Gears of War is back with The Coalition taking their title to the next level. You know exactly what you’re getting from each game, and that’s a great thing. Gears 5 is a direct continuation of its predecessor. Players step into the shoes of Kait Diaz for the first time who, following the events of Gears of War 4, is trying to come to terms with the death of her mother, unravel the twisted roots of her family tree, and deal with her own personal baggage.

Despite sticking to its cover-shooter roots, Gears has gone from great to better with each addition to the series, with Gears 5 being the most refined. The game flow of shooting, reloading, swapping cover, and switching out weapons all feels smoother than ever. On top of that, the “clunkiness” is not there anymore, depending on how high or low your sensitivity is. For myself, I like to have it up all the way, allowing me to turn on my opponents and maneuver in ways that will benefit me in the midst of combat.

Game Modes

Gears 5’s multiplayer modes give you three categories to choose from – Horde, Escape and Versus. Horde mode sees you battling alongside other players to fend off 50 difficult waves of AI-controlled horde enemies. During the course of the game, you collect power to build defenses and get better weapons. Next up is the new Escape mode, a labyrinth of gun-blazing chaos that sees you working in a team of three players (online or local co-op) to battle through an enemy hive as quickly as possible, shooting down anything that gets in your way.

Finally, we have versus mode which in itself has plenty of options that include a mix of classic and new arcade modes such as Tour of Duty, Bootcamp, Escalation, King of the Hill, Arms Race, Dodgeball, Execution, Guardian, Team Deathmatch and Warzone. The Coalition has already said there’s plenty more to come post-launch.

Multiplayer is where I spend most of my time and I appreciate the customization layout and the possibilities, but at the moment there aren’t many options. You’re given a limited amount of options when it comes to weapon and player skins, but the game did just launch so, for now, that’s not a huge issue. Gears is notorious for dropping a lot of content in regards to skins and weapon skins, so they’ll more than likely be consistently adding items for everyone to use for free, while also adding cosmetic items to purchase in the in-game store. The leveling up system was very clunky for the first week of launch and a lot of stats didn’t save, which angered many people, and even more so the people who purchased the Ultimate Edition and got to play a few days earlier.

Map Design

It appears that many players I’ve played with and myself all share one opinion and that is that we’re not fans of the levels and overall map designs. The maps are all very unmatched and don’t feel like a traditional layout of a Gears multiplayer map. Gears is known for producing updates throughout the first year of launch, giving us more maps to choose from. I’m hopeful to see a variation of classic and new maps, with the new maps being more detailed and integrative than the ones we currently get to experience. One level has two different trains that interfere with a major power weapon and also can kill you if you touch them. Another level has moving lasers that guard a major power weapon and this area also is in the center of the map and separates both sides, so getting kills while trying to switch sides of the maps can get annoying fast.

One of the biggest problems with the game was the “Open World Environment” I was promised. It lacks true open-world elements and I feel like they only made campaign maps bigger but don’t give you the actual element of that Open World feel. The lancer is extremely overpowered in multiplayer and should be nerfed down a tiny bit. I think there is a lighter tone that is involved with Gears 4 and 5. The dark tone element from the first 3 will always have my heart, especially Gears of War 2.

Graphics & In-Game Mechanics

The graphics are well done, and the lighting and atmospheric conditions are eye-popping. But I think they lacked environmental interaction like previous gears games which make it very lackadaisical.  The gore element just seemed more refined in previous games. The gunplay and cover mechanics remain extraordinary. This being one of my favorite things about this particular title. The mechanics of this game feels very smooth compared to previous games. The lancer is overpowered, but it gives options to the player that you didn’t see in previous titles. In previous games, the players were primarily forcing themselves to fight close range battles, but now you’re seeing teams doing a combination of close and long ranges fighting throughout each game. The lancer being overpowered also allows you to cross lance and hold down certain primary points and power weapons that could turn the tide of the fight to the other team if you’re not careful. The replay value of this game is extremely high and will be a great game in the next upcoming months when new DLC is added… FOR FREE!!

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