Gears 5 - Xbox One

Also known as: Gears 5: Ultimate Edition

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Viewed: 3D Third-person, over the shoulder Genre:
Shoot 'Em Up
Media: Blu-Ray Arcade origin:No
Developer: The Coalition Soft. Co.: Microsoft Game Studios
Publishers: Microsoft Game Studios (GB/GB)
Released: 10 Sept 2019 (GB)
6 Sept 2019 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 18+
Accessories: 4K Ultra HD, HDR, Xbox One X Enhanced
Features: Xbox Play Anywhere

Summary

Gears is back, bigger and just a little different.

Gears 5 promotes Kait, a sidekick from Gears 4, into the role of protagonist, marking the first time that Gears has had a female lead. Since the Locust were resurrected in the last game, Kait has been having visions of the swarm, sparking a quest that takes this game a little off the track beaten by its predecessors.

Make no mistake, this is still Gears - expect full throttle third-person gunfights defined by tight cover mechanics and adrenaline-fuelled action. But there are changes to the formula, too.

Perhaps the most marked change is a newfound sense of levity. Developer Coalition doesn't ask us to just power through the series' absurdities in the name of delicious alien-blasting action - rather, it embraces the silliness and isn't afraid to poke a little fun.

In terms of actual gameplay, though, the opening up of levels will be the thing that longtime Gears fans most notice. Once you're through relearning the basics, you'll find yourself dropped into expansive environments that encourage exploration and open up combat. There are also some landscapes that are all but unheard of in other Gears games, including a tropical island that Lara Croft would be more at home in than Marcus Fenix.

Your tactical options are further opened up by an upgrade system that allows you to level up your drone companion, Jack. Fun abilities like a stealth device for your team or the power to turn Locust to your side can really make a difference in the later stages of the game.

In co-op these changes are even more striking, with one player able to take on the role of Jack, hovering above the fray before piling in with support for their fleshy teammates. On the competitive multiplayer front versus and horde modes return, but there's also the addition of Escape, which has you fleeing a toxic green wave while taking out enemies on the fly.

Gears 5 still packs in all the action fans have come to love, but also breathes fresh air into a series that's been around the block a few times.