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Gears of War 4 runs beautifully on Xbox One, even better on PC

Gears of War was undoubtedly one of the most influential franchises of the Xbox 360 era. Originally developed by Epic Games, those blockbuster releases helped make Unreal 3 the go-to engine for the previous generation. But now that Microsoft owns the series, and a Vancouver-based studio dubbed “The Coalition” has taken the reins, many die-hard fans have been biting their nails to see if the next game will live up to its pedigree.

Set a quarter of a decade after the last installment, Gears of War 4 features Marcus Fenix’s son JD as the protagonist. A new team of soldiers will be teaming up with last generation’s hero to fight a new threat: The Swarm. After Gear 3 wrapped up so nicely, that seems as good of an excuse as any to jump back into this beloved setting.

On our sister site IGN, Ryan McCaffrey is currently in the process of reviewing the game. He enjoyed the campaign, didn’t run into any significant performance problems on either platform, and seems thoroughly impressed by this iteration of the horde mode. As such, he has tentatively assigned Gears 4 a superb 9.2/10 rating, but the final score depends on how well the multiplayer holds up in the real world.

Over on Metacritic, the Xbox One version currently has a meta score of 84/100 based on 65 reviews. The PC version only has nine reviews, but it’s sitting at a very similar 86/100. The critical consensus is clearly positive, so that’s a good sign for fans of the franchise. But if you absolutely despise the third-person shooter formula, this installment probably won’t turn you around.

Gears 4 is the first game in the series to be released on PC and console simultaneously, so many of us were worried that we’d see one of the platforms get saddled with a sub-par release. And after seeing how poorly optimized many UWP releases have been this year, it was a safe bet that the PC version would be in trouble. Thankfully, both versions of the game turned out fine — crisis averted.

Digital Foundry examined both the Xbox One and PC releases, and there’s not much to complain about. The Xbox One version uses resolution scaling to hit 30fps at almost all times, and still manages to stay at 1080p for most of the campaign. Better yet, the anti-aliasing solution, lighting effects, and texture filtering in Unreal Engine 4 come together here to make one of the best looking console games of this hardware cycle.

On the PC side, you can customize nearly anything you can think of. So whether you’re rocking a brand new GTX 1080 or an older GTX 750 Ti, you should be able to tweak enough knobs to get it running smoothly. Eurogamer tested the game on both a GTX 970 and a R9 290X, and the game seems to scale with relative ease. With that in mind, you should be fine with midrange gaming cards. Just know going in that only top-of-the-line hardware will be able to run Gears of War 4 at 2160p60. Older hardware should stick with 1080p.

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