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October 16, 2019

Gears 5

Gears of War 5

I got to play Gears 5 recently. It's a game with parts that are pretty good, however, other parts are very lacking. I decided to write this to organize my thoughts.

STORY

It feels very much like 2–3 episodes taken from the middle of some TV show. The story is not contained – it starts in the middle and ends in the middle without a closure. It's not bad per se, but I would expect a big game release to deliver at least a decent closed story – even if it's a part of grander narrative.

Writing for individual scenes is decent and characters are well done. Interpersonal and character development is rather unoriginal – something is revealed; characters distance from each other; and eventually they all come happily together to face the big evil.

Close to the end, one character dies. Reactions of other characters to this death were well-made. But the way this death was introduced felt extremely forced, random and without consequences.

MECHANICS

In general mechanics are very shallow. The only progression is limited to the bot. There is no change in how the game plays – weapons, enemies and tactical situations are mostly the same. You only get few different skills and upgrades on the bot.

The reload mechanic is something that I appreciated. It lets you reload faster if you time out your second key press correctly. It's a small thing, but it lets you feel good for executing it properly.

Gameplay loop doesn't change for the whole game – you reach a point, there you inevitably face a swarm, complete the objective, go back so your skiff and repeat. Considering you always leave your skiff sitting outside, I was hoping that at least once enemies will try to steal it or just mess with it. But the game always did things the same way.

PROS

  • Technical side
    • Looks great - rendering methods & artists did a great work on environments
    • Runs well
    • Controls well (although cover shooters are inherently more clunky)
  • Co-op support

CONS

  • Shallow/bare-bone
    • Story
    • Progression
    • Mechanical depth
  • Small variety in gameplay

CONCLUSION

Despite some parts of the game feeling shallow, if you somewhat enjoy the core loop of the game, the story, characters and new environments will pull you through the game. The game has 4 different acts with pretty and distinct settings. It's a simple but relatively polished experience.

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