Gears of War has been a staple of the Microsoft family since 2006 and has defined the way cover shooters are portrayed.
And since the Coalition took over the franchise, it’s reignited it back into the limelight.
Gears has always had that steady multiplayer aspect to it since day one and this has never changed, with it even making rounds in eSports tournaments.
Add to that the various skins and glowing guns, to new modes added in each title, and an amazing story that keeps you glued to your gaming chair.
Gears 5 brings you right back to where you left off in Gears 4, with Kait having nightmares from her ancestors – this will play a big part in this outing.
For the first time, you can play three players via local co-op and from the days of having Jack the Bot open doors for you, you now have different variations of him who can collect weapons for you, like a good bot.
You can also upgrade your bot with passive skills to sustain it in battle and also gain new abilities; these are done through collecting components throughout the levels. It’s a nice little touch to aid you in battle.
It’s also worth noting that your bot can revive you whilst also keeping enemies back with its shock beams and other attacks.
But the best feature that’s been newly added is a pulse, which essentially shows you what is ahead.
On first impression, the visual appearance of Gears 5 is amazing.
You begin in a missile silo and you rappel down into a lagoon, and the water effects are just so pretty to look at.
There are some new characters too, including Fahz with his cheeky British accent; that’s about as much as I like about him, but I’m hoping his character will develop through the games main story, and for the first time you can control Kait, as well as JD and Del.
Coalition claim this is the biggest campaign that has been in a Gears game, but there still seems to be the same if not fewer acts, though from first early impressions the chapters seem longer with more enemies to deal with.
What’s more, Gears 5 doesn’t feel like a normal Gears game, as the controls have changed slightly and weapon damage has been tweaked. You can actively reload your weapons with a full clip, while the ‘gnasher’ shotgun has been weakened but has been designed to work in short radius.
No longer will you hit an enemy from distance with an active shot and blow them up – that only happens at close range.
As you play through the campaign, there are many additional missions to keep your mind sharp and palms sweaty as they all offer rewards that you can use to upgrade your bot, while some are permanent unlocks throughout the play-through. The Coalition has done remarkably with the way the campaign pans out and gets players heavily invested into the story, just like predecessors Epic Games.
Let’s dive into the online aspect of Gears 5.
New modes have been added, while you there’s still the always-fun ‘Horde’ mode, which has gone from strength to strength since it was first introduced in Gears 2.
You also have the new ‘Escape’ mode, which pits three players who voluntarily get captured by a snatcher to then plant a powerful venom to destroy the swarm’s hive from inside – meaning you have to fight off waves of enemies as you plan your escape.
This is an interesting mode and adds more flavour to the game.
Each character has various abilities, ranging from ammo regen, to endless melee attacks, to shields. You just need to find a character that matches your play-style.
The versus mode as always adds that extra competitiveness to your game and is mainly unchanged from Gears 4 – minus a few maps and character models.
The hit markers for some enemies are more accurate and reward good players, plus you have the newly added health bar that helps you judge when you need to reload and when you need to change weapons.
Overall, the visuals are amazing and show how far both the game and the consoles have travelled…and it’s only getting better!
The gameplay feels ideal for a cover-based shooter – as it always has – while the fetch option with your bot can be a distraction at times.
The AI of your partner is garbage (once again) and needs to be fixed, it is better playing with others.
But, if you have nobody to play with, then I suggest trying the looking for a group as that can be a help.
There seems to be some issues with the server, as multiple times over the launch weekend we found ourselves kicked out from games.
These are small but are affecting some players and with all the games due for release in this short month of September, it’s a worry if you get lost in the shuffle.
The standard edition of the game is available worldwide NOW.