One of the most enjoyable co-op modes in the Gears of War series is back again - offering up to 50 waves of madness and carnage as you and your friends fight off hordes of Locust, Swarm, and DeeBees. Taking its role as a frantic, arcade-style survival mode, Horde mode has proven a fun diversion from Gears' prominent campaign and competitive multiplayer features.
Like the franchise itself, this co-op romp has undergone many changes since its debut in Gears of War 2. Customizable elements like specific character perks, Ultimates, and cards mark some of the biggest additions to this revamped mode. In addition, new weapons have been added to the fray, making for more unique and chaotic battles than ever. Which weapons should you focus on from this vast and distinct arsenal? With this list, we'll go over the 5 very best - and 5 worst - weapons for Gears 5's new Horde mode.
10 Best: Gnasher Shotgun
It might seem like a standard choice, but despite the glitz and glamor of all the new and returning artillery, you can't be the strength and efficiency of a good ol' fashioned Gnasher. Though this tried-and-true shotty has been dialed back in power somewhat from its early days, it still proves one of the most effective weapons in the heat of battle.
Assuming you mainly opt for close-range skirmishes when using the Gnasher, this thing is tops when it comes to deleting foes in a swift, single shot. As long as you keep moving - executing those rolls, wall bounces, and mantle leaps, you can make quick and easy work of multiple lower- and mid-tiered targets in Horde.
9 Worst: Buzzkill
Despite its amusing nature, the ability to fling buzzsaws at opponents isn't quite as great as you may think, especially amidst the fast-paced anarchy of Gears 5 Horde. While its buzzsaw projectiles do pack a punch, this appropriately-named "Buzzkill" is usually too much of a hassle to really utilize effectively in these showdowns.
Considering many situations in Horde consist of a myriad of fast-moving targets - sauntering along with this heavy, inaccurate, and short-range novelty weapon isn't too ideal. About the only time this thing might be semi-useful is when facing off against a larger foe after most of the wave's been cleared out.
8 Best: Markza Marksman Rifle
While its counterpart the Longshot is certainly effective in head-to-head multiplayer, this quicker-firing version of a sniper is better when it comes to the onslaught of AI foes in Horde mode.
It's a pretty versatile weapon, as it can be effective in both long and mid-range combat and holds more, faster-firing rounds than the Longshot. It also comes with a relatively simple and swift Active Reload. At the same time, it has a high damage output, and its accuracy allows for frequent headshots that are relatively easy to pull off.
7 Worst: Smoke Grenade
Gone are the days where this projectile was spammed to death, thanks to its overpowered ability to knock foes flat onto the ground beneath them. The only real use for this specialized grenade now is to initiate a brief stun and to provide temporary cover for your team. While this might be a marginally effective move when playing against real players, the AI foes in Horde Mode will hardly be phased by it, especially on higher difficulties.
Tossing smoke grenades will usually just be a wasteful, ineffective way to keep the enemy hordes at bay. They'll likely find you after tossing one anyway, and all you'll really achieve is to potentially obstruct the view of team-mates nearby.
6 Best: Claw LMG
Let's be clear - you won't usually want to rock this weapon when scoping out enemies from long range. However, this new Swarm-made Light Machine Gun can actually mesh quite well with the typically close-to-mid-range situations in Horde mode.
The weapon sports a Rambo-style spread that can spray shots all over the place, but the accuracy actually improves the more you hold the trigger. During those waves where tons of smaller, more nimble baddies are swarming you, the Claw's high damage, large spread, and high rate of fire can be super useful. This is an imperfect weapon, to be sure, though it is tailor-made for fending off waves of rampant foes in survival mode fashion.
5 Worst: Flashbang
Taking a page out of the Call of Duty playbook, The Coalition has implemented its own version of this obstructing non-lethal grenade. Much like their smoky counterparts, the disorienting, blinding effects of this area-of-effect grenade can be useful against human opponents, but they don't tend to phase AI hordes all too much.
Thus, you usually won't want to bother with these flashy projectiles when dealing with enemies in Horde, unless you're mounting desperate escapes or in need of quick cover. Stick with Frags or Shocks when opting for grenades to lob at mid or far-range opponents.
4 Best: Lancer GL
One of Gears 5's newest weapons is also one of its most effective and versatile. The best aspect of this new-and-improved Lancer is its useful combination of rapid-fire shooting and heavier artillery. Much like its normal Lancer counterpart, this beast fires at a high rate and comes with suitable accuracy for mid-range. Both of these attributes are ideal for the medium-sized, often highly-populated stages of Horde Mode.
On top of this, the laser-guided micro-grenades can pick off (or at least whittle down) larger enemies and bosses. While the few grenades you're given for each magazine can run out rather quickly, you can restock them with ammo boxes or by purchasing more at the Fabricator.
3 Worst: Cryo Cannon
This new Gears 5 weapon is fun and satisfying with its unique freezing blast, which tends to resemble a slightly less powerful version of Mei's Endothermic Blaster from Overwatch. Yet, in the fast-paced, chaotic environment of Gears 5 Horde Mode, you might want to opt for something else; unless you're left with no other options.
Not only is it pretty ineffective offensively, but this clunker makes you slower when carrying it. Even cranking this beam-style weapon directly onto opponents, it takes awhile to freeze them, during which time you leave yourself vulnerable from attacks elsewhere. This can be mildly effective in hindering mid-tiered baddies once you've cleared most of the wave, but that's about the extent of it.
2 Best: Tri-Shot Chain Gun
About the only flaws in this weapon are its lack of accuracy and heavy nature, which will make you slow-moving and a somewhat easy target. However, if you can get your hands on one and manage to post-up in a safe, well-fortified area, this weapon can quickly wipe out tons of foes at an insanely rapid pace.
The Tri-Shot can essentially melt through enemies like butter; even imposing brutes like Stumps and pesky shielded Guardians. This beast is one of the most effective and quickest ways to deal loads of damage, pound for pound.
1 Worst: MX8 Snub Pistol
Unless you're a master of popping super-accurate headshots, you'll only want to go for this ineffective pistol if you're literally left no other alternative in Horde. If you're going to use a pistol, stick with the Boltok, which is far more effective at nailing headshots with its increased accuracy and damage.
The Snub, on the other hand, has few redeeming qualities, especially in the intense conditions of Horde mode, which demands power, precision, and fast-firing weaponry. This pistol doesn't really have any of these features, with its average accuracy, short-range, low damage, and small magazine size.