(Pocket-lint) - Microsoft's Gears of War 4, developed by in-house team The Coalition, is shaping up to be the best chapter in the series for years. Not only is it the first to be developed specifically for the current generation Xbox One, it offers HDR graphics for Xbox One S owners, giving them a wider colour gamut and a bit more contrast.
However, even that is chicken feed in comparison with the PC version for Windows 10. If you have a machine powerful enough, with top notch graphics card, you can play the long-awaited sequel in 4K, at a minimum of 60fps and with ultra settings.
That's exactly what we did. And on a notebook to boot.
How? Well, we played a lengthy demo level of the single-player campaign during a special event Nvidia held just outside London, using an EVGA SC17 notebook with a 4K G-Sync capable display and GeForce GTX 1070 graphics running the show.
Nvidia announced that this year it wasn't compromising on its portable graphics processors. Rather than mobile versions of its GPUs, as last time around, OEMs are putting full GeForce GTX 1080, GTX 1070 and GTX 1060 chips in their latest devices. The power management of the Pascal architecture enables them to work in such an environment in the same way they would a desktop, thereby opening up the possibilities for laptop 4K gaming at seriously good levels.
And boy did we see that in action.
There was also a notebook next to ours running the GTX 1080, but had a 120Hz display rather than Ultra HD one. We wanted to play Gears of War 4 in full 4K, so chose the lower spec'ed machine - crazy right?
The game itself is stunning, especially with the added detail afforded by the resolution. Lighting effects make the most of the ultra settings and we didn't notice a drop in frame rate at all, even during the most chaotic, packed sequences.
We knew we'd be playing as JD Fenix, son of original protaganist Marcus, and we knew that his father would feature somehow thanks to an E3 reveal. What we didn't know is that Marcus Fenix would be part of the squad. He accompanied us in our level, even helping out here and there. We wonder if there's the possibility of playing as him in co-op? Guess we'll find out soon.
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In addition, we also got to see a new, previously unannounced feature: windflares. On the level we played, the team faced new enemies The Swarm, while facing game-changing weather effects.
When caught in a windflare, the typhoon style effects have multiple consequences, that are of a disadvantage or can be used to aid your progress. For example, thanks to the strong winds, we managed to shoot a barrier holding back a massive, metal pipe which then proceeded to rapidly roll over our foes. On the flip side, we found we couldn't use a Buzzkill effectively as the circular blades went off course as they were fired.
It makes for different strategies and a more tangible fight, we feel. And we loved every second of it.
At the end of that level, giant towers of electricity rained from the skies, which we had to avoid. And then it was over. We survived and cannot wait to play more closer to release.
In essence, our playtime with Gears of War 4 in 4K allowed us to do two things. First, we got to play the game in the best mode possible, which made us gasp on occasion with how amazing it looked.
We also got to see what's possible on a gaming notebook, one of the fastest growing sectors in the games industry.
Laptops sporting Nvidia's latest Pascal GPUs will not be cheap - even those with the GTX 1060 will cost £1,000 and up - but they will be a direct equivalent of a desktop. They will be capable of running the latest games at their very best. And what's more, they will be available very soon.
As for Gears 4, it's part of the Xbox Play Anywhere deal so if you buy the digital download version for Xbox One, you'll get the 4K-capable Windows 10 for free, so you can always start playing while you save up for that pukka laptop you've got your eye on. Job sorted.
Gears of War 4 will be available from 11 October.