Gears 5 starts and maintains the best plotline in the series but ends too quickly for our liking.
Yup, that’s the painful truth about the campaign story but that doesn’t make Gears 5 any less enjoyable. In fact, I am looking forward to the next game with eagerness and anticipation.
Gears 5 serves as a reminder that polished and great linear games can come out from Microsoft’s hat. Elaborate storyline, satisfying gore kills, hordes of enemies to splatter and co-op fun. Everything you love about the previous Gears of War games is here and it's better than before.
Gears 5: Story
The story picks up after the events of Gears of War 4, so if you’ve played that then things will feel quite familiar. However, if you’re new to the Gears world of extremely tight tees and oversized muscles then there are videos in the menu to take you through the lore.
The story is actually done way better than last time and is very well-paced. The feeling of being pulled into its Swarm Vs Human setting is way stronger now and the plot thickens at a rapid pace. Although, the characters themselves may look like they lift more dumbbells than books, it never really sets a feeling of silliness in any of those areas.
That’s most likely because the conversations between the characters, especially Kait and Del, when traversing the map, is interesting. There are hints of story elements to understand in these conversations. Albeit, there are moments where you’ll hear certain dialogues and roll your eyes back because of how cliche it sounds. The standard reply to 'Are you good?' is something like ‘I've seen worse days’.
Gears 5 relies heavily on its story so we’ll try to be hush about it in this review. It’s good and engaging, one that will make you seriously interested in its characters as well. Even while you’re busy coating the walls with enemy insides.
Gears 5: gameplay
The Coalition hasn’t really changed the gunplay mechanics as such. It’s a Gears game through and through. You scurry around from cover to cover like Gollum at the first sight of enemies. Killing an enemy will almost always splatter their insides like those watermelon videos being squished by rubber bands. It’s still here and still very satisfying.
Although we can debate about its tight cover system that feels restrictive for 2019 standards and not as fluid as The Division 2, it’s iconic to Gears series and that’s fine by us.
You’ll also be spending some time skiffing (a land boat kind of thing) around in snow and desert to complete objectives. These two regional maps are part of the main story but also have side objectives that reward you with meaningful upgrades for Jack’s abilities. It’s not entirely open world but it’s fresh welcome for a Gears game.
You and your buddies can choose to be Del, Kait or Jack to complete the main campaign together. If you’re playing the game for completing the story, make sure to take Kait because many cutscenes are only for the player playing as Kait. Playing as Jack is more of a support role but fun nonetheless because you get to zap enemies with electricity and revive fallen teammates or fetch guns. This tiny robot can be controlled while playing solo to provide support much like BOY! from God of War.
We finished the game twice. The first time was solo and the second run was with a buddy. In the second run, we got to see Del’s perspective on Kait’s behaviour during these cutscenes. It’s woven really seamlessly even if it isn’t half as exciting to be a bystander.
Gears 5: Visuals
Gears is a game where everyone looks so fit that you’ll probably get dreams about hitting the gym. Its muscular and surprisingly bald characters are a true inspiration to Fast and Furious cast and the game looks every bit spectacular as those movies themselves.
There’s no maniacal gear shifting here but the skiff is a fun way to get around the map especially the desert, where red sands pave through cliffs and buried remains of decimated civilization. There’s also the violent but beautiful dance of the weather that tries to make life difficult during story missions. It looks gorgeous.
Enemies are slimier than before and the ‘COG’ (human soldiers with oversized muscles) are sculpted like Greek gods on steroids which is quite distinct to Gears franchise.
The game looks absolutely great on 4K. We played it on PC and the game isn’t as graphic intensive as we expected. Also, the performance was stable on PC with 60FPS on Ultra settings. There are a few bugs with cutscenes but it can be fixed soon enough with a few updates.
Processor: AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X; Liquid cooled by Corsair H115i RGB Platinum
GPU: Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti
Motherboard: Asus PRIME X399-A
RAM: 32GB of Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB
CPU Case: Corsair Obsidian 500D RGB
Keyboard: Kingston HyperX Alloy Elite RGB
Power Supply: Corsair AX850
Gears 5: Multiplayer
There are plenty of multiplayer modes in Gears 5. The most easily accessible are Horde and Versus which we tried and very quickly walked away from. It’s good and all but nothing that will get you seriously hooked. Especially because the Indian servers are on a snooze. The Horde mode is seriously boring if you’re playing with bots and even then, after a point, you tend to not feel as heroic as you otherwise would playing the campaign. It’s just waves of enemies coming at you to no end and you’re required to stay alive for those 50 waves.
Gears 5 has put their defence mode in Horde and not in the main story this time. Which basically means you use a device to create turrets and spike barriers to slow down your enemies and extend your eventual doom in Horde. We’re glad they didn’t put that in the main story, we never liked it in Gears of War 4.
Versus mode is your standard affair of 5v5 which gets quick and fun. While Escape is a new mode in which you team up with two other people and take down a hive from inside. It basically builds tension by making you run from a poison cluster at the back and throws enemies in the front to shoot. You have to manage your way out of the hive with limited ammo to put you on the edge. Both these modes are fun and worth a try. We’re not sure if you’ll be hooked.
Gears 5 verdict
We clearly addressed that Gears 5 is shorter than we expected but the pricing on PC is perfect. The game is priced at ₹3,999 on Microsoft Store but sells for ₹1,299 on Steam which is super weird. The Microsoft Store purchase will let you game on your Xbox and PC and if you have an Xbox Game Pass then you can jump into the game without splurging a single rupee.
That said, the main story is very well done and paced. We finished it twice in the span of six days and that’s really short for a Triple-A title. There are plenty of multiplayer modes to sink your time into and if you’re really up for a challenge, try the hardest difficulty but if you’re a campaign fighter, Gears 5 won’t disappoint one bit.
Gears 5 cleans out on its lore and story progression really well and it will manage to entice you with its deep-rooted character backgrounds and fun boss battles till the very end. There’s free content coming your way with additional maps, characters and all the other faff that gets multiplayer gamers going.