Gears 5 is out and, while they decided to drop “of War” off the title, that doesn’t mean it’s not as action-packed as it was before. If you’re looking for the old tried and true linear meat grinder, you might be a little disappointed that there are some open-world elements in the game. However, don’t try to pretend like that’s something to get upset about. No one’s going to believe that’s the only thing keeping you from another great installment in the Gears series.
Gears 5″s Overview
We should reiterate that you shouldn’t be afraid of the open-world content in Gears 5. You’re still going to chainsaw your way through mountains of corpses, stab your way through monstrous worms, and survive crazy explosions. Open world elements do not replace the gore and bloodfest of excellent old-fashioned Gears games.
Once you pick it up, you’ll be met with the linear gameplay that you’re used to. However, after some time you’re going to be aboard a type of futuristic sailboat you’d expect in the environment of a Gears game. With this sailboat, you can enjoy the beautiful, albeit war-torn, world of Sera, or you can fly from plot point to plot point and finish the story before shelving the game forever. However, you should try not to ignore the side quests, because the developers worked hard to bring you a fun new experience that you might enjoy.
Though, don’t worry too much about the game being too open-world like other games. This isn’t the Far Cry series where you’re running around completely ignoring the story while capturing towers and outposts. You’re also not going out to farm locusts to skin them so you can craft yourself better armor. And you’re not jumping down into dangerous mines and drowning in lava trying to find diamonds to create better weapons.
Gears 5 developers, The Coalition, tried to mix it up while still following the formula of offering the maximum amount of entertainment that you can find with a chainsaw. The chainsaw is the staple weapon of the series after all. It just wouldn’t be a Gears game without it. However, the introduction of an open-world lends itself to bringing the franchise to the next level.
Much like previous semi-open-word games, there’s just enough of an open-world to explore to break up the redundancy of following a boring old linear plot. It might not be enjoyable for the adrenaline junkie who wants to go from one fast-paced action scene to another. However, the action scenes you get involve the type of explosions, blood, gore, and even lasers that you would expect from a Gears game.
After every action-packed scene, comes story and open-world fillers. It’s great for those who want a break from the grind. What could be more relaxed than the action waiting for you to finish flying around on your impressive sailboat? Whether you’re using the sailboat in great action sequences or directly quietly flying around in majestic environments. The game can be what you make of it when you’re not barreling down a straight plot point in the game. Some of the side adventures you can take don’t add to the plot, but they’re just fun to do.
Let’s take a look at the story of Gears 5. Gears 5 continues the story from the previous installment. In Gears 5, we follow Kate as the main character of the story. The game ends up diving into the in-depth lore of the Gears franchise that is furthered through its expanded universe, so if you want to have a deep and enriching understanding of the story, then you might have to pick up one of the books.
Believe it or not, there is a profound story behind the Gears franchise. It isn’t all just chainsaws, blood, and gore. However, just because there’s a little drama in the plot doesn’t mean it isn’t enjoyable. You can still kill locusts in the process of learning what demons haunt the characters as they progress through the story.
The Coalition did try to do its best to make a game that wasn’t just a mindless first-person shooter. Some might want to clamor for the old days of brutal action and bloodthirsty chainsaws. However, there comes a time when you need to try to build a world around the movement for people to get emotionally invested in. We’re sure people would have loved non-stop action in Marvel’s Avenger’s movies, but at some point, it’d just become a little redundant. You need to involve some storytelling so viewers and players alike can get behind a character. The more you’re invested emotionally, the more you’ll enjoy the immersion and overall experience.
You’re not going to get the fast-paced gameplay that you do in other shooters. Have you seen what they have to wear? The characters walk around really slow and cumbersome because of the massive amounts of armor and weapons they’re carrying. However, you’re going to feel the impact of every shot you take with all the unique guns you can get in the game. There’s just something so satisfying about pumping a locust full of bullets or hearing the sweet music of a buzzing chainsaw as it tears through flesh.
When you get your hand on one of the more massive weapons in Gears 5, you need to cherish it like the time you really should be spending with your family. These weapons have limited ammo that is hard to find, so use them wisely.
