Reviews started to drop for Gears 5 today. The latest in the flagship Microsