Gears 5 is a special game for an immense amount of reasons. It is the first in the series to feature a woman as the main protagonist. It is the first to embrace an open world environment for most of its campaign. Gears 5 from start to finish is one of the biggest and greatest games to release in 2019.

Let’s take a look at what makes Gears 5 stand out among the legacy of the first trilogy, sans as many spoilers as possible.

What’s Old is New

Kait’s story is compelling and gripping. I was actually worried at first when the game opened and we were playing as J.D. Fenix that we had been bamboozled into thinking Kait was going to be featured for more than an act of the game as the playable character. That is thankfully not the case and as soon as players are able to play as Kait the game begins to flip the script so to speak and the game begins to truly break the Gears of War mold.

The first playable Kait level is absolutely massive and features new mechanics as well as optional missions for the first time in the series. These optional missions offer a deeper back end narrative for some of the universe’s characters, such as the missing couple from the last outpost not under COG control.

They also can grant players needed upgrades for Jack who can make all the difference in fights, especially on harder difficulties. Jack can be told to shock enemies, flash-bang them, bring you ammo, and so much more making it well worth the time to go do some of these extra missions.

Traversing these areas is also done in a newer way. Older games in the series had smaller driving sections but they didn’t allow the player to really explore the area. In Gears 5, players use a Skiff, a sort of mix of a sled/wind operated vehicle that glides around the environment.

The controls on it are exceptionally done and driving it around the map is easy and more importantly fun. The environments the player experiences are so well crafted and beautiful to look at I found myself stopping to just soak it in for a bit in between fights.

Punch in the Emotions

Gears 5 tells a rewarding and fulfilling section to the new trilogy The Coalition is crafting. Most of the game is spent as Kait trying to figure out what is happening to her. During that the plot takes turns that long-time fans of the series will find incredible. A location from the second game is revisited and the information that is given during the sequence is so satisfying and connects to the original trilogy making this one of the most wonderfully crafted sagas to date.

The location is not known to Kait and Del but players who remember the phrase New Hope will immediately start connecting the dots and seeing Kait and Del learn what the player knows as well as introducing the new information is a superb experience.

One of the aspects that are fleshed out during the game is Kait’s connection to the hive mind of The Swarm. At one point her uncle’s village is under siege from The Swarm. Kait is nabbed by a Snatcher and while inside of it the player is forced into the Swarm’s perspective and players can fight momentarily for the enemy. In my case though I still shot at The Swarm.

The tie that bound her was meant to make her the new queen very similarly to her grandmother’s run as the Queen of The Locust. Kait and the player manage to sever that tie. Kait’s main tie seemed to be with this beserker referred that was essentially a mother hub. This boss fight is one of the best-crafted ones in the game as this monster was previously only killed by a giant sky laser known as the Hammer of Dawn. So finding a new way to kill this one makes it such a rewarding and challenging fight.

This game also has a way of showing Kait having these internal struggles against the connection to the hive. More often than not trying to manipulate her emotions and make her think everyone is against her and that she should just give in. They get more and more aggressive and Kait fighting against them made her such a relatable and stand out character.

Gears 5 will punch you in the face and kick you in the heart at times. Both in terms of difficult fights (I played on Experienced difficulty which was pretty hard at times) and emotional moments. Without giving too much away there is a point where players have to choose between saving J.D. and another character as Reyna the new queen is strangling them both. I chose to save J.D. and that character who died ruined J.D. and Kait.

It also leads to a sad and wholesome moment between Marcus and J.D. The two of them have been at odds for years and to see Marcus step up as a dad and as the camera turns to J.D. who had tears in his eyes. It was so great to see them embrace as J.D. breaks down for a second. I will readily admit I teared up at this part and even considered calling my own father. Which is astounding considering the bullshit he put my family through.

Multiplayer

The multiplayer in Gears 5 has had a slight and needed a face-lift. Newer mode such as Arcade have players start with character-specific loadouts and as they get kills can spawn in different guns and explosives. Which beats the old multiplayer by miles because it takes it away from the old “Screw you one-hit-kill shotgun, paint the floor walls and your grandmother with your blood” style from previous Gears games. I love it, and it is my go-to game mode when I am in between reviews or video edits.

The classic modes are also still around if you feel like playing King of The Hill, Escalation, Team Deathmatch, etc. Horde mode is also still playable and most notably allows the player to use different ultimate abilities to affect gameplay.

A Great Escape (Mode)

Escape mode is the newest mode added to the Gears universe. Players are taken deep into a hive and must scavenge guns and resources to escape. At the start of the round, a bomb is planted that pushes out gas that the players are trying to push through the enemy forces to escape.

This mode has a ton of promise but it feels like it would be way more enjoyable with friends. I was so agitated when I played it with randoms. I got exactly zero items from any of the safe rooms or weapons caches as my dickhead teammates took literally everything. I resorted to just dropping my current weapon and grabbing a new one. Constantly.

Escape also features a map editor which I really want to sink my teeth into more. Console players rarely get the chance to use features like this and the thoughts of having a ton of new maps to play is a good one. I can’t wait to see how this mode evolves even just a year from now.

Small Problems

There isn’t much to not like with Gears 5. The only major complaints I have are all based on glitches that happened. There were times my partner would clip into the floor and not be able to get out. This glitch is already fixed but the checkpoints wouldn’t save properly and would sometimes cause the game to crash and set players back about a half-hour.

In some cases, it would cause the game to not be able to progress until you close the game and reopen it. I along with a bunch of others also had the glitch where the achievement would not pop for finishing the campaign. For some reason, it won’t show despite the fact that I looked at every level in the game and it shows “completed on Experienced difficulty”. I hope it gets resolved soon and The Coalition has done a stellar job pumping out fixes for these glitches even before the full release on the tenth.

Back for More

The more I sit here and write about Gears 5 the more I want to go play it again. The guest cast was amazing. The environments were astounding. The gameplay managed to bring the classic feel and perfectly mix it with the new items Gears 5 brings to the table.

The story was amazing. The boss fights were tough and memorable. I could go on and on about how well done Gears 5 is but I implore you to go out and buy it for yourself when you can. It is one of the strongest contenders for Game of The Year.

Gears 5 Review
The Good
  • Astonishing Environments
  • Superb Story
  • Worth Replaying
The Bad
  • Glitches preventing progress and achievements
10Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0

About The Author

Allen S
Editorial/Reviews Team, Manager

I started gaming when I was seven years old. I started my own game studio when I was twelve, went to school for game design. Now I work here and also on my own YouTube channel