During the week of PAX, The Coalition and Xbox revealed Horde 3.0 to the world. Featured as part of Gears of War 4, Horde 3.0 will build on the the two previous iterations of Horde mode, a game changer in co-op gaming, and the trailer revealed that ‘classes’, introduced in Gears Judgment, would be making a return.
Horde pits you and up to four friends against 50 waves of enemies in a fight for survival. You’ll need to build defenses – called fortifications – to aid in your survival, and work together to come out alive. It has been this way since Gears of War 3, with the fortifications and defenses, but now, in Gears 4, you will be able to build these defenses wherever you want, and move them whenever you want. As usual, every 10 waves sees a Boss wave taking place, and following your victory, if you’re lucky, the enemies get harder and stronger for the following 10 waves.
Creating and moving objects requires a new feature in Horde mode, called the Fabricator. It’s “a new device in the Gears of War universe that is a take on a 3D Printer. The Fabricator must be placed at the start of the game wherever you choose. It should act as the hub of your defenses, and you can move the fabricator to any location at any time throughout a game.. The choice is entirely in the player’s hands. The Fabricator is how you build fortifications by using Energy – picked up from fallen enemies on the battlefield – to construct your base. The Fabricator cannot be destroyed or harmed in any way, so the only thing that has to survive in Horde is you.”
Another neat new addition is about survival and what happens when a team mate goes down in battle. If they’re DBNO (down but not out), you can simply pick them up and they can carry on. However, if they get killed, they will drop COG tags. They are the Gears universe’s take on dog tags. Pick ’em up and return them to the Fabricator, and your friend will respawn at base. Not so realistic, but it’s an interesting change from ‘wait for the next round to start.’ It also encourages team work and sticking together! Make it to the end of the wave and every dead player respawns anyway, so that’s reassuring.
He’s a Class Act
As stated at the beginning of the article, Gears of War 4 re-introduces ‘Classes’ to Gears of War 4. First seen in Judgment during the Overrun game mode, each character had their own set up weapons and abilities, and using them in unison with your team mates would help you towards victory. I was never really a fan of it, but the idea was sound. I’m a Battlefield player too, so I enjoy the concept. The Coalition are doing some interesting things with the idea, which settles my mind over their return. I’ll let them explain it below.
“Classes in Gears of War 4 are additive and not restrictive, providing bonuses to the way you want to play without forcing you to play the role in a specific way. It’s up to you, the player, to decide how much you want to play into your Class and Skills throughout each game.
Any Class can use any Character in the game, pick up any weapon in the game, and build any fortification in the game. Each class has different starting weapons, but you can switch those up with any weapons you find on the battlefield. Want to snipe as the Heavy? Go for it. Want to build Sentry Turrets as the Engineer? Sure, why not. The best teams will maximize the use of their Classes abilities to come out on top, and have a varied team to offer the most flexibility on the battlefield. We can’t wait to see the various builds, Class combos and surprising methods fans use to conquer the 50 waves of Horde.
In addition to the Classes below, there are 5 General Skills that can be equipped by any class to provide further versatility to your build. These Skills are especially useful if your team is missing a Scout or Engineer, as they offer additional ways to bolster defenses or Energy gain. The final skill is a Fabricator option called ‘Team Revive’, which can bring your team back from the brink in tight situations.”
There are five classes to choose from, which you can read about below. I won’t detail them too much, but you can get the full lowdown here.
Starting Weapons: Enforcer, Gnasher, Snub
Passive Ability: Start with free Repair Tool
The role of the Engineer is to focus on fortifications – they can build more than any other class due to their discounts, make their fortifications more effective and repair fortifications faster at a lower cost.
Starting Weapons: Retro Lancer, Boomshot, Boltok
Passive Ability: Start with free Boomshot
The role of the Heavy is all about dealing big damage to enemies, through the use of more powerful explosive weaponry, Heavy weaponry, or Turrets.
