VANCOUVER, BC—The future of high-end PC gaming is looking good thanks to graphics APIs like DirectX 12 and Vulkan, which let game engines more directly access multi-threaded processes in your hungry gaming computer's CPU and GPU. As of right now, however, neither API has been heavily tested in the public gaming market. Vulkan's biggest splashes to date have included noticeable, if incremental, bumps for games like Dota 2 and this year's Doom reboot, while DX12 has been applied to PC versions of existing Xbox One games—meaning that we've seen those games jump up to impressive 4K resolutions, but we haven't seen similar jumps in geometry or other major effects.
This fall, Microsoft is finally taking the DX12 plunge with a deluge of 'Xbox Play Anywhere' game launches, including this week's Forza Horizon 3, but arguably the biggest DX12er of the bunch is October's Gears of War 4. I wouldn't have made that statement before game developer The Coalition unveiled the game's DirectX 12 version for the first time, but after seeing what the company had to offer, I was amazed. Here, finally, was a Gears of War game that looked as stunning as the original did during its era—you know, so long as you can afford the game's 'recommended' PC build spec.
Now normally this is where I would go play horde but guess what. My Internet is out and that stops me from playing one of my favorite game modes in gears. So now I'm just playing with bots which isn't awful at least you can do that but I still find it borderline unacceptable. Can I play horde mode offline? Playing Arms Race against bots to see if you do get any kind of badges as well as we did a check whether or not its possible t. On Windows 10, you can install Gears of War 4 and play offline on your main device (usually the first device you install the game on), and install on multiple devices if you sign in to Xbox Live before playing. You can only be signed in one place at a time while playing Gears of War 4, or any other title that supports Xbox Play Anywhere.
Yes, there are “insane” settings.. but why?
In many ways, Gears of War 4 looks a lot like its Xbox 360 siblings, both in terms of general gameplay—duck-and-cover combat against bizarre foes in a dilapidated, near-future war zone—and in terms of how the game looks. Gears 1 was a visual revelation on the 360. Every sequel has looked damned good, but no entry in the series has since offered the same jaw-drop factor as that original holy-cow lighting engine.
At a hands-on event in Microsoft Studios' Vancouver offices, we saw Gears 4 on Xbox One systems, and it looked solid. Some cooler material-based lighting effects on show offered noticeably 'next-gen' improvements, but the game's campaign mode still stuck to the dated-looking 30fps console standard, and the effects on display didn't seem worth the visual slowdown. (Worth noting, the console version's multiplayer mode removes some visual effects to reach a locked 60fps.)
To be fair, of course, I had been spoiled. My first impressions of the game's latest preview build came courtesy of a high-end PC decked out with a GTX 1080 graphics card, an i7 processor, 32GB of DDR4 RAM, and a low-latency 4K monitor. With nearly every setting at 'Ultra,' I was getting a locked 60fps in all modes. Not only that, but these settings were clearly exceeding what the Xbox One could muster, with higher-res textures and much more noticeable bloom and light-contrast effects, along with more object density and more intense particle swarms.
'DirectX 12 is a big part of how we're able to get additional performance out of the PC,' Technical Director Mike Raynor told Ars. 'The DX12 graphics API takes away a bunch of layers from the developer and hardware. It's letting us have more direct control over what the GPU's doing.. We've completely parallelized the rendering system, meaning we're utilizing and running more CPU cores. One big focus we had was to lower the simulation cost to give headroom for the GPU. A lot of games out there have monster GPU but get framelocked because you're CPU bound. There's a huge upper range we support with what we've done.'
I also jacked up settings beyond my rig's near-ultra default and dropped the resolution to 1440p, which still looked gorgeous and rocked a 60fps refresh. I didn't have as much luck pushing some of the settings into the menus' crazy-high 'insane' setting, which might be because, according to Raynor, that setting has been offered for future systems and SLI power users: 'The game will scale with new hardware that will come out,' he said. 'You need a really high spec to get in there. It looks awesome, but it's very GPU-hungry.' (While I couldn't test Raynor's assertions that the game has been optimized to make the most of SLI graphics card performance, he insisted that users would see substantial boosts if they double-card.)Advertisement
Future systems, Mr. Raynor? Can you elaborate on that and whether it means we should expect Gears 4 to play nicely on, say, Project Scorpio?
'When we built this game over the last three years and went to a new engine, we optimized for a new console generation,' Raynor said. 'We've made a foundational technology for the franchise to work over the next 10 years. We've authored content with 4K in mind. We support 4K texture resolutions, additional features. We're set up to take advantage of future hardware, more horsepower, and more capabilities. We're not gonna hit reset [with the next game] and be thinking, 'How are we going to do this? We're not ready for it.' I can't go into specifics about Gears 4, but look at what we're doing on Windows, what we're doing on Gears 4—it looks pretty good for what we'll be able to do on future hardware.'
In the meantime, if you want to be charmed all over again by what a Gears game can push visually hand-in-hand with the latest Unreal graphics engine, you'll want to play all of its modes—campaign, versus, and 'Horde' co-op—on a decent PC. If you can't quite get up to 4K resolution, you'll still drool a lot harder at the smoke, fog, lighting, and explosion effects when they run at the highest framerate your screen can handle.
Thumbs up, basement dwellers
Additionally, studio head Rod Fergusson confirmed a lot of good Gears news in terms of nuts-and-bolts stuff surrounding the gameplay. First up: Gears of War 4 will be the first Xbox One game to support fully offline LAN play.
