‘Gears Of War 4’ Beta: What You Need To Know

The Gears of War 4 beta has soft-launched this weekend ahead of the official launch on Xbox One on Monday. Get up to speed on how you can get into the beta along with what to expect and gameplay changes that have been made to the latest entry in third-person shooter below.

This Is A Beta

The Coalition has made clear that this is a true beta. In fact, they explained the game is technically still in the “alpha” stage of development during a Twitch livestream on Friday. The developer has even launched the Gears Feedback Program to get information from beta players on what works and what needs to be improved. Of course, they’ll also pay attention to feedback left in various online forums such as Reddit.

How You Get In

The Gears of War 4 beta has been opened to a limited amount of players the weekend of April 16 and 17. Some Twitch streamers are giving away codes to get in.

The beta will open to early access participants beginning Monday, April 18. This is for anyone that played Gears of War: Ultimate Edition prior to April 11. The Coalition will begin sending out waves of download codes beginning on Monday. Those that played Ultimate Edition at launch will receive codes first. Those that played it right before April 11 will receive codes last.

The Gears of War 4 beta will open up to everyone with an Xbox LIVE Gold subscription on April 25 and will conclude May 1.

Available Game Modes

Dodgeball – This 5v5 Elimination gametype doesn’t feature an actual ball. Instead, players have the chance to “tag” back in a teammate by killing an opponent. The dead teammate will only respawn if the player who got the kill survives for five seconds.

Team Deathmatch – The classic 5v5 mode. Each side has a shared pool of respawns. When those respawns are up, players will stay permanently dead until the end of the round. First team to win two rounds wins the match.

Bots – A multiplayer mode against AI-controlled bots is included to help players get used to weapons and gameplay before jumping in against other players. Players will take on Hardcore mode in the beta, but more difficulty levels be available in the full release.

Available Maps

There will be three maps in the Gears of War 4 beta – “Harbor,” “Dam,” and “Foundation.” All three maps are symmetrical with power weapons and grenades located at key points. You can check out the layout of each in the gallery below.

Available Weapons

The Lancer Rifles, Gnasher Shotgun, and the 6-round burst Hammerburst Rifle will all be available as loadout weapons in the beta. There will be other weapons available in the full game, such as the Retro Lancer, but this is all the Gears of War 4 beta will have available.

The Lancer has been tweaked to be more of a mid to long-range support weapon. The Hammerburst is a burst fire weapon best used in short to mid-range engagements. Finally, the Gnasher is a close-range killing machine.

Power weapons will be available on the map to claim. This includes the Longshot, Torque Bow, Dropshot, and Boomshot.

Pistols like the Snub Pistol and Boltok Pistol are in the beta, as well, along with Smoke Grenades.

Active Reloads

The Active Reload system has been tweaked for Gears of War 4. Players can now perform an active reload even when they have a full clip and the entire clip receives the bonus. However, there is a cooldown depending on the weapon when using the Active Reload. The Lancer and Gnasher cooldowns are roughly 12 seconds. A small white marker will be displayed to the right of the ammo when cooldown ends.

Here is the breakdown of what happens based on where you stop the Active Reload bar.

  • White – Damage and Stopping Power boost, plus faster reload
  • Grey – Just a faster reload, no Damage or Stopping Power boost
  • Black – Longer Reload

Close Quarter Melee

The Vault Kick from Gears of War 3 returns with some tweaks and a companion move, the Yank. The Coalition has balanced both melee moves somewhat by providing a counter.

The Vault Kick is performed by running toward an opponent behind cover. Push forward and press “B” when near the wall to perform the kick and stun the opponent. You can then press “Y” to perform an execution.

The Yank can be performed when taking cover against a wall and an opponent is on the other side of the same wall. Press “X” to reach over the wall and pull your opponent to you. This will temporarily stun them to set up the execution by tapping “Y.”

Both moves can be countered by pressing “B” at the right time. A small icon will flash at the bottom middle of the screen to indicate when to press the button.


Press down on the left thumbstick to mark enemies. This will allow teammates to see any enemies that may be hiding or retreating.

Press the Left Bumper to use Tac-Com. This will highlight marked enemies in red, highlight friendly teammates anywhere on the map in white, as well as the location of any power weapons on the map.

Nade-tagging has returned along with wall tagging, so go have fun with that.

Gameplay Changes To Be Aware Of

The Wall Cancel maneuver can still be used, but it currently has a 1 to 2 second cooldown. The Coalition will use the beta to adjust the cooldown time based on feedback.

The Snub Pistol’s range has been reduced to prevent sniping with the pistol. Meanwhile, the Boltok Pistol has an increased rate of fire, but roughly the same accuracy.

The Gnasher is slightly less powerful to account for better hit registration and lag handling.

The Longshot has reduced bloom and shakiness compared to previous games. Its power is on par with the original Gears of War.

Skill Based Matchmaking

The Coalition has added in skill-based matchmaking with Gears of War 4. Players will go through a series of “play in” games to assess their skill and will then be assigned to one of five different brackets.

Gears of War 4 Ranking System (Xbox One)
[Image via The Coalition]


Players will be rewarded with credits based on their performance during a match. The credits can be used to purchase crates, which contain cosmetic items of varying rarity like player skins, weapon skins, and emblems.

Those that reach level 20 during the beta will receive the following set of rewards when Gears of War 4 launches in October.

  • Vintage Kait Character Skin
  • Vintage Kait Emblem
  • Unique Bounty Card
  • Vintage Lancer Rifle Skin
  • Vintage Snub Pistol Skin

Gears of War 4 Beta Rewards (Xbox One)
The reward you will receive by reaching level 20 in the Gears of War 4 beta. [Image via The Coalition]
[Image via The Coalition/Microsoft]

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