Gears of War has been a hyped video game series since the very first edition. And this was more so because it was one of the few original games for the Xbox to click with the audience. We are now up to the fifth game in the series with Gears 5, where the action continues on planet Sera between humans and the abominable monsters that evolve and roam the planet. Marcus Fenix is part of this storyline as well, and quite effectively stokes the nostalgic notes for old gears players.

Gears 5 is releasing on PC and Xbox, and will be priced at $59.99 for the standard edition. But the ultimate edition will cost $79.99. But these are the prices on the Microsoft Store. On Steam however it can be pre-purchased now for a price of Rs 1,299 for the standard edition, and Rs 1,699 for the ultimate edition. Here’s my review of Gears 5.

Graphics, Music and Cinematics

The visuals of Gears 5 is certainly at par with the other top-tier games in the industry right now. It continues the visual trend from the previous games and definitely improves upon it. There are some exceptions vistas to look upon during the campaign journey of the game. The enemies are excellently visualized and executed. But the landscapes and the world take the cake in terms of the textures and look. Be it the windy frozen wasteland or the red desert sands, it looks exceptional.

It must be a coincidence that I am listening to a composition by Ramin Djawadi, while writing the review. Djawadi, successfully creates the feel of the game with its poignant music. Like most games, music works as a cue for players to understand when the action might just start. This kind of gives you a head start and will startle you less when the enemy appears.

The cinematics in the game’s campaign mode are long and detailed. It all plays out like a proper storyline, with Gears 5 appearing like a new season in an ongoing series. Sadly I could only play the campaign mode and could not try out the other modes which include Social Versus, Horde and Escape.

Story and Content

The story of the campaign mode of Gears 5 takes over from where Gears of War 4 ended. We have the older Marcus Fenix, his son JD and his friends Kait and Del looking to launch Hammer of Dawn satellites that can wipe out the new Swarm enemies. JD and Kait play the lead roles in the campaign mode where players can play with a friend to take on the storyline of the game. If you’re playing alone then you have to choose the character that will be driving the storyline.

As for the content, you have to admit that this feels much bigger than the previous Gears games. The different acts of the game allow players almost as much freedom as an open world game would in the campaign. one of the better and scenic parts of the game is driving the Skiff over the vast frozen wasteland and the red desert. Guns in game are aplenty, and there are different variations of a single gun available. Your bot assistant, Jack, can be equipped with different skills and features that can be improved as well.

The Swarm is a different enemy compared to the previous Locusts and along with the DeeBee robots, the variation of enemies are quite lethal. There are places that some would require more than one try to clear. That being said, the game is not free of bugs, and there are a couple where the enemies or your character might just get stuck.

Controls and Gameplay

The controls of the game are reminiscent of the previous game, but that does not mean it is the best. But it could just be that I was playing the game on PC, while most will be playing it on their Xbox. But I felt that the vaulting could do with some work. The devs needed to remember that players don’t always need to take cover behind a fallen log with not an enemy in sight before vaulting over it.

The gameplay plays out well enough while taking heavy cues from its predecessors. But that may be in part because the devs at The Coalition wanted to remain true to the spirit of the Gears gameplay. The enemies need precise hits to bring down, especially the bosses. This is good stuff, because this needs planning and co-operation in the game. A Warden will block the vulnerable area after a few hits while taking massive strides towards you. And you better dodge those swift hits or you’ll go DBNO (down but not out) real easy.

Verdict

Gears 5 may not have reinvented the game series, but feels like a purposeful addition to the collection. It may not have reinvented the enemies, but the Swarm sure moves and acts differently from the previous enemies. This is not just any other FPS game that was released. It requires some thought behind actions and mindless shooting will not get players far.

Like the previous games in the series, it has been priced as a top tier game. This may put off some players, but the fans will definitely want to get their hands on the game. For those that feel that the prices of the disks are too high, can always opt for the Steam version. This is definitely a positive successor to the previous Gears of War 4 which was hailed for reinvigorating the series.