Gears 5 developed by Coalition and published by Microsoft is now available on Xbox One and PC via digital, retail and Gamespass.

Story

Gears 5 picks up just a couple months after the events of Gears of War 4 where the Swarm is now getting more and more powerful and not all seems right with Kait. You take control of JD Fenix again in a beautiful tropics setting looking for the tools to launch the Hammer of Dawn satellite into space to take care of the Swarm. An interesting introduction and a look back at the Hammer of Dawn and how vital it is to the mission. I really enjoyed going back into this with little bits of dialogue with Baird and Marcus about the history of the weapon and why we need to get control of it again. Gears 5 has a great way of linking the past games with the current one and honestly through-out my play-through I was in awe of how well Coalition covered many subjects especially the origin of Queen Myra, I thought that section in the snow area was so story heavy and the story alone was enough to really make this game special. The campaign is filled with moments of sadness, horror and sometimes the odd little comedy bit to break the ice and it flowed together so smoothly. Gears of War 4 to me felt like an average game at best, it tried something new and the story just didn’t grip me in like Gears 1 to 3, luckily with 5 it seems Coalition took some risks with the story and setting and it paid off. Gears of War 4 I felt played it to safe, Gears 5 doesn’t hold back.

What’s really noticeable is the effort put into the lore with collectables and look backs at characters from the past. Listening to dialogue about the past and reading about it really fills the gaps between the old days and present day and it’s a nice little attachment that really makes you feel quite immersed within the Gears world. The story truly never stops engaging you even in its open world moments.

Gameplay

At first when hearing Gears 5 would have open moments, I didn’t know what to think. The Gears of War series has always been very linear and it works, I had worried the openness of some of the acts would rip up the progression and fill it with boring little tasks. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It was really enjoyable looking at the beautiful environments they have created and getting off at little points to do tasks like getting Jack an upgrade, little things like that actually kept it fresh, it was almost like mini dungeons spread around but they were enjoyable. I did feel a little though like it was fairly empty of any life though, while the dungeons were really great, if you were just riding around on the skiff it seemed pretty empty at times. All this is forgotten about though when you see the new enemies that have been added.

This time round Jack has little buffs and support powers to help you through the combat, from flash grenades to taking over infected deebee’s, there is a brilliant amount of assists that Jack will provide and each one is up-gradable. This expands on the usual cover, shoot, cover, shoot, I felt that it added a whole new way to play and broke up the original formula and expanded on everything which is what a new Gears game needed. There is also many new weapons to toy around with each with unique features to suit your play style. Nothing like smashing a Swarm to pieces with the Overkill. The new grenade lancer is also a welcome addition and quite fun to use and helpful.

The multiplayer is back in many ways, co-op, escape rooms and PVP. The co-op is really good to play with friends as the story is full of such great moments and the gameplay has really been amped up with a host of new weapons, new upgrades and much more so why not enjoy it with a friend? Escape room pits you with other team mates and you all have to basically escape hellish rooms with your life. This mode is a welcome addition to gears 5 and provided again more ways to play and more options. Horde mode is also back better than ever and fighting with your friends against endless Swarms has never been such a smooth and action filled experience. With all the new additions it also changes it up a bit from what we have been use to in the past which is a good thing. PVP the map selection is fantastic this time, it uses many from the story and lore, it’s smooth and enjoyable, I suck at it but hey I thought it was a real improvement over Gears of War 4. There is many a character to chose from, a lot of customisation and many different modes to suit what you like.

Graphics and Sound

Gears 5 is one the most beautiful Xbox games I have ever witnessed. I had a look at my sons game-play and it runs so well on it. I played on the PC and I thought that overall it is a very well optimised game that never fails to look good. In Gears 5 you’ll see so many different environments, none are ever the same, you’ll start on a beautiful tropical area, ride a skiff around massive ice formations in the mountains and ride across some apocalyptic looking deserts. Gears 5 offers so much to see and do that you’ll never get bored. The animation is also on point with the swarm interacting with each other, the wind flares are as terrifying as ever and so much more.

From the looks and feels of the locations it’s the sound of gunfire, screaming hordes and teammates in need that really bring the battlefield to life. I really enjoyed just putting my head phones and and listening to everything going on.

Verdict

Gears of War 4 to me was very average, it felt like nothing had changed and it just wasn’t a step up from the original trilogy. I had completed it ready for Gears 5 and I must say, Coalition have brought back Gears better than ever and I think I can even say that it’s definitely on par with the original if not better in some-ways. Gears 5 is full of things to do whether it be its campaign, co-op modes and PVP modes, you’ll never find yourself bored. Each mode offers so much and I thoroughly had an amazing time. There are a few bugs here and there with match making, graphical ones but nothing that ever deterred from the experience. I can’t recommend Gears 5 enough.

9/10

Here is the video review if you’d rather see it in video form.

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