Gears of War 5 on Xbox One (Gears 5) debuts with some classic GoW action, polished multiplayer, and a few surprises as the first Q4 releases get underway.
After a protracted wait following the release of several excellent A.A.A. games in the fall of 2018, including Marvel’s Spider-Man and Red Dead Redemption 2, 2019’s Q4 big-budget games have begun to arrive. The first of these is the eagerly awaited and much-hyped Gears of War 5, or “Gears 5” as it is currently known.
Gears 5 is the fifth major entry in a video game franchise that most likely doesn’t need an introduction. It was created by The Coalition and released by Microsoft Game Studios.
The epic story of the C.O.G. Army’s conflict with the Locust Army, which has evolved into the Swarm over several decades, is continued in Gears 5.
In the beginning in Gears of War, the Locust Army initially arose six weeks after a truce between Sera’s (the planet, the game is set) two major political groups, The Coalition of Ordered Governments and the Union of Independent Republics. On this planet, the game is set.
The Locust Army, a native humanoid-reptilian species, starts a terrible war against the humans of Sera for 14 years, almost eradicating the human race.
However, a last-ditch C.O.G. army attack on the enormous Locust tunnel network severely decimated the Locust Army’s numbers and raised a ray of hope for humanity’s survival and safety.
The terrible struggle against the Locust Army, which is being transformed into a species known as the Lambent due to exposure to a naturally occurring Sera-based chemical called Imulsion, is the main focus of the C.O.G. army’s following two adventures.
Many Locust is compelled to leave their native underground environment and migrate upward in an endeavor to reclaim the surface to survive as a result of the Lambent’s tremendous aggression.
As the C.O.G. engages in several further engagements with the Lambent (and eventually prevails), there is increased brutality throughout Gears of War 3. At the same time, the Locusts are forced to organize into dispersed communities around Sera.
The main narrative of Gears of War 4 takes place 25 years after the events of the previous three games, and unbeknownst to the C.O.G. Army, dispersed bands of locusts have been congregating to build swarms.
Following the events of Gears of War 4, when the Swarm revealed themselves as a direct danger to Sera’s humanity, Gears 5 enters the picture.
The Saga Goes On
As Kait and J.D. from Gears 4, we experience the biggest Sera representation to date, traveling across cold wastelands, deserts, and Sera’s unfathomable depths as the genesis narrative of the Locust starts to take shape.
This feels precisely like Gears of War from the minute the game starts with the required introductory cutscenes until you begin rappelling into the abandoned Azura facility, as is typical with contemporary A.A.A. games of this quality.
To preserve the illusionary transition from player-controlled game-based action to story-telling directed action, a common technique (and one that I love) in today’s big games is how the game’s engine is used in the cutscenes. As one might expect, Gears 5 does this exceptionally well.
The game’s stunning visuals are immediately apparent from the cutscenes mentioned earlier and throughout the game, thanks to high-quality textures, incredibly smooth animation, and the game engine’s effective use of modern rendering techniques like dynamic shadows and real-time lighting particle effects.
The game’s undertone story, which emphasizes the duality of man’s character and his connection to the environment, fits extremely well with the well-implemented visuals engine.
The game abruptly changes from a naturally stunning, sunny tropical paradise to a dismal, abandoned human-made research center that has exploited planetary resources and needs the melancholy blue lighting of an L.E.D. Light for you to see.
While navigating the Labyrinthian research facility with Marcus from the first Gears of War, Marcus gives you some information about what had previously happened on Azura after Gears of War 3.
As the primary goal draws nearer, the game tries to provide some new features while updating seasoned gamers on familiar ones.
Utilizing a hovering A.I. robot called Dave is a fantastic new element for the game and one that we could see in upcoming iterations.
Like Iden Versio’s backpack droid in Star Wars Battlefront II’s great narrative mode campaign, Dave’s primary abilities are to gather ammunition, pick up objects that may be out of reach, or unlock doors.
Another tool you’ll be encouraged to utilize is Dave’s “Pulse,” which works similarly to Red Dead Redemption 2’s Eagle Eye mode and Marvel’s “Spider-Man’s Sense” in letting you temporarily view opponents and goals through barriers.
Fans of the show will be happy to learn that the wildly famous and now recognizable Lancer chainsaw is back and even more horrifyingly gorgeous than before.
With vivid sparks when you cut through some wiring and the thrilling revs of the saw’s motor, the weapon makes excellent use of both the game engine’s visual and audio rendering systems.
The action-based transitions get a significant break into actionable music that explodes into your ears when the battle begins and continues. This is in addition to the weapon noise, background noises and environment SFX, that are all part of the game’s audio engine.
