Title: Gears of War 5
Developer: The Coalition
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Genre: Action, Shooter
Platform: Xbox One
Audience: PEGI 18
Release Date: 09/09/19
Price: £49.99 – The reviewer purchased this title.
The massively popular Xbox exclusive series Gears of War has finally returned, with this latest entry into the franchise being simply titled “Gears 5”. As a fan since the first game, this shortened title is one that speaks to me. It tells me I already know what this game is about, what I should expect and yet the game still managed to blow me away as it does so much more than what fans have come to expect from these games.
If I were to describe Gears 5 in a single word, then that word would undoubtedly be “Beautiful”. From the stunning 4K vistas on display in the campaign to the smoothness and fluidity of gameplay across all modes, the game simply is beautiful.
The most important of these modes to many other players and me is, of course, the campaign, which continues the Gears story which I and many others have a massive investment in. However, if this is your first Gears rodeo, then Gears 5 offers a complete catch-up video on not only the previous game but on the series as a whole, so you have a good idea of what you are walking into.
The story starts with the crew we’ve come to know and love arriving on the island of Azura, which at first seems like a peaceful paradise, and offers players their first of many visual treats, a breath-taking descent into a cave with great looking waterfall feature, a scene which is jaw-droppingly gorgeous on Xbox One X. However the game wastes no time throwing you into the action, and you will soon find yourself in an epic fight with the swarm, the current alien antagonists of the series.
In terms of combat, not much has changed, but that’s not a bad thing as the Gears combat is still great and feels just as challenging and satisfying as it always did. As they say, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. For those unfamiliar, Gears is a cover-based shooter where you will find yourself moving from wall to wall, avoiding a million incoming bullets before blasting enemies into bloody chunks, or for the extra stylish among you, finishing enemies with a gory yet weirdly enjoyable execution, of which there is a disturbing variety.
The campaign remains somewhat familiar in structure in its first Act when compared to previous games, but afterwards does something totally new. The levels open entirely up, you will find yourself in large new environments that are so big, you have to travel around in a skiff. These levels are open-ended with a lot more to see than meets the eye for players who are keen explorers. There are secret weapons and other collectables to be found, as well as optional side missions to complete which reward you with upgrades for your robot companion Jack.
The robot character is a series mainstay that now is a much more important part of the gameplay. As I said, you can find upgrade parts for him in the world which grant him new abilities that greatly benefit you and your team and change the flow of gameplay completely. From stunning enemies to reviving and healing teammates, there’s a whole host of ways your robot companion can help you out in a pinch.
The new open-ended style of levels and the light RPG elements like upgrading your robot are a welcome breath of fresh air for the series, and while I won’t spoil the story, there are plenty of unexpected twists and turns that shook me, and have now left me waiting impatiently for this brilliant ongoing story to find a conclusion in the inevitable Gears 6.
In terms of multiplayer, again, not much has changed, but that is perfectly fine. You have your standard set of versus modes which all still play very similar to previous entries. The most significant addition to multiplayer comes in the form of a new co-op mode, escape. This is a high-pressure mode in which you must well, escape, from an alien hive that is set to blow, fighting enemies along the way with limited ammo. I found this mode to be very addictive as tried and tried to beat each of the 4 maps on offer, with many more to come for free post-launch.
The only real problem I have with this game is the server issues, but these are likely not going to last much longer. However, it did impact my online experience playing with friends significantly, so I had to mention it in my review. These issues included severe lag, frequent disconnects, and unfortunately, a loss of progress. Hopefully, these problems will be ironed out fast, as underneath lies a great game.
In conclusion, Gears 5 is a phenomenal entry into the series, it is stunning in terms of its visuals and adds new elements to gameplay that only add to the fun to be had, without detracting from the tried and true formula that makes the Gears of War combat so compelling. Gears veterans and newcomers alike are sure to have a great time with this blockbuster of a game, and I cannot recommend it enough, get your hands on this game as soon as possible!
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Gears of Wars 5 from the Microsoft Store on the following link, https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/p/gears-5-standard-edition-pre-order/9nqbq4mm0gwl?activetab=pivot:overviewtab
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.