'Your setup in your basement will be totally fine,' Fergusson told Ars Technica.The studio couldn't comment on whether other Microsoft-produced games will follow suit, but I certainly hope so. I have hosted Halo: Master Chief Collection 'LAN parties' on occasion, but I have to use scare quotes there, as those parties have still required each participating console to log in to Xbox Live and ping to that service regularly throughout gameplay. It's a stupid requirement, especially for a system that has thus far proven pretty watertight about game piracy, and The Coalition and Microsoft Studios deserve credit for finally reversing course on something that was great on the first two Xbox systems.
Additionally, for both online and LAN play, PC and Xbox players will be able to cross their platforms' streams and join up in any 'cooperative' mode, which includes the two-player campaign, the 'fight increasingly tough enemy waves' mode known as Horde, and battles against practice bots.
On the other side of the spectrum: do you want to play Gears 4's myriad modes with a second player.. on a PC? Fergusson confirmed that split-screen campaign play is coming to the PC—though we'll have to wait and see how that mode dings performance or whether other modes are restricted to a single player.
Msi cx61 drivers windows 10 64 bit. While Gears 4 will include the same paid 'season pass' and DLC options as other games—to add more cosmetic items and battle arena options—Fergusson has announced a first for Microsoft Studios: a DLC plan that will still charge people money but will not fracture the game's default playlists. Here's how it will work: when new maps and content land in the game, The Coalition will update the default 10 to 12 maps that rotate in default online matchmaking.
If you want to sit down, pick an online mode, and automatically land in versus or co-op modes with other players, you'll never need to buy a DLC pack to be matched with every single other online player. If you want to load a 'custom' match with friends and pick options like maps, weapons, and tweaks, on the other hand, you'll have to pay to choose any map other than the ten shipping in the game (which include nine brand-new maps and the longtime fan favorite Gridlock). So long as one player has the paid map, everyone else can join in for free.
I hate audience-splitting DLC, so I'm calling this a net win. While I'd much rather pay $60 and get a full multiplayer experience (or a path toward accessing mod-created content), I feel like this is a more tolerable compromise between DLC sales and unfettered access to a fully loaded matchmaking community.
Can I Play Gears Of War 4 Offline DownloadAdvertisement
Hands-on with new content
There was also the matter of going hands-on with a ton of the game's upcoming content. How did that go?
In the case of the campaign, there's not much to report. If the game's second and third acts are anything to go on, you're looking mostly at Gears business as usual. Jump from cover to cover to eventually flank and surround enemies, which now include a cyborg-soldier army run by an oppressive government regime. These enemies mix up combat a bit by adding drone aircraft and rolling heat-seeking bomb balls that force movement around the battlefield, but for the most part, they're made up of soldiers on their hind legs doing the same stuff that the Locust have done for Gears game after Gears game.
The game's reimagined destructible-cover system was an immediate stunner, at least. I often used it to tear down enemies' fortifications. Other times, I found it forcing my hand when a piece of cover vanished under enemy fire all too quickly. Sadly, I can't say the same about the dialogue and character bonding that I saw in this game's early portion. Marcus Fenix is back, and his banter with his son, new series hero JD Fenix, is fine enough, but the three main heroes' conversations felt totally tone-deaf. Tragic events occurred, and within seconds, the characters were joking with each other in ways that just didn't logically land.
Outside of the campaign, versus modes have been updated with some welcome twists. My favorite of those was Arms Race, which equips every combatant with the exact same weapon and limited ammo. Every time your team kills four members of the opposing squad with a given gun, your entire squad is forced to swap to a new gun. For example, you'll all be blasting with shotguns, but once your team lands a combined four kills with shotties, everyone on your side will be forced to switch to a sniper rifle—so you have to quickly adjust strategy across your team on the fly to get that weapon's four kills. Do this for 13 weapons and you win the match.
I felt a little fuzzier about Escalation, a mode that Fergusson and friends insisted was built for e-sports competition. This mode applies the zone-capture concepts of other popular multiplayer shooters to a lengthy, best-of-seven contest. Each round sees respawn times increasing and allows the prior round's loser to place a new, powered-up weapon wherever they want on the battle arena. But weapon-spawn locations only help a particular team every other round, as teams switch places each round. The mode ultimately felt overlong and did little to help losing teams even the odds if they were losing a lot; as a result, I expect this mode to suffer heavily from rage-quitting once it goes live.
As expected, the Horde mode is back to let players set up an encampment on an arena map and fend off dozens of AI-controlled baddies every round (for up to 50 rounds, at that). Horde's new '3.0' system has already been demonstrated at various expos, but the short version is that it adds classes to the action—along with a series of specific boost cards that can be applied to each class so that players earn more points and card-buying currency for doing certain class-specific tasks. The 'scout' gets bonuses for running around the battlefield and picking up dropped orbs from enemies, but only while a wave is still ongoing, which means they risk up-close blasts from attackers to scoop up those bonuses. Engineers get bonuses for doing similarly dangerous tasks while in combat, though theirs are about repairing vulnerable turrets and the like.
I ultimately found that playing to a class' bonuses felt less satisfying over the span of 50 waves of increasingly tough enemies. I wanted to be able to switch my tactics up as the battle went on for so long, but instead, I felt like I was slogging at a workplace, having to max out my class' bonuses for the sake of the rest of the team (who routinely barked at me over voice chat if I didn't fulfill my duties—that wasn't fun).
Still, the core Gears gameplay system felt tight in my best versus battles, and I really can't understate how well its visceral combat popped on a higher-res, higher-framerate Windows 10 system. I expect at the very least to trade blows online once the game launches on October 11 for both Xbox One and Windows 10 players. (Remember, buying the game digitally unlocks a copy for both platforms thanks to the new Xbox Play Anywhere initiative.)
Can I Play Gears Of War 4 Offline Full
Listing image by Microsoft Studios