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New ‘Gears of War 4’ campaign video shows beautifully brutal combat

Gears of War 4‘s campaign is taking a page out of the original trilogy’s book, with an emphasis on atmosphere and incredible environmental set pieces to add pizazz to sections in between gunfights, and a new campaign walk-through video has us thinking that the series is in very good hands at The Coalition.

As protagonist JD Fenix and his squad of soldiers — Del and Kait — wander Sera in search of Kait’s missing mother, the mission gives us a moment to just take in the beauty of the “not Earth” planet. Enormous rock formations are covered in moss and trees, and an eerie nighttime glow casts dark shadows on the soldiers as they move forward.

After spotting a dead COG serviceman who has long since expired, the team move through a cave covered in Locust pods and spot an enormous wind flare on the other side. Of course, as soon as the team attempts to escape the wind flare’s path of destruction, the Locust Swarm attack and we get a taste of Gears of War 4‘s buttery smooth gunplay. Melee kills are also a brutal as ever, with JD pulling out a knife and slicing an enemy multiple times before charging forward. Later, he breaks a Locust’s leg and then knocks its head off with a swing of his shotgun.

The trailer also gives us a nice example of the new cover-based melee combat. With an enemy on the other side of JD’s cover, he simply reaches over and pulls the enemy toward him before gutting him with his blade. It’s a feature we’ve also seen in multiplayer, designed largely to keep players from staying in one spot for too long.

Unable to avoid the wind flare forever, JD hunkers down behind a classic waist-high piece of cover as the Locust focuses its fire on his squad. But you can’t fight mother nature: a burst of wind sends much of the enemies’ protection flying, and new pieces fall into place, as well. It’s a unique take on the traditional cover-based shooter blueprint that the franchise popularized a decade ago. And if the rest of the campaign is anything like this chapter, fans are in for a treat this fall.

Gears of War 4 hits Xbox One and PC on October 11.

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