Making effective use of action music, which is now a standard gaming element, helps you stay focused and attentive as the game pushes you into some of Gears of War’s infamously brutal fighting.
Moving closer to the target Horde, it is ultimately up to you what action is to be done. Use the game’s renowned cover system to enter covertly or charge in with all the weapons blazing since, after all, this is a battle.
Whatever you choose, Gears 5’s return to some of the exciting action gameplay that distinguishes a Gears of War game will provide for some pleasant playtime.
The single-player narrative mode of the game is what GoW does best – which is to run for cover and shoot or chainsaw through a tonne of opponents throughout its approximately 14-hour length.
The campaign’s plot seems to inadvertently impede the impression of development it is attempting to accomplish by often referencing the past and keeping older people around, even if all of these is done to great effect.
While I understand the creators’ desire to evoke nostalgia by paying homage to the heyday of Gears of War, I believe the new adventure may have been enhanced by better using earlier game elements and characters; perhaps displaying them exclusively in the introductory chapter.
Although the plot and characters may seem a bit uneven, there is a very excellent rationale for their employment, which I cannot describe here without giving away too much of the plot.
Their presentation makes Gears 5’s two opposing play styles even more unequal.
While the game starts and finishes with the same linear fighting and plot that makes GoW famous, a significant portion of the game transitions to an almost open-world adventure.
While I have nothing against open-world Gears of War games, this particular gameplay portion, while well-intentioned, ultimately falls flat and is misplaced in a sequel that promises to be the best Gears game yet.
The open-world gameplay interrupts the development of the plot and yanks you out of your Gears of War comfort zone which makes things even more difficult to comprehend.
While I don’t want to imply that the gameplay is bad, since it is, it does seem like a misdirected strategy to move the plot along. Ultimately, it is up to the player to decide when to move the plot along.
Several side missions emphasize character interactions, offer some truly good treasure, or add to the mythology of Sera’s past and more standard open-world goals.
However, the open-world portions enable the game to showcase some of Sera’s most intriguing features and transport you to previously unexplored locations.
Sera doesn’t seem to characterize a series of war between opposing groups in a sequence of events, but more like a genuine planet when you first explore facilities in the desert, for example.
Gears 5 has its share of difficulties, but overall, it’s a well-made, highly polished game, as one would expect from a title of this kind.
Aside from the attempt to be two games in one, the tale is interesting enough to keep you playing all the way through, and the people you meet along the way are captivating and well-developed.
The series’ already richly detailed lore is further enhanced by learning Kait’s secret and a few other surprises. The narrative also prepares fans for the next installment, which, thanks to a truly remarkable conclusion, should be another fantastic chapter in one of gaming’s greatest sagas.
The Coalition has ensured that all of your requirements for online multiplayer are satisfied since they are dedicated to bringing Gears of War up to date with current generation standards and expectations.
Several Players Mayhem
The online modes in Gears 5 are exactly what you would expect them to be, but with the high level of detail that only an A.A.A. firm like The Coalition, it is safe to assume that excellence has been delivered.
Then, be ready for a Horde mode in Gears of War that has never been seen before as a member of a five-person co-op team that must defeat fifty waves of an army of the Horde that is getting stronger all the while.
To survive against the Horde, choose a character and role that best fits your playing style. You must also strategically use strong Ultimate Abilities to win
Get a head start on the approaching Horde advance by using J.D.’s artillery strike, Marcus’ headshot ability, or Kait’s stealth ability while boosting perk strength by gathering Power from the battlefield.
Even though multiplayer online gameplay is nothing new in Gears 5, the online modes are well planned and executed in classic Gears of War-style.
Gears of War includes its own virtual money called “Iron,” used to buy in-game accessories and equipment, similar to most online multiplayer games nowadays.
Conversely, Versus allows you to engage in combat with other players as one side acts as the C.O.G. and the other as the Horde.
In addition to being difficult, getting more kills will improve your upgrades as you go through the fight without being eliminated.
Better tools and things eventually result in more spectacular kills and takedowns that are hilariously horrific
Escape, Versus, and Horde offer different multiplayer game modes, which would satisfy even the most ardent online competitive gamer.
In the game Escape, three players must cooperate to destroy the Horde while also attempting to escape a Venom bomb detonation that has been set up to kill them.
Blast your way out of the Horde stronghold and achieve triumph alongside two other players. However, the ideal way is to play to each character’s strengths rather than using frenetic “run and shoot” techniques.
You may make better use of your chances by sneaking up on foes to steal their guns and equipment, but you must act fast before the bomb goes off.