Gears 5 review is finally here! Gears of War is recognized as one of Microsoft’s bastions when it comes to exclusives. After Halo, Gears is arguably the most recognized franchise in Xbox. I have a preference for Gears over Halo; its story has always resonated with me. Sadly, this was not the case for me with Gears of War: Judgement or Gears of War 4. I believe that after Gears of War 3, the emotional and visceral story of the franchise was slowly diluting as new entries were introduced in the series. After a long wait, Gears 5 is finally here, and there’s so much to say, stick with us in this review and find out if the Locust frenzy action is back or if there’s more diluted disappointment here.
Life in Sera
As I started with our review, Gears 5 opened up right after the ending events of Gears 4. If you are new to Gears or don’t recall about details before Gears 5, The Coalition was incredibly considerate with fans and included a summary video of the previous games. After catching up a bit, you can start fresh and figure out what are the Locust doing, why they are back, and many other mysteries. Gears 4 left us with a hundred questions and theories but rest assured Gears 5 not only answers most of them, but it does so in a brilliantly executed manner.
Gears 5 returns to the root of the incredible story-telling that the original trilogy had in its glory moments. We have Kait, JD, Marcus, Del and even a brand new bot named Jack banding together to get answers on this new Locust threat, while also trying to get the Hammer of Dawn back online to kill the remnants of the new arising menace. This brief recollection of Gears 5 is all I will say about the story in this review, as the game rapidly evolves into plot twists that are worth not disclosing. What I will focus on though is on how amazingly well the story is told.
All of the characters in the story have meaningful moments and conversations while they undergo these missions to figure out what is going on in Sera, their home planet. The game slowly tells you what transpired from the first game until this very moment in the story. That recollection of events reminds you of the greatness of the franchise and why Gears is such a rich and deep story. You get to understand and review how life in Sera truly is like in Gears 5.
Kait and her story
Then, you have Kait. She ended up in a pretty confusing place at the end of Gears 4; spoilers alert if you haven’t played Gears 4 yet. Her mother passing on this Locust amulet to her, surely opened a lot of questions. Rest assured Gears 5 will delight you with closure in regards this. The game has one exceptional quality to it. There is a multitude of plot twists that affect your vision not only of the characters but also, makes you look at the whole franchise in a whole new light.
Kait no longer feels like this forced character that was added to Gears. The same applies to JD, Del and frankly, every character in the story. As the game progresses, you get drastic and meaningful plot reveals that dramatically change how you perceive the game and its story. Gears 5 is simply Microsoft and The Coalition’s best narrative effort. The pacing of the story is the best yet in a Microsoft exclusive to date. Sera feels alive, and every event leading to this point makes much more sense, both for the characters and story progression.
Gears 5 reviews and improve the Gears of War Formula
In review, Gears 5 does wonder for the franchise. It moves forward with the old formula, takes the best out of it and adds a fresh coat of much-needed innovation. The narrative of this game is similar in tone, but the pacing is revolutionary and fresh. The game started in the expected and traditional Gears fashion, then, it throws a curveball at you and even includes sandbox areas with side missions and tons of exciting discoveries and characters. These side missions and open areas fit well with the story arc and don’t feel rushed or out of place at any time. You gladly go on and take every challenge the game throws at you because it is fun too and the rewards for doing so are significant.
Jack, the charming robot, has an upgrade system. Jack is not only useful but a crucial part of the gameplay. His abilities range from shocking enemies to plating electric mines. You will find components to upgrade Jack along your journey to figure out what’s going on with the Locust and what is the truth behind Kait’s story. These upgrades are useful and make combat entertaining. Jack allows you to approach combat from different angles and make it much more tactical on occasions.
In general, the gameplay is polished. Gears of War has always been a staple of solid shooting mechanics, and we found in this review Gears 5 is no exception to that rule. In my whole playthrough, I experience a minor bug at the beginning of Act II that didn’t allow me to move past a certain point and had to restart the mission. I had to repeat a small section of around 5 minutes due to it. Besides that single mishap, the game was smooth, and no other similar altercation happened.
A World for the COG
Gears 5 is stunning when it comes to art direction and level design. From the very beginning till the very end, you’re in for a magnificent display of graphical quality. I played Gears 5 on an Xbox One X this review and experienced a flawless rendition of the game. On Xbox One X you’re in for native 4K and HDR. Gears has a variety of scenarios along with its campaign. Every one of the different settings is crammed with tiny details that make each pop in their special way. The game changes rapidly from open areas displaying stunning god-rays and dynamic lighting to secluded spaces filled with eerie and fog and particle effects. I experienced some texture popping in minimal areas and no more than a couple times in the whole campaign.
Gears had never looked this great, and along with that beauty, the sound design followed along. I played using headphone and Dolby Atmos. The game has a spectacular ambiance. It even makes you feel like you’re playing a Resident Evil game in some secluded areas thanks to the excellent audio experience. You can hear how alive the world is on every occasion. You will listen to insects in wooded areas and grunts of fallen enemies and every bullet flying around in action scenes.
The ultimate Gears multiplayer experience
If you’re a Gears fan, look no further. We found in this review that Gears 5 is the ultimate multiplayer Gears of War experience, we played co-op during this review and it is a blast. Besides its stellar single-player campaign, the game has the traditional Gears of War multiplayer experience, and, also a new Escape mode. This mode introduces a maze-like ‘dungeons,’ which slowly fills will a deadly gas, you have to make it past the Swarm and reach the exit before you also get consumed in the deadly gas. This collection of game modes is the most complete and engaging multiplayer Gears has offered to date. In addition, you can play the whole campaign online with friends or offline with split-screen.
The multiplayer includes classic PvP, Horde mode is back from Gears 4 and Escape Mode. In Escape mode, you will receive rewards and modifiers with special abilities for your character, the higher the difficulty, the better the reward. You will need to cooperate with your teammates if you want to make it out alive.
Gears 5 Review Conclusions – The Coalition’s Masterpiece and Microsoft’s best exclusive to date
I vaguely touched bases on what Gears 5 has to offer in regards its story on purpose. It is worth experiencing every turn and twists this story offers unspoiled. This entry elevated Gears of War to new levels. It is hard to take on a franchise with the quality and trajectory of Gears of War and find ways to make it even better. The Coalition delivered an outstanding visual masterpiece that surpassed the original trilogy.
Gears 5 served as an epiphany to all the loose ends of the franchise and connected every piece of the Gears universe in a clever and cohesive way. The action-packed classic Gears action is accompanied by meaningful characters, emotional moments, compelling plot twists, and ultimately, a cathartic ending that is a worthy contender of a Game of The Year Award. Microsoft has a big task at hand; they have peaked with Gears 5 and earned a solid grade on this review. Surpassing this won’t be an easy task.
Check our last review: The Dark Pictures: Man of Medan here.