Marcus Fenix is back in the fray. 25 years after kicking some Locust ass, Marcus is helping his son (JD) tackle a new threat. The Swarm. Here’s our first look at Marcus Fenix alongside JD, Del and Kait.

Hell yeah, it’s fantastic to see Marcus back in the saddle!

The four of them are chasing the Swarm after they destroyed a village and abducted Kait’s mom. As the squad makes their way towards the dam, we learn what happened to all the Locust killed during the first set of Gears games. They were buried in mass graves numbering in the dozens, maybe even hundreds. And at least several of them are infested by the Swarm. Maybe even all of them.

We then cut to a familiar engagement. The Coalition keeps the cover-based gameplay fans love. But they spice things up a bit. Windflares bring a whole new environmental element to fights. Perfectly placed objects make these fights a little easier and look a lot more badass. Fire a few bullets into the junk holding a pipe in place and watch it smash into the Swarm sitting behind cover.

Gears of War 4 windflare

Credit: GameInformer

But the flying debris isn’t just for killing enemies. If you’re not careful, you might find yourself on the ground asking for help. Check out the downed teammate marker at 4:06. Looks like someone got caught between a rock and a massive pipe.

The new environment mechanics also affect some of your weapons. If you’re not careful, heavy winds will blow grenades back into your face. You can see how blades from the Buzzkill are pushed around during the windflare at the 5:15 mark.

Gears of War 4’s Smart Way To Let You Get the Cosmetic Item You Want

The nearly 7-minute campaign clip ends with you dodging lightning strikes from the windflare.

It looks great. I like how The Coalition is keeping the base gameplay that made the franchise popular while shaking things up a bit with environmental effects. There aren’t enough weather effects in games. It’s one of the reasons why I loved Battlefield 4 so much. Watching the storm roll in on Paracel Storm was one of my first ‘holy shit’ moments (among many) on PlayStation 4 (and the inevitable double dip on Xbox One).

A glimpse at Forge

I nearly had a heart attack when I saw this. For a split second, I thought a map editor was coming to Gears of War 4. Alas, it’s only a multiplayer map. Here’s a flythrough of Forge.

Damn, Gears of War 4 is shaping up quite nicely since the beta. If you can make to Comic-Con later this week, swing by and freshen up your shotgun skills on Forge.

The Coalition is also holding a Comic-Con panel titled: Gears of War 4: Creators, Characters and Cast. Swing by Room 6BCF at the San Diego Convention Center to learn more about the characters and story behind the next chapter in the Gears of War franchise. I’m not 100% sure if this panel will be livestreamed, but I’ll update this post when I find out. (UPDATE: An encore of the panel will be livestreamed on July 22 at 5 pm on Xbox’s Facebook page.)

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