Review : Gears 5

Gears 5 has a great campaign I’m happy to root for. On the competitive multiplayer front, though, it’s a mixed bag. Gears 5 stalwarts Horde and Versus return like battleworn COGs from yet another fight against the relentless Locust menace, but annoyances mar the party.Marcus Fenix, protagonist in the original trilogy, wore an unironic soul patch and shoulder pads more spacious than most London flats.I was happy to be back ducking bullets, gawking at the gorgeous environments, and reducing baddies to their meaty components.The third-person shooter is the sixth entry in the franchise and a direct sequel to Gears of War 4, continuing the story of the Coalition of Ordered Government’s (COG) fight against an enemy force, known as the didn’t help that JD had all the personality of a mannequin, but if we’re honest he was doomed before he opened his mouth.When the original Gears of War came out in 2006, we weren’t looking for much more from our shooters beyond mindless fun: point gun, shoot gun, dead enemy.

Gears 5 is as gory and intense as Gears has ever been. You still get to chainsaw hulking enemies in half.The campaign’s introductory chapter sees players exploring an abandoned missile silo hidden on a tropical island, a location choice that seems more befitting of Uncharted than Gears.he polish is immense. The feature depth is ridiculous, as if Microsoft dumped a full season of a star-studded TV series in order to bewilder fans with a binge.In unraveling Kait’s backstory, Gears 5 not only developers some of its other characters, it tells you more about the game’s lore and the history of the Locusts/Swarm.This entry in the series expands that paradigm in several ways, beyond its focus on a very different heroine or the dropping of “of War” from the title. It’s broad writing to underpin broad action. But there’s a levity, a cocked eyebrow at the more preposterous elements, which wasn’t there before.Certainly the open-world sections, which you explore via a skiff, break up the pace, provide a platform for squad banter and look nice at times – but you’re just travelling from one place on the map to your objective, which is clearly marked.It begins with a lot of walking, which, you know, seems as weird as diplomacy for a pair of COG soldiers in the chainsaw gun franchise.It’s an easy recommendation for longtime players of the Gears of War series and newcomers alike.She was ostensibly a sidekick in Gears 4, and yet the story revolved around her anyway.

It doesn’t always hit the nail on the head, but Gears 5 is certainly the best the series has been in a while.Two of these acts more or less play out like every other Gears game: you’re moving along a linear path that expands into larger areas that play host to the series’s uniquely muscular take on cover-based combat.After the Locust were resurrected in the previous title, Kait has begun seeing strange visions of the swarm, triggering a personal quest that sees Gears depart from many of its long-established conventions.But where some game series fill their sequels with a cool mix of boundary-pushing risks and familiar delights, Gears 5 sees fit to cover an all-too-familiar core with a bunch of tinsel and accoutrements.The Coalition created a cliffhanger of an ending, but it’s an extremely safe cliffhanger.As in previous games, this bot helps unlock doors and marks points of interest on the game’s directional compass, but now he also has offensive and defensive skills, including a zapper and a shield.It’s even capable of fleeting moments of sensitivity and political complexity in between tearing into alien flesh from behind waist-high walls.Only once did I stumble across something in the desert that turned out to be of interest.I want to explore, to learn, to try and figure out why people are screaming at me as if I’m the bad guy, calling me a fascist, and hoping for my death.

Gears of War 5 is my first foray into the series, I was initially unsure how well I could pick up on the story details, given the number of previous entries.Hell, she killed her own mother to stop the formation of a new Swarm Queen.This is also a strong jumping-off point that immediately tells us that Gears 5 is going to delve into narrative and story elements more than any of its predecessors.The level design is tight and inventive, with each weapon and enemy serving as a welcome new ingredient.After a first act that reintroduces the basics, Gears 5 suddenly ditches its typically linear levels, offering several vast environments for the player to explore.I’ll start with the campaign, which I previously described as a breath of fresh Gears of War air when Microsoft served it to the press in a preview platter.While Gears 5 follows the run-and-gun gameplay mechanic of yesteryears, its level design is quite different.The campaign’s second act is set in an icy landscape, and the third act is in a red desert.None of that would count for much if the fundamentals of its tried-and-tested cover shooting formula weren’t so enjoyable, six games on.Kait is a fantastic character and good for Gears of War, and developer The Coalition has been smart in making her the star of the show.But the battle that takes place ends with a series of mysteries about what’s going on and why I’m getting these headaches.

The events of Gears 5 are easy enough to follow without this prior knowledge, but a deeper understanding of the series’ history enriches the game’s content.What was once an isolated problem now batters the COG settlements, eerily reminiscent of the all-out war waged decades earlier.The series has never tried to be something that it isn’t and knows where its strengths lie: strong combat mechanics and multiplayer. Gears 5 isn’t exactly The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but these segments are a largely successful addition.Each map has only a handful of side-activities, all of which revolve around combat.I could ride around on open, vast plains, then dock freely and hop off to run and shoot, but there wasn’t any payoff to being on foot anywhere besides the clear landmarks.You keep wishing there was more to do and more locations, items, people and monsters to interact with.The spin-off Gears of War: Judgment was largely made by People Can Fly, and then the franchise was sold to Microsoft, which built a new studio, The Coalition, to make new Gears games.The Metal Slug-style active reload, which gives your weapon a boost when you time your reload perfectly, still excites on a primal level, adding an extra wrinkle and a chance to feel adept where most games are happy to have you sit passively and do the reloading for you.Gears 5 deftly handles its themes of grief and parentage, and totally earns the big decision it forces upon the player at the end of the campaign.I have time to explore and see what’s out there, to take on side missions as well as move the story along.


All the new things about it – the open world stuff, Jack’s powers, the light RPG elements, the side quests – all this stuff was done better years ago by other games.I was pleasantly surprised by its coherent narrative and refreshingly easy-to-pick-up mechanics.I’d take another wholly linear Gears game if it were done to the same level of quality exhibited here.We wish The Coalition had gone even one step further in delivering a compelling and rich story that they hint at but don’t deliver.