The Coalition’s Gears 5 is here and, after a shock reveal in Gears of War 4, players have been itching to rev up those chainsaws, curb stomp Swarm heads and grind through blood and bone!
Ever combined two things and wondered how you even existed before it? Like peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter and chocolate, or peanut butter and honey (hey, peanut butter goes with everything… unless its smooth!). Well if you’ve never played a Gears of War game before, you’re missing out on the greatest gaming weapon of all time, the assault rifle and chainsaw combo!
Gears of War is one of the key Xbox-exclusive franchises alongside Halo and Forza, and it’s a benchmark for modern gaming. Gears of War first released in 2006, and was based around the ongoing struggle between the COG (Coalition of Order Governments) and the Locust (underground creatures). Gears 5 follows new fan favourites from Gears of War 4, Kait and Del. Players will uncover further secrets of the Swarm (a new enemy related to the Locust) while revisiting some classic locations, such as the House of Sovereigns and, deftly avoiding spoilers, “more”.
The Gears series is known for its gory, brutal and loud combat, and Gears 5 not only delivers this, but every shootout turns into the mansion scene from Commando. Players can hold two main weapons, one sidearm and grenades, and easily swap between them via the D-pad. In Gears, players can either reload manually or when the clip empties. Rather than having a standard reload animation, however, players have a minigame to gain extra bullet damage and quicker reload time. Failing the minigame causes the gun to jam, stalling you even further before you reload. One thing to note about jamming your gun is that you can’t then change weapons. So, if you’re caught in a tight shotgun firefight and your gun gets jammed, GET OUT OF THERE!
Gears 5 also introduces something never seen before in any Gears of War title, and that’s an open world. Now before you stop reading, this isn’t an open world like Wolfenstein: Youngblood or Grand Theft Auto, but one like the recent Tomb Raider titles. The level design in Gears 5 merges open world and the classic style together. Act 1 still serves as an introduction to the game with its traditional (and amazing) level design, before opening up and following Kait and Del. Traversing Sera when Gears 5 really gets going is done with a Skiff (basically a snowmobile with a sail) where one player will drive, one player will shoot and the third player (that’s right, three players baby!) basically sits back and relaxes, as they’re not guiding a human… they’re playing as Jack!
Yes, for the first time in the series, players can now control the helpful and charming floating robot Jack, which plays differently to traditional characters. Jack can’t slam behind cover and grind people in half with a Lancer, but can open locked doors, go into dangerous areas that players can’t, place traps, heal and more. Gears of War 3 allowed four players do the entire campaign, though every character played the same. Gears 5 changes this up a bit with the introduction of Jack, making Gears 5 more strategic rather than just shooting and repeating (though there’s nothing wrong with that!)
Outside of the outstanding campaign, Gears 5 has its iconic multiplayer. There’s the standard five-on-five online ‘Escalation’ mode, ‘King of the Hill’ and the new ‘Arcade’ mode. The latter is a new five-on-five mode where teams race to 50 points. The character that you pick at the start of the round decides your abilities and starting weapons. As you progress through each round, you’ll accumulate skulls, which are given to you on kills, executions and more. These are used to instantly purchase character enhancements and upgrades.
“Outside of the outstanding campaign, Gears 5 has its iconic multiplayer.”
A new three-player co-op mode is also introduced, entitled ‘Escape’. Your trio is deliberately snatched (by a Snatcher, natch) to infiltrate a Swarm nest. Players plant a Venom Bomb, which slowly releases a toxic gas and, with very limited ammo, you and your team then need to escape. Players also have an ultimate ability (like in Overwatch) such as a portable shield or allied ammo refill.
Finally, the survival mode that started it all is back, ‘Horde’ mode (fun fact – the term ‘Horde mode’ was invented by Gears of War 2, and since then has been adopted and modified by Call of Duty and more). Five players face off against 50 waves of enemies. Players also have ultimate abilities, like in Escape. For example, Marcus Fenix’s ultimate can inspire others to perform headshots on enemies.
There’s a reason why Gears of War is one of the greatest Xbox properties. With brutally addictive combat, an entertaining story and the harsh world of Sera, Gears 5 not only plunges us back into the ongoing struggle between the COG and Swarm, but also further immerses us in the personal lives and decisions of Delta squad. If you own an Xbox One (or you’re looking at purchasing one) then Gears 5 is an absolute must-have.
Gears 5 is available September 10 for Xbox One.