Gears Tactics is like Xcom. A very, very poor version of Xcom. Here’s what I think of it!
Gears Tactics is like a meaty version of Xcom and I love it. This game feels like a natural evolution for the Gears of War series to take. This game is well optimized and plays like Xcom and Gears of War at the same time. You’ve got your usual Gears of War tough guys going up against the Locust enemies. The big difference is instead of you playing a third-person shooter you have a nice top-down view of the environment and everything is turn-based.
This game can be excellent at times and a lot of fun. Especially when I learned how everything worked and could potentially give my units the ability to zip across the entire map in a single turn because of the neat execution mechanic. Every time you execute an enemy you’ll get a single action point for everyone else in the group except the unit that performed the execution.
If you plan your executions correctly you could potentially have multiple units that can perform more than 5 actions in a single turn. It makes for a very fast-paced game when compared to the Xcom games. It’s not as fast as Mario and Rabbids, but it’s close.
My main issue with Gears Tactics is the lack of interesting things to do in the game. In Xcom, I can build my base up from nothing, recruit soldiers, and do many different side missions before tackling the next big story mission. I can research new technologies that would repay me with new weapons, armor, and items to use in battle. I could even turn one of my operatives into a Psi combatant that can use special powers. There’s none of that in Gears Tactics. It’s almost an on-rails experience that takes you from one long story mission to the next. I eventually unlocked side missions, but there’s not enough of them and the game itself is honestly not that interesting when compared to Xcom. Especially when you consider the fact that this is a $60 game.
After each mission, I was rewarded with a random chest that I found out on the battlefield either by exploring or by completing an optional objective. These are basically free loot boxes that reward you with random items. There are absolutely no microtransactions in the game so don’t freak out over having free loot boxes. The items from the loot box that I obtained can be anything from a new part for my gun to a new cosmetic item for one of my heroes to wear.
The gun customization is awesome and is a feature I wouldn’t mind other games in this genre having. I can go crazy by adding different attachments like stocks, barrels, magazines, etc to choosing from a wide selection of different color palettes and patterns to attach to both my guns and armor that my unit was wearing. I can be as ridiculous or serious as I want to be here and I love it.
Gears Tactics is a mixed bag in the graphics department. It’s optimized really well and offers a vast amount of graphical options (which I really appreciate), but it can also be a really ugly game to look at. I love that this game will let me tweak just about everything in it to my liking, but what’s the point when most of the game looks like I took some of my own shit and smeared it across my screen? I didn’t experience any graphical glitches, screen tearing, crashes, freezes, etc during my playthrough. My fps never even dipped, but with a game this ugly I never expected it to. This is by far the most optimized Gears of War title on PC and I commend the developers for that.
This is a literal copy/paste job from previous Gears of War games. I mean… everything sounds good, but there’s no difference from this game compared to Gears of War 5. The guns, explosions, vehicles, grunts, and everything in between is a copy/paste job from previous games. And there’s nothing wrong with that. You don’t fix what ain’t broke. The reason why this is in the good section isn’t because of any of those things. I loved them in Gears of War 5 (I refuse to call it Gears 5 because it sounds stupid) and I love it here. The voice acting and soundtrack are where I draw the line. Both are equally bad in my opinion. The soundtrack is very forgettable and lacks imagination and the voice acting is lifeless.
In Gears Tactics, you play a man named Gabe Diaz who apparently chose to demote himself over having to do special missions for some guy whose name I’ve already forgotten. Gabe reluctantly accepts the mission and, as usual in Gears of War games, everything went to shit and he has to save the day. Gabe, like Kait, is as interesting as a protagonist can get. At least Kait had those neat visions, but I can see the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree because they’re both so boring.
Nothing interesting happened and it made playing through this game a chore because I couldn’t ignore the story and focus on other stuff because it’s pretty much an on-rails experience. What few side quest there is to distract me from the story just wasn’t enough. If you’re going to make a story-heavy game like this the story better be damn good and it’s not here.
Gears Tactics has zero replay value and that's a real shame because the gameplay is the real highlight of this game. It's actually the only highlight of the game. This, like Phoenix Point, is a disappointing take on the genre that Xcom is still king of. What fun I had was quickly diminished by the uninteresting story, characters, and lack of features that I've grown accustomed to. If you're going to make a game like Xcom you've better bring your A-game and Splash Damage did not do that.