Gears of War 4 has been in our hands since Friday and is another title from Microsoft that takes advantage of Xbox One/Windows 10 play anywhere. After the decent job that was done with the PC version of Forza Horizon 3 I was keen to see what the Coalition could achieve with the Windows 10 version of Gear of War 4.
The Windows 10 version of Gears of War 4 requires 80gb of free space and has full controller support as well as Keyboard and Mouse support. I opted for my trusty Xbox One elite pad. The minimum specifications for Gears Of War 4 seem to be more generous than those we saw with Forza Horizon 3, which is a good thing as it’ll obviously allow more people to enjoy the game. I noticed that the game looked pretty nice even at the lower graphical settings so if you cant reach the heights of Ultra settings don’t let that put you off.
I’m playing the game on an Intel® Quad Core™ i7 6700k @4.0 ghz and with an nVidia GTX 980ti with 6Gb V-ram GPU. The ideal specifications do say to install the game on an SSD but as mine is packed full of all sorts of stuff at the minute I decided to plonk it on my 2tb HDD and it doesn’t seem to have any negative effect. It should be noted that Gears of War 4 doesn’t currently support multi-GPU SLI or CrossFire setups out of the gate, though The Coalition plans to add it in a future patch.
Gears Of War 4 features a metric crap tonne of options for you to fiddle with and also includes it’s very own benchmarking tool which is both very handy and easy to use. You can see your frame rate as the benchmark progresses as well as your average minimum frame rate. At the end of the benchmark you are presented with a pretty easy to understand breakdown of the results. It may be worth having a read of a detailed guide that nVidia have done you may find it useful and you can read that guide here.
There are over 30 graphical settings allowing a hundred or more different configurations that you can choose. I targeted 60fps or above at 1080p with dynamic scaling turned off which according to my benchmark test I could achieve with everything maxed out (at 1080p resolution). Even scaling the resolution up to 130% I could maintain a solid 60 fps with dynamic scaling on (although I could achieve the same results with it turned off) and could push it even higher before I started to sacrifice frame rate.
Dynamic scaling basically drops the resolution temporarily in order to maintain a steady and constant frame rate. In the graphics settings you can also see the impact each setting will have on your hardware which is a great addition and one I hope to see more of in the future. The Coalition have done a great job making the vast array of settings easy to understand and test so that you can quickly find the sweet spot and dive into the action.
So how does Gears Of War 4 perform in the home on my PC? Extremely well is the answer. During actual gameplay my PC maintained a solid 60+ fps with the only noticeable drops in the frame rate occurring during a couple of cut scenes. Playing the online multiplayer proved to be just as stable with the only issues I’ve encountered so far being server side latency , which required me to leave the game and search for another. It’s only happened the once so far. I was able to enjoy some online games with a friend who was in a different region and playing on console without any issue. It reminded me of when you used to speak to somebody abroad years ago and you were amazed at the quality of the call. It’s all just very seamless and well polished.
The textures are beautifully rendered in Gears Of War 4 on the PC with the game world being wonderfully detailed. The lighting is particularly impressive, as you navigate your way through the game you cant help but take your time and soak up the beautiful scenes. The particle effects top off the games visuals beautifully making the scenes feel like watching an awesome fireworks display.
The Coalition and Microsoft have clearly put in an awful lot of effort with Gears of War 4 and it’s paid off big time. If they can continue to produce and port games across to PC at the standard of Forza Horizon 3 and Gears of War 4 then play anywhere could really pay off for Microsoft and more importantly gamers, big time. Gears of War 4 plays and looks stunningly beautifully and is a an outstanding PC port worthy of a trip into the windows store. Even better, if you buy it on your Xbox One digitally then you get the Windows 10 version free. I can’t recommend this game enough.