Gears 5 brings some of the biggest changes the long-running series has ever seen and it’s a blast to play.
The review embargo for Gears 5 has now officially lifted meaning that we can share our thoughts on the game with you. For now, I’m not ready to write up my full, scored review just yet, but I can confirm to you that this installment in the franchise is pretty dang good.
I’ve been playing Gears 5 for the better part of the last week and have mainly poured my time into the campaign, which is largely stellar. The campaign in Gears 5 brings some of the biggest changes that the series has ever seen, especially when it comes to some of the environments you explore. The middle two Acts of the story mode place you in vast, open areas that you get to traverse about while completing your main task. You can also go off the beaten path and complete side missions as well, a first for the Gears series.
The campaign has also added a variety of RPG-like elements as well, at least to a degree. Jack, the robot companion you’ve likely seen in past Gears games, is back this time around but plays a much larger role. You can acquire abilities to use with Jack throughout Gears 5 in addition to upgrading his skills through various items that you’ll find throughout the environment. It’s a small addition overall, but one that added much more strategy to battles.
And without saying too much about the narrative for now, I’m mostly pleased with the direction things went in. There are some things that I would’ve liked to have seen done differently, but all in all, my kneejerk reaction is that this campaign is up there with Gears of War 2 as the best in the series.
The reason my review isn’t out today though is because I still need to spend much more time with Gears 5’s three other modes: Horde, Escape, and Versus. I’ve played a limited amount of each at this point, and they’re each pretty enjoyable from what I’ve seen so far. Versus mode continues to be well in line with past entries in the series. I hope you’re good with the Gnasher shotgun. Horde is also more of what you’re familiar with at a baseline level, but there have been some pretty big changes.
As for Escape, the newest mode in the Gears series, I’m really starting to come around on it the more I play. Escape is definitely the offering in the Gears 5 package that hardcore players will likely find themselves gravitating towards. Even on lower difficulties, Escape is pretty challenging due to the fact that you are constantly trying to use every shot that you have wisely. Ammo is scarce and you’re always moving forward at a brisk pace, meaning you can’t sleuth around too much for additional ammo or new weapons. Escape is fast-paced and more than anything, just feels fresh. I’ve really liked what I’ve played of it so far.
Servers for Gears 5 are set to go online tomorrow, September 5. I’ll likely spend a whole lot more time with the game throughout the day to get to the point where I feel comfortable passing a final verdict on it. For now, all I’ll say is that I’m incredibly impressed with Gears 5. It feels like a complete, full package that will keep me coming back repeatedly over the next months or years. If you were left wanting more after Gears of War 4, Gears 5 gives you everything you wanted and a little bit more. Long time fans of Gears have a lot to be excited about with what’s here. It really feels like the next evolution that this series needed.
Gears 5 is out this Friday, September 6, on Xbox One and PC. Expect our final review to likely drop on the same day.