The overall pace of the game seems to be consistent, but again, with the open-world elements, you can be as slow or fast as you want. The action gameplay is just as good as it was before if not better. However, there’s nothing enjoyable about getting grabbed behind a wall and having your skull cracked by a locust. Camping behind a wall isn’t as viable as it used to be. It’s almost as if the enemy AI has somehow gotten smarter. That’s not a good thing for us casual gamers.
While the enemy AI might seem smarter in that regard, it seems to be lacking in other areas. It seems the combat of Gears 5 has some slightly goofy AI, not for just the enemies, but allies as well. Though it can be funny watching AI enemies run directly into walls or having allies ignore completely open doors, it isn’t funny when you’re in the fight of your life against hordes of enemies, and your partners are just standing around picking their noses.
The lack of real bosses in the game also leaves a lot to be desired. However, despite all this, there are some positives to look at. Besides the semi-open world, there are the awesome drones which can do stuff like strengthen armor and as well as other cool abilities. Shooting enemies also might be fun, but there’s nothing more satisfying than breaking the ice right under the feet of your enemies and watching them drown.
Unfortunately, the game didn’t get any better in its third act. The story seemed to backtrack a little bit. Though, you could still stick to the cool points like having your boat blown to shreds or utilizing the drone to crowd control enemies. Grabbing a sniper and turning any gameplay into a shooting gallery as you did in an old town fair is also fun. Most people fall back on the almost broken gameplay of using the drone to their advantage. I mean, that’s what it’s there for, right?
While the story might fall apart in the latter half of the game, it tries to hold itself together. Some might not like the drama involved in the story. It might not be for everyone; there’s a good mixture of activities to keep you from yawning your way through the game.
The storytelling in Gears 5 is passable as an entertaining action movie. In that regard, it does its job well. Having cool action scenes while you lug around big guns doesn’t seem to bore anyone. It is in those moments though that the drama seems to slow the place down a little bit.
One of the better features of Gears 5 is its cooperative mode. If you think it’s a crime that a lot of recent games have left behind the couch co-op era and that online gaming ruined those nightly CO-OP sessions you had on the couch with some friends, then you’ll be pleased as Gears 5 is looking to bring that back.
Gears 5 has always been an Xbox exclusive franchise and has done well on its own despite competing with the likes of Halo. As a franchise, it’s still one of the more well-known ones you can pick up for the Xbox. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, there’s no reason to not know about the Gears franchise as a gamer.
As mentioned before, it seems more like you’re just playing a movie with some controllable action scenes interspersed throughout the game. It’s honestly a shame that the developers went that direction as they could have done something more immersive while still keeping the open-world elements of the game.
So at its core, Gears 5 is still a Gears of War game, and for those who do want more storytelling than mindless action, it’s worth picking this up. It will further your knowledge of the extended Gears of War universe. Even if you’re not into the story as much and want to sit back and enjoy the gameplay Gears 5 still has you covered. There’s a little bit of everything here for both types of gamers. Unfortunately, however, the more hardcore Gears of War crowd might be a bit more disappointed with the direction the developers took.
If we were to name our favorite character from the game, it would have to be Jack. This companion can be pumped with passive abilities that help you much throughout the game. You can improve your companions by doing the side tasks in the open-world portion of the game, so even if you want to jump from plot point to plot point, it may be worth checking out the open-world for this reason.
All-in-all, Gears 5 is just as stunning as you would expect a Gears of War game would be. Even back in the original Gears of War days, the franchise way ahead of its time. You can tell the developers put a lot of extra love into the cosmetics of the game. The game itself might falter a bit in its AI when it comes to allies and enemies, but some of the broken content can lend itself to a little bit of humor even though it is quite annoying at times.
Gears 5 does its best to return and follow-up on beloved characters in the franchise. Even if you’re not the type of person who followed the extended universe through books or developer interviews, you can still find a lot of immersive storytelling in the game, despite how dramatic it may seem at times. Although it has some downsides, Gears 5 always brings a fun addition to the Gears of War franchise and is a must-play even if you’re using Xbox Game Pass.