Gears 5 – Review
Follow Genre: Cover based Third Person Shooter
Developer: The Coalition
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Platform: Xbox One, PC
Tested on: Xbox One

Gears 5 – Review

Site Score
8.2
Good: Story, Mechanics
Bad: Addition of the free roaming sections with an annoying vehicle and unclear map, Forced collecting
User Score
9.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Back in 2016 Gears of War 4 came as somewhat of a surprise. We thought the series ended after the third installment, as the enemy forces seemed to be gone once and for all. We reckoned that the prequel game was merely a bonus, to satiate our thirst for more, and serve as a permanent goodbye to the series. The next generation did not only bring us a remastered version of the first Gears of War, but also the fourth installment, which brought us a new storyline to explore. The world has changed a lot after twenty-five years of peace, but during the fourth game, shit hit the fan once again, throwing both old and new faces in the midst of the battle to save Sera. While it’s hard to let old habits die, for some reason this installment was dubbed Gears 5, rather than Gears of War 5.

Story

The story is a direct continuation of the events that transpired in Gears of War 4, albeit with a few changes. Over the last few weeks/months, J.D. and Marcus have been reinstated with the COG and even Kait has joined the fold to gather all the possible forces to combat the resurfacing of the Swarm. The team gets sent out on a (secret) mission to send up a Hammer of Dawn satellite into orbit and they succeed to a certain extent. The satellite is functional, but the targeting system doesn’t function properly, which eventually results in casualties on the COG side of the fence. Due to this J.D. takes a step back in the story, and we now follow Kait, who is seemingly connected to the hive-mind of the Swarm. She is trying to figure out why, and how to sever the connection before she gets pulled in too deep.

Compared to the 4th game, the story takes on slightly more epic proportions, which was also true for the second game in the original trilogy. There are a decent amount of cutscenes that will add to the overall story value of the game, and you’ll get some proper answers to some of the questions of the previous game.

Graphics

Graphically the game looks very impressive. It’s clear that the power of the Xbox One is being utilized, and without any frame drops for that matter. The game has a variety of different sceneries, all with great backdrops and a lot of (destructive) action going on. While the world still has many static objects that remain in an unaltered state when being hit by bullets or explosives, it feels as if this series has more destructible items. That being said, there also seem to be more sceneries to explore, more small options to sidetrack with enough clutter to enjoy and take in the surroundings. The character models look very detailed, and most of the enemy models as well. There are a few models, mainly being unimportant NPCs that look a bit less qualitative.

Sound

In terms of sound design, not much has changed. You’ll get a rather cinematic backdrop to accompany you on your voyage across Sera. The sound effects haven’t really changed since the first installment, safe for the new weapon and enemy additions. The game has a familiar short sound effect to indicate the end of combat, and we personally love that not much has changed.

The voice acting once again feels superb, as there is plenty of it. This game seems to have a few more intermezzos and even more dialogue during the actual gameplay. We can only commend the developers for fleshing out the sound department of this title.

Gameplay

Just like its predecessors, Gears 5 is a cover-based third-person shooter. You’ll wade through the different chapters in a rather linear fashion, in order to bring pain to the enemy. This installment will revolve around the swarm again, but with the human factions working together again. While everything is straightforward in this series, this game introduces a bit more sidetracking as well as exploration options in order to upgrade the drone that joins you in your crusade. This style choice may not be for everyone, as the previous four main series games, and the prequel, were all very linear with a minimum of scavenging and collecting. Now players are somewhat forced to gather parts for the drone that accompanies you, to make for a more pleasant playthrough.

Not much has changed when it comes to the gameplay of the game. You have a loadout of three weapons and some grenades, and you can occasionally pick up an extra weapon that has limited ammunition. If you run out of that weapon’s ammo, you’ll toss it aside. The cover mechanics remain the same, the overall combat has not changed but you now have a drone following you wherever you go. This drone has different skill-sets that you’ll have to use in order to progress. Sometimes you need to be cloaked or shielded, while its offensive abilities can also aid you in the heat of battle.

As stated above, there is a free-roam element available in Gears of War 5 that allows you to collect parts for Jack, the drone, or to simply start side-missions if you want to. Overall this style choice doesn’t really suit the series, not because of the actual additions, but because of how it’s all handled. During some chapters you’ll have to roam around using a vehicle by going from one point to another, sometimes discovering something in-between. More than often you’ll have to go from one side to the map, to the other, to go back again and then once again go to the other side again. This feels like very annoying ‘filler’ content, which simply doesn’t suit the franchise. The maps are also designed that they are just awful to navigate through when controlling said vehicle. The implementation of this actually drags down the quality of the game.

The last few games in the series have had a reasonable amount of online content, ranging from matches against AI invaders to duking it out with other players, and this installment is no exception. It’s fairly easy to find matches and the overall game modes do provide for some extra fun after you’ve completed the game’s campaign. This iteration of the series does have a longer campaign, but this also has to do with the ‘free roam’ elements in some of the chapters.

Conclusion

Gears 5 is another successful entry in the series. The story is still very interesting and the overall gameplay formula remains untouched as it simply worked for the previous games, and it still does today. The only big changes are the addition of some free-roaming elements and the scavenging you’ll do to upgrade your drone. These changes aren’t for everyone and mess with the otherwise perfect tempo of the series. Nonetheless, even if you don’t like the addition of some extra freedom in your Gears (of War) series, this entry is still a great continuation of the franchise.

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Gears 5 - Review, 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Ibuki
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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