Frankly, the game didn't need to be more than a beautiful tease for the lighting and rendering effects of Unreal Engine 3 on console-grade technology, but it happened to distill the important bits of a multiplayer shooter into a gameplay system that kicked butt on an Xbox gamepad. Halo works well enough on a controller, sure, but Gears of War, with its stick-to-cover, turf-control battling system, is the rare online game that might be better with two joysticks and zero mice.
Before I praise the game any further, I have bad news to deliver: Gears of War 4's campaign mode might be one of the worst I've played in years. It's probably as bad as Battlefield Hardline; worse than any of the overreaching, later-era Call of Duty games. This mode is so bad, I originally dedicated this review's entire introduction to how much I hate it. I have since calmed down in various ways (soak in the tub, lots of candles, pwning noobs) to give the rest of the game a fair, deserving shake.
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