Version tested: Xbox One S
In recent years there has been a lot of talk about Microsoft's first-party titles. Some of these have left something to be desired but overall there has been a marked improvement compared to the Xbox 360 era. In particular, the giant based in Redmond, already winks at the future having acquired a handful of developers for the sole purpose to make video games exclusively for Xbox Scarlett and PC platforms. While we haven't seen anything about the upcoming Xbox projects yet, the next few years for Microsoft should be great as well Gears 5 it's a significant indication of what the vast realm of first-party productions to come will hold.
Gears 5 not only represents the return of one of the longest running Xbox franchises but is to date the best game that Microsoft has released since the launch of Xbox One.. Gears 5 is packed with fun content yet offering an immense level of replay value. From the campaign to the Versus mode passing through the Horde up to the new Escape mode, Gears 5 perfects the franchise for the better, making it perhaps the best iteration of the entire series.
"The goal of The Coalition with Gears 5 was to offer a product that, right from the opening titles, could capture the player's attention, through plots, intrigues and mysteries, as never before seen in the franchise. "
The narrative of Gears 5 picks up after the cliffhanger that closed Gears of War 4 ended. Kait diaz, one of the main characters of the previous entry, takes center stage. Accompanying her are Del and JD (from GOW 4) and longtime others like Baird and Cole. In many ways Gears of War 4 has sinned in terms of single player. For that reason The goal of The Coalition with Gears 5 was to offer a product that, right from the opening titles, could capture the player's attention through plots, intrigues and mysteries, as never before seen in the franchise. After a stellar start to the first two Acts, however, the story of Gears 5 begins to be less consistent. Interpersonal relationships begin to wear out. Act III, in particular, feels devoid of any real purpose. The end of Gears 5 as a whole also extends to another cliffhanger, a bit sad, albeit expected. It's not a bad ending, but we would have expected that little bit more.
One thing that really bothered us in the Gears 5 narrative is a late game decision the player has to make.. Without spoiling the surprise, the game asks us to make a vital choice in the final hours of Gears 5 that will have an impact on the ending of the story. What turns out to be somewhat frustrating is that there are no other cases in Gears 5 where we will be called upon to make decisions. Somehow it makes the decision seem piloted mostly knowing that whichever option we choose the developers will probably decide the canonical ending that fits best for a possible (and as likely) Gears 6. to tell. Nothing more.
Outside of the narrative plot, the Gears 5 campaign brings a multitude of other changes. Arguably the greatest of these new features is the one that made the game more open-world. This happens, needless to do it on purpose, in Acts II and III, through a vehicle, a sort of sailboat. It is in these areas that we will be able to explore and find other activities to carry out in addition to those proposed by the main "path". Yup, Gears 5 has side missions, which is not something we initially expected. Most of these missions are pretty straightforward, but this is where we got to confront some of the funniest combat situations in the entire campaign.
Sometimes it will be possible to obtain new equipment that will surely prove to be very useful as you progress through the campaign. For the most part, these open areas are fun to play and will alternate with the "monotony" offered by the rest of the game design. The only criticism we can make of this choice is that these areas are a little too vast to explore and take a very long time, even if you play cooperatively. However, we appreciate that The Coalition tried to mix the cards on the table, thus avoiding those classic corridors that characterized the previous productions and that made the gameplay rather flat.
Another big change in Gears 5 is the inclusion of some borderline RPG elements. This time around, robotic companion Jack plays a bigger role in combat than before and comes equipped with abilities that we can use in real time when fighting the Swarm. Some of these include a flashbang, a cloaking device, and a mind control ability (hacking, as it is called). We will also be able to enhance these abilities with a specific type of object that will constantly present itself during the game. It is a small change, but it is also one that we will have to get to know in detail, especially if you want to fight enemies on the higher difficulties. Another aspect of the Gears 5 campaign that really impressed us is how many extraordinary moments there are altogether. These "highlights" are truly fantastic. Some boss fights, shootings and cutscenes will continue to resonate in your mind even after months, if not years.
Outside of the campaign, Horde mode is back and arguably continues to be the most fun mode the entire pack has to offer. At the basic level, the Horde remains the same as when it was introduced in Gears of War 2: wipe out all the enemies that spawn and survive for as long as possible. However, in Gears 5, there is a much more strategic aspect mainly in regards to the characters used. Each character has their own specific skills and play styles. Marcus Fenix, for example, is meant to be used more like a tank. As we gain more power (the Horde mode currency), we will be able to upgrade some of Marcus' abilities which will increase his base stats. Boosting health and damage with certain types of weapons are just a few of them. Each character is absolutely unique and has their own final abilities that can be used even when not in cooldown mode.
This is an interesting change that we think will improve Horde mode. Gears 5 never explains many of these new systems so well, and the first few times we tried the mode we were left with a lot of questions like, "Why can't I buy the same capabilities and facilities as my co-op partner?" And "Why do we have to update the items we have already purchased?" It turns out that everything is once again tied to the characters. Those who belong to the class of engineers (Del and Kat) are the only ones capable of upgrading structures such as turrets and barriers that we may have purchased. Also, this class is the only one that can purchase every single item type from the Fabricator.
With a well-balanced and close-knit team, Horde mode turns out to be a lot of fun. With random players who might select character classes that aren't suitable for competition, there's a lot less fun. Choosing a character to play isn't as simple as selecting the one we like best. This time around the Horde is more coordinated, which isn't a bad thing, but it makes the mode less accessible with random groups of players.
Escape mode, first included in Gears 5, is a more hardcore mode. With nothing more than a basic knife and gun, Escape forces us to, well, escape the facility we awakened in. After detonating some kind of poisonous bomb, we must then exit the complex by countering hordes of enemies. Escape brings Gears 5 to become a kind of Battle Royale. Obviously the biggest difference, compared to a PUBG or an Apex Legends, is that Escape is PvE and not PvP. Escape is the hardest mode included in Gears 5. Especially once we start to overcome the initial difficulty a little, the battles will get very hectic. For this reason, we think Escape is one of the most playable features in Gears 5, especially since a game isn't even that long.
The "escape" is something hardcore gamers will really enjoy. Last but not least, there is also a way to create maps. The tools available are quite extensive and it is a nice bonus for those who love the ways of creation. It will certainly extend the longevity of the game as well. Versus mode is honestly the least convincing. Versus largely feels more similar than previous rumors. If you've played a game of Gears before, you should have a good understanding of how multiplayer games work: everyone will run around with a Gnasher shotgun, moving from cover to cover, killing each other.
A production still at the top
Gears 5 uses theUnreal Engine 4, now at its best on Xbox One and Xbox One X. Our test took place on the S model which in certain situations struggled to maintain a fixed frame rate at 30 frames per second. The technical realization of the various characters is of considerable quality, although it does not differ particularly from that of the previous chapter. The animations and the many cinematic sequences excite but what left us speechless is the game design. The maps offer settings never seen before, with vivid and spectacular colors, capable of offering unforgettable views. Finally, the sound sector is average as well as the dubbing in Spanish, which, net of a couple of slightly fluctuating dialogues, proves to be of the highest level.
- - The best iteration of the series
- - Impeccable from a graphic point of view
- - Many ways to try your hand
- - Thick texture ...
- - ... which, however, tends to get lost towards the conclusion
- - A few bugs
- - Frame drops are noticeable on Xbox One S