In what can only be described as one of the most highly anticipated video games of 2019, Gears 5 offers up an incredible experience that will leave players hungry for more! Developed by The Coalition and published by the recently formed Xbox Game Studios, Gears 5 sees the return of Delta Squad 2.0 – JD Fenix, Kait Diaz, and Delmont “Del” Walker as they continue their fight with the Swarm and unravel the mystery of one of their own.
Picking up shortly after the events of Gears 4, Kait Diaz is still reeling from her encounter with the Hive and the death of her mother – Reyna. Suffering from headaches, insomnia, and hallucinations, Kait is not herself. Tasked with launching an old Hammer of Dawn prototype for Damon Baird; a last ditch effort to try and neutralize the Swarm for good, Delta Squad makes their way through an old facility on Azura, fighting off waves of Locust; nothing a little Lancer action can’t handle!
The story carries on from there, making for one of the better narratives in Gears of War thus far. There are twists and turns (some more predictable than others), and some genuinely touching moments. It’s a great mix of what fans love about the series while also building on every entry released to this point. Yes, that includes the less-than-stellar Judgment.
Still, the latest addition to the Gears franchise packs several new gameplay mechanics into it as well as offering a new way to explore the world. For the first time ever, players can explore certain sections of the story and the environment completely at their own pace – open world has finally arrived and it’s an absolute game changer for Gears. These areas are quite large in scale and contain both Main Objectives and Secondary Objectives; the locations of which can be viewed on the map screen with options to set Way Points (Marks) for easy navigation. For the most part, Secondary Objectives consist of investigating campsites, crashed planes, and other landmarks in the world – while fending off Locust attacks.
These are completely optional to complete however the reward will be very beneficial in the long run; unlocks additional skills and abilities for Jack, your robot companion; more on him later. Players won’t have to worry about traversing the world on foot – catch a ride on a Skiff – a large sled that is propelled with a parachute; very similar to kiteboarding, and let the wind do the work.
It wouldn’t be Delta Squad without Jack – and this time around, he’s also a playable character during co-operative sessions; not available in solo sessions unfortunately. Baird has been working hard to improve his skill set and has added several new skills and abilities which can help players during battle as well as to solve puzzles and progress the story. In order to upgrade Jack’s various skill sets, Components must be collected and are scattered throughout the story as well as hidden in safes and electrical breakers; explore the area to find them all – some might be hidden off the main path. As previously mentioned, completing Secondary Objectives will also reward players with a special upgrade that can only be found during these missions; cannot purchase them using found components.
Compared to the previous instalment, the story and pacing of Gears 5 is a lot more exciting and emotional; very reminiscent of how Gears of War 2 felt. Kait Diaz was the perfect character to focus on for this game and perhaps that was the plan all along, given how Gears 4 ended – a handy “Previously on Gears” recap plays prior to starting the campaign for those that have had a sleep since playing it. Despite her tragic loss and hardships, Kait continues to stay strong and focused on the mission while ensuring that both her friends and squad mates are safe – let’s face it, she’s the REAL leader of Delta Squad 2.0 and it’s a solid choice!
At the end of the day, Gears 5 delivers exactly what the second part of a trilogy is supposed to – an exciting and engaging storyline that answers a few questions setup by the first instalment while saving the rest for an epic showdown in the third and final instalment. There’s no doubt that Gears 6 is going to rain down like the Hammer of Dawn itself and Kait Diaz will be there to deliver the final blow – her Lancer is hungry for blood.
Gears 5 is an incredible experience from start to finish – primarily due to Kait Diaz taking the spotlight and uncovering the mystery of both herself and her family. With plenty of collectables to find and missions to complete, the stage is set for an explosive showdown that can’t come soon enough! Don’t miss this experience.
Gears 5 arrives for PC and Xbox One on September 6th for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate owners and September 10th for everyone else. Xbox Canada provided Okay, Cool with a code for review purposes. We are waiting on the game to release before reviewing multiplayer features. Stay tuned for more on that front.
You can find Chris on Twitter at @ChrisZaiser if you want to chat about Gears or anything else!