Hell on Mars

IDDQD if you are as old as I, you probably remember what that does. Doom has been around for over two decades and yet gameplay feels identical to the 1993 original, at least single player does. You charge into a room, shotgun demons in the face and repeat. There is little to no story, but looking for a plot in Doom feels dishonest. Doom excels are at what its supposed to be, great shooting and a variety of goring elite kills, which not lets you rip a demons arm off and beat it to death with it, but lets you regain health and ammo in the process. If you do get tired of the mindless violence, you have the opportunity to explore the rather large game environment and seek out hidden goodies all over including 26 Doom Guys. Doom is also one of the best looking games of 2016, the lighting and character models, explosions all look brilliant, especially on PC (Ultra Settings). The game is well optimized and transitions effortlessly between cut scenes, animations and gameplay. Fast, Frantic and absolutely Fantastic.

Doom Guy

Unfortunately, that’s just the single player campaign. Doom’s multi player is for the lack of a better word confused. It’s a bit of call of duty, some quake and melee cut scenes that teleport you with very little control.

Load outs give you two weapons each time you spawn and you pick up perk modules within the map. More experienced players will know where items are located and the shortcut system makes it exponentially challenging for the newer player. My biggest gripe about the multi player is the demon ruins, which let you transform into one of four demons. The system is critically imbalanced and lets you one shot enemies, it negates all player skill as you either run and hide from a demon or die. The snap map system works well and lets users create their own maps and share them online, users have already recreated classic levels among others which provides variety and adds to the overall experience. Doom isn’t a must buy, but for old fans this is a welcomed addition.

The Familiar Stranger

Gears of War has been a staple in every XBOX owners inventory and a one the biggest console sellers along with HALO. Besides the original game released in 2006, remastered as Gears of War Ultimate Edition in 2016, PC Gamers have not had the opportunity to enjoy the franchise until now, unless they were messing around with some shady emulator. Microsoft obtained the Gears IP in 2014 and Gears of War 4 is the first game to be developed by The Coalition under Rod Fergusson, who is no stranger to the franchise. I dint know what to expect and having to download a 60GB file only to have it download another 60GB of data before I could even play the game was infuriating at the least. The game brilliantly updates the game by download a complete package (original + update patch) installing it and then deleting the old file. So make sure you have at least 150 GB of free storage on the drive.

Still an XBOX title but Gears of War 4 is not a port and runs exceptionally well. If you have a PC that can push it, the game is absolutely gorgeous and is much superior to its console counterpart. Character models and environment lighting are where it shines the most. You do have the occasional gravity defying rain drop but we can let it slip in a game with glowing wind flares that effect weapon physics, colossal explosions, unlocked frame rates, buttery smooth animation and seamless cut scene integrations.  The experience isn’t just visual, Gears of War 4 has some of the best combat and weapon sounds and voice acting in any game. You can feel the difference between a Lancer and Markza, even if you don’t see it. The game lets you use positional audio to locate targets with ease. You are treated to music by Ramin Djawadi, the guy behind the Game of Thrones title, enough said.

Gears of War 4 is set 25 years after the original trilogy, and gears still plays like the day Dom rescues Marcus from prison. It’s still a cover based shooter at its core, but instead of being a part of COG. We play as James Dominic Fenix or JD “Where have I heard that name before?” We play as part of the outsiders, a group of rebels who refuse to live by the rules of the new all mech COG, which brings us to the new, we no longer face the locust but automated DeeBee’s and the Swarm. Ones automated robot the other locust zombie on steroids. Both act differently and need to be dealt with differently which manages to keep scratching off grubs interesting. Along with Kait Diaz, Delmont Walker you get Marcus with you for most of the campaign, hence never fight alone. At times JD feels like the weakest link in the story, whiney and suffers from crazy mood swings. I actually felt like I skipped over cut scenes as he’d go from enraged to euphoric in under a minute. Ignoring him, the story is very strong and there is a strong sense of purpose to every act and you end up caring about the characters. Does it move you like Dom’s last line in Gears 3? No, not even close, But even the A team needs to retire eventually. The game tickles nostalgia while being open to new comers. The game preps you with small skirmishes, brief and strategic horde events, amazing chase sequences and great pacing. You get moments to breathe and explore the environment between insane gun fights. The AI also steadily gets smarter as you progress making it challenging as you get better at the game. If you couldn’t tell by now we loved Gears of War 4 and think you will too.