The Gears of War franchise may be 10 years old, but this fourth title is only the second to make its way to PC. Third-person shooters in general have never had as big of a following on PCs as they have on console. Gears of War, it seems, has become something of a gold standard of third-person shooters for play with dual-shock controllers. We’re here to give it a pass on the keyboard and mouse.
There are good reasons for the success of the franchise. With a controller, the dual thumbsticks of an Xbox controller suit maneuvering through cover and “locking” to walls. Then there's the trademark thickness of the characters; even normal humans stand out against other games. Against a backdrop of superfluous gore and chainsaw-guns, the Lancer, Gears of War 4 has established itself as one of the meatiest, most visceral shooters on the market.
One of the perennial remarks about the Gears of War franchise has always been the game's character design. Every male character seems have a jaw like a brick, or Robert Z’Dar, and the armor looks built of heavy metals. Now, the Gears of War franchise is five majors titles in, with novel, comic, and board game adaptations. The odd, not-entirely-human look of the characters has become a dedicated part of the franchise, and GoW4 remains true to that aesthetic. The Coalition may have taken over development from Epic, but they’ve also come a long way in design from the first Gears of War. One of the characters in this game -- Del -- even appears to have a neck. As with all the previous titles, females characters still look pretty human. 25 years older, Marcus Fenix still looks more like a bicep drawn by Rob Liefeld than a human.
The ESL One in New York is just a week away. The top eight teams in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive will be duking it out for $250,000 starting on October 1st, and ESL One plans to stream the tournament on its official channel. Hardware sponsor nVidia, who are presently making noise that ESL One NY is “the first” major tournament to be held on Pascal architecture, will also be operating a live stream channel for online viewers.
We saw a lot of games at PAX West and, as always, didn’t get a chance to cover all of them individually. One little game stood out, though: Midair, the spiritual successor to the Tribes series.
Cloistered away in the back of the sixth floor of the Seattle Convention Center, Archetype Studios barely got their game into PAX. Another exhibitor dropped out of the show two weeks prior to kick-off, opening a slot for waitlisted Archetype. As longtime fans of the Tribes series, Archetype Studios and its founders were disappointed by Tribes: Ascend’s support and payment model, leading to the creation of Midair. The game was already successfully Kickstarted for nearly $130,000, about 30% more than initially asked.
GamersNexus articles have noted in the past that we have a history with board games and pen-and-paper RPGs. When we saw the animation and art style of The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, the game instantly stood out as worthwhile for PAX coverage.
Characters in Firetop Mountain are modeled like miniatures in a tabletop game. They’re not animated like a video game, either; their limbs don’t move, and instead the characters appear to be picked up and moved about by the player. More so than any title we can remember, including Sword Coast Legends, the sets look like elaborate Dungeons and Dragons pieces.
iBUYPOWER continues to show its support for the eSports community with a new tournament. The SI’s tournament series returns this fall with the CS:GO and Overwatch Invitational in September. From the 17th to the 18th, the top 8 teams in both games, as picked by iBP, will be competing for a combined $21,000 prize pool.