Starting Weapons: Retro Lancer, Gnasher, Snub
Passive Ability: Double Energy pickups during combat
The role of the Scout is to grab Energy mid-fight from across the battlefield, capitalizing on its passive bonus of Double Energy when picked up during combat to get resources back to the Fabricator. Combat wise, the Scouts Skills focus on close quarters shotgun combat.
Starting Weapons: Markza Mk. 1, Longshot, Snub
Passive Ability: Start with two marksman weapons
The Sniper is all about headshots and threat identification, using its long range weaponry to weaken or kill targets before they reach the defensive line.
Starting Weapons: Lancer, Gnasher, Snub
Passive Ability: Start with Frag Grenades
The Soldier is the ultimate in core Gears combat, dealing consistent damage over time with a variety of abilities that make them tough to kill and hard hitters.
Fortifications are the defenses you build to help stay alive. It looks like Epic hit the nail on the head with Gears 3, as there are very few additional features this time around from The Coalition. Two new additions aside from the Fabricator include a Weapons Locker and a Repair Tool. You could repair defenses in Gears 3 with money earned in combat, but this again changes the mechanics somewhat.
Barriers slow or block enemies that try to pass through them, as well as dealing small amounts of damage. The electric and laser wire fortifications earned at higher levels have been improved since Gears 3, only disabling for a very short period of time when players pass through them – rather than when the player is in close proximity.
Decoys draw enemy fire, resulting in less pressure on your team and a great way to funnel enemies into powerful defensive locations. Later versions of the Decoy are mined with frags that explode when enemies destroy it, killing or damaging any nearby enemies.
The MG Sentry helps provide additional damage on the battlefield in a limited area. MG Sentries cost Energy to maintain due to their reliance on ammo, which can be restocked with the Repair Tool.
The Shock Sentry is similar to the MG Sentry, but focuses on slowing and stunning approaching enemies in a narrow area of effect rather than damaging (although later versions deal a decent amount of damage). These are great for a defensive choke point where teammates are around to deal damage.
These player-controlled Turrets deal a massive amount of damage, but need to cool down regularly and drain Energy fast due to needing to be restocked. Later variations come with additional barrels and more protection for the user.
Weapons Lockers allow you to store weaponry from round to round, and will slowly refill the weapon’s ammo reserves. Smart teams will put rare high damage weapons into these Lockers to use whenever things get hairy. Later variations add more slots per Weapons Locker to be utilized.
A replacement for the Pistol that allows the player to repair fortifications and restock fortification ammo at an Energy Cost. The Engineer gets this for free and can take Skills to make repairing more effective, but any player can purchase the Repair Tool should they choose.
The Fabricator will automatically level up when it hits Energy spending milestones, providing you more effective and powerful Fortifications to build. You can also upgrade existing Fortifications in the field by picking them up and upgrading them, for a cost.
No but Seriously
The slight mention of the word ‘Seriously’ around Gears fans is enough to set them off on a rage, or a comparison with their friends. I’m better because I got 80% completion of Seriously 3.0! Some can make it, some can’t, but the Seriously Achievement has become a cult Achievement in its own right. It’s daft, it’s time consuming, but it’s fun to at least try progress towards.
To earn Seriously 4.0, you’ll need to:
- Complete the Campaign on Insane Difficulty
- Get to Re-Up 10
- Earn all Ribbons at least once
- Earn a Rank Placement in each mode
- Get all 5 classes to Level 10
- Level any 5 Horde Skills to Level 5
- Complete all 10 ‘on-disc’ maps from Wave 1-50 (any difficulty)
There are also some details about Progression systems for Classes and Skill levels in Horde, which you can check out on the dev blog here.
Gears of War 4 will be available on October 11th for Xbox One and Windows 10 via the Play Anywhere incentive. Buy it on Xbox One, and get a free digital copy for PC. Or just buy it on PC if you don’t own a console. Everyone ones!