The long awaited Gears of War 5 is here. So how is it? Here’s what I think of it!
The same Gears of War gameplay is here in part 5. There has been no deviation or change to the formula. It’s a good case of don’t change what ain’t broke, but I do wish they would have added to it this time around. You can’t leap from cover down to the ground below you like you can in other modern cover based shooters. They did give us the ability to melee with a knife, but it’s clunky and I only used it when I didn’t have a gun I could melee with.
The big addition to this game is the skiff. You can explore open zones in this game and it controls fine. Everything else is basically the same it’s always been so if you’re a veteran you already know what you’re getting into. Good cover based shooting gameplay.
The campaign was all over the place for me. The first two acts were absolutely incredible and I was calling this game one of the best games I played this year… until I got to act 3. Act 3 was terrible and act 4 was only okay. It set up Gears of War 6 and if you want to know how I feel about that click here. I won’t go over it again because I don’t put spoilers in my reviews.
Kait was cool for one act and then I just wanted to pick someone else. It’s not like the other choices were much better. Del remains an absolutely terrible character with no growth whatsoever between 4 and 5. That leaves Jack who has a bunch of cool abilities, but that’s it. So I stuck with Kait and rushed my way through the rest of campaign.
The most interesting character this time around was JD. He had the most growth and you can’t even play as him outside of act 1… The story had it’s moments, but is a major mixed bag for me.
Everyone has called this game one of the best looking games to release this generation. They’re right and wrong. At times this game looks unbelievable and at times it looks average. All of the debris that’s scattered around the world is very low res (even with the ultra texture pack installed) and I really hated how the desert looked. It’s one of the worst looking deserts I’ve ever seen in video games. The sand color was weird and the I wasn’t impressed. Mad Max still has the best looking desert in my opinion. Hell… Dragon Age Inquisition had a better looking desert. The only time I was completely blown away was during those storms that popped up during the desert. You had tornadoes, lightning strikes, and all sorts of shit flying at you while trying to make it to the other side of the biome.
Act 2 also looked incredible, but, once again, it’s a far cry from what I would call best of this generation. The PC port, once again, borders on complete shit. There’s a vast amount of graphical options to tweak and change to your liking (which I really appreciate), but the performance went from absolutely incredible to utter shit by the end of act 4. I couldn’t even watch the end game cutscene because my game froze. I could hear the voices, but couldn’t see what was going on. I had to replay the chapter twice to see everything.
The animations are absolutely incredible though. There’s even an option to use advanced animations. If The Coalition actually cares about this game on PC remains to be seen, but it could use a lot of patches to iron things out.
Here’s another area of the game that’s buggy. Most of the time the sounds worked the way they should, but it was never perfect. Some guns sound really good while others don’t. I think it’s a bug, but I’m not sure. The sound of the voices that are playing is always really low for me. It doesn’t matter if I’m wearing headphones or using my speakers I always struggled to hear everything that was going on around me. Especially if I was in the middle of combat while everyone was talking.
The soundtrack is hit and miss this time around. Some tracks are really, really good, while others I already forgot about. I’m not a big fan of the battle music in this game, but I do like the more somber tones that played over the ramped up ones. The overall sound quality here should have been great, but it’s sadly all over the place. Especially in act 4.
This is one case where the microtransactions completely ruined the experience for me. You level up so slowly and unlock things at such a slow rate I felt like I had to go to the store to buy shit. I didn’t, but the fact that they sell xp boosters in the store should tell you all you need to know. Part 4’s microtransactions weren’t much better, but I at least leveled up a steady pace compared to 5.
The new Escape mode is incredibly boring. You and two other people have to escape from the hive (or whatever they’re called) in a set time limit. Matches only take a few minutes, but I can go without ever touching this mode again. You have your standard competitive multiplayer matches in this game as well and I had zero interest in playing them. I’ve never played Gears of War for the competitive multiplayer and I’m not about to start now. Finally, you’ve got horde mode. I did a few rounds of Horde and I’ve already quit playing it. I don’t think I’m going back. The rewards aren’t… rewarding for me. There’s nothing here to encourage me to keep playing. It also takes a really long time to unlock new shit and that time could be spent playing better games.
The Open World:
Gears of War 5 did something new. It went open world. Acts 2 and 3 have you exploring these open zones. You can look for collectibles, collect alternate versions of the regular weapons that you find around the game, or do “side quests”. These side quest are nothing more than objectives that pop up on your screen whenever you get close to them. They’re not interesting at all and I completely ignored them after act 2. The open zones left much to be desired. Yes, the game is pretty and exploring it is nice… for about 20 minutes until you realize there’s absolutely nothing worthwhile to do in them except sail your skiff to the next main objective while listening to Del’s horrible dialogue.
There’s no central hub, you can’t customize your characters or do anything like that and this is the fifth game in the series. When will it evolve?
Gears of War 5 is more of the same. That's both a good and bad thing. The Coalition could have gone all out with this game and knocked it out the park. Instead, they gave us a half-assed open world with nothing to do, mediocre campaign, and a bunch of multiplayer modes that are dependant on microtransactions. The PC port is a step away from complete shit and I can't recommend this game to anyone in this state. I enjoyed Gears of War 5 despite all of the issues that I had. I just didn't love it even though I really wanted to.