Gears 5 – Review

Gears 5 is the continuation of a saga that has the COG engaged in a perpetual battle with an enemy that is trying to wipe them out. While this time around the story is mainly focused around Kait, the other COG members play an important part in the journey. You even have some favorites from the original trilogy like Baird and Marcus that help you out in the game. In addition to the story picking up right where it left off with Gears of War 4, there are a plethora of multiplayer options to choose from. There is your standard, typical multiplayer action. Horde mode returns to the franchise that started it all. There is also a new Escape mode where you have to, well, escape the location you are in and try to do it in one piece. There is a lot of content here for fans to enjoy and with Gears 5 being a part of Game Pass, members can try it out without that $60 commitment.

The Gears 5 story picks up right after the cliffhanger we were left with after finishing Gears of War 4. At the end of Gears 4, we learned that Kait has some type of connection with the Locust. Her mom had a medallion that she would wear but on the back of this medallion was a big locust symbol This left everyone with a number of different questions leading up to the release of Gears 5. I can say that after going through Gears 5 we did receive a lot of answers, however, we still don’t know everything. My assumption is that everything will culminate in Gears 6 in a few years. Until then though, Gears 5 has a pretty big campaign that will take you a while to do everything in it. There are collectibles strewn all around the environment, whether it be COG tags or a simple item that you can read to gain some backstory on events that took place at that particular location. You also need to be constantly on the hunt for components so that you can upgrade your robotic buddy Jack. This is something you will want to pay close attention to as his upgrades will really save you in later stages of the game when you are getting overrun by the enemy. There are upgrades that will help you take on the enemy, upgrades that will support you such as being able to cloak for a brief period of time, and then passive upgrades. Some of the passive upgrades include improving the effectiveness of Jack’s Zapper, building up his core so he can fetch heavy weapons for you, upgrading his health, and more.

A new thing that was introduced in the Gears 5 campaign was the addition of an open world. There are four acts in the game with Acts 2 and 3 being an open world. It is here where you will find some nice collectibles and some good upgrades for Jack. You will also want to search the area for downed planes that will contain upgrades, as well as some secondary missions that will pop up for you to go through. If you are the type of person who enjoys getting achievements, for example, you will need to find all of the downed Condors in both Act 2 and Act 3. The open-world itself isn’t as dense as other games titles but if you are aware of the Gears story and lore you understand why the world is like that. Of course, if you are only interested in the story and you don’t care about collectibles or anything else, you can just go from story beat to story beat and not worry about the world around you that doesn’t play a part in the narrative.

For me, the story in Gears 5 reminds me of The Empire Strikes Back or The Last Jedi. These were the second movies in their respective trilogies, much like Gears 5 is the second title in this new Gears trilogy. This isn’t because of any specific events that take place in Gears 5 but rather the darker tone this game has throughout. This isn’t to say that the Gears franchise has been uplifting or positive up to this point, but Gears 5 just felt a bit darker than the other titles which seem to be a bit of a trend in some trilogies, hence my examples of Episode V and Episode VIII in Star Wars as they were the dark films of their respective trilogies (so far).

If you are someone that prefers multiplayer action over the narrative, Gears 5 has you covered in that aspect as well. There are three different multiplayer modes with “Versus,” “Escape,” and “Horde” respectively. Versus is your typical multiplayer action. It has Team Deathmatch, King of the Hill, Execution, Dodgeball, and more. In all there are nine different modes here within versus so matter what you like, you should be able to find something here. The “Escape” mode is new to the Gears 5 franchise. It has a bit of a side story to it as you are trying to rid Sera of Swarm hives. The basic gist is you have a cast of characters in Escape where it is basically their job to get caught by the Snatchers. By doing so you are able to get into the hive and then once you are there you can plant a bomb and then try to escape before it detonates. That is a bit of a simplistic explanation but you get the idea. For me personally, I had a lot of fun going through some of these. They can be pretty damn intense, especially if you crank up the difficulty setting. You will need to work together with your teammates if you hope to survive and escape in time.

Then, of course, you have the Horde mode. Making its first appearance in Gears of War 2, Horde mode is wave-based gameplay. There are progressively harder waves of enemies that will come at you until you are able to wipe them all out. One nice feature in the Gears 5 horde mode is the addition of bots. In the past, you had to get a full team of people to play with or risk teaming up with random people on the internet. Now you don’t have to do that as a bot will take the place of a human player whenever necessary. Only have four players to go through Horde mode with? Not a problem as the fifth slot will be filled by a bot. Additionally, if someone disconnects in the middle of a game, a bot will replace them so you still have a full team. The Horde mode in Gears 5 also features an expanded class system so that you can try and have a well-rounded team to give you the best chance of surviving the continual attacks of the horde. The level of difficulty this time around can be tweaked a bit more to your liking as well. You can change certain aspects of the Horde mode to what you like and the game’s difficulty will adjust as a result. In my opinion, this is much better than just having standard difficulty modes as you get to have more control over your experience.

Gears 5 also features a Boot Camp which is basically the tutorial for the game and should be pretty self-explanatory. The Extras section allows you to check out the game’s credits if you want, has a video on “Gears of War: State of the Universe” and a “Previously on Gears” file to get you up to speed on what happened in Gears of War 4, whether you need a refresher course or never played it and need to know the key moments. You don’t need to go to the Extras section to check out this particular video though as you are shown the “Previously on Gears” video when you start a new campaign. Other things you can do when you aren’t playing include checking out your ranking and seeing where you stand. Every week there is a different operation and some objectives for you to complete. You can check out what your ranking is, what active tour objectives you need to try and complete, where your medal count is, what the tour rewards are and more. There really is no shortage of things to do in Gears 5 and it should keep you busy for quite some time.

Gears 5, in my opinion, is one of the best Gears games to date. The Coalition has done an amazing job across the board. The story is picking up nicely and I really want to see what happens during the next chapter. Gears 5 gives you some answers to the questions you had after Gears of War 4, however, not everything is answered here and there are some new questions that pop up. Everything points to Gears 6 as being the culmination of the current story and I am excited to see where it all goes. I’m also curious about a particular decision the Coalition will have to make regarding a difficult decision gamers are forced to make during the campaign. It will be interesting to see not only what most people picked but what will be considered canon in the Gears universe. Then, of course, the multiplayer should keep fans for busy for quite a long time, perhaps leading up to Gears 6. There is a lot of content to go through here and I have no doubt the Coalition will add more as time goes on. If you are a Game Pass member you can experience all of this for free too, which makes it even more amazing. If you are a Gears fan you will definitely want to go through Gears 5 and experience everything it has to offer. If you haven’t been a fan in the past Game Pass gives you that opportunity to jump in and see if you like the changes made by the Coalition. Now begins the wait to see what happens next.

Score: 9.5/10
Originally posted on Gaming Target

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