers ahead! They’re everywhere!

One of my favorite things about the Gears of War games is the character dynamics. The series has always done a phenomenal job of creating interesting, believable characters. In the games, you play as a member of a four-man squad, and the guys are constantly ribbing each other. One character goes bananas for engineering; another used to be a sports star. You learn to love these characters, despite the fact that for the most part, the squad I’m referring to here is basically a bunch of ridiculously beefy dudes.

575450-gears-of-war-3-xbox-360-screenshot-anya.jpg
Anya

Gears of War 3 introduces female squadmates, Anya and Sam. By default, playing solo you’ll play as a male character — but depending on how many players are sharing a co-op experience, one of the players may assume the role of Anya.

As a girl gamer, playing as Anya is a nice addition to the Gears experience. Since I feel like I relate to female characters a little more naturally than male characters, I’m always choosing female avatars in character creators. And any game that features a female lead intrigues me for that reason alone. It’s becoming more common to see women in lead roles in games, which is awesome. It made me happy to see that Gears of War is making strides there too.

But the franchise took an even bigger step forward in Gears of War 4 — because in this game, the new character Kait Diaz is central to the entire story.

Continue reading Women in “Gears of War”: Why I Wish Kait Were the Protagonist of Gears 4

“Gears of War 4” Review

Here’s my full review of Gears of War 4! This game was exceptionally fun. I knew a lot about it before it came out, so I expected to enjoy it — but it honestly surpassed a lot of my expectations, based on the story, the combat, and just retaining that overall Gears spirit.

This review covers quite a bit, including my thoughts on the gameplay, the new weapon the Buzzkill, and the co-op experience. =)

Thanks for watching!

— Ashley

First Impressions of “Gears of War 4”: Fresh yet Familiar

Over the weekend I dove into the Gears of War 4 campaign. I was equal parts excited to be back to one of my favorite video game series… and nervous about the new story, characters, and enemies. I just didn’t know what to expect.

Fortunately, Gears of War 4 feels like meeting an old friend. It’s not innovative or surprising. Despite plenty of new things, it doesn’t reinvent itself. All of the new is mixed in with the old so it’s not too overwhelming — so it still feels like good old Gears of War. That’s exactly what I liked about it.

I still have one act left to play before I’m done, so I’ll save my full review until the end of the week. For now, here are some of my initial impressions of what makes Gears of War 4 a familiar yet fresh take on the series. (No spoilers!)

Continue reading First Impressions of “Gears of War 4”: Fresh yet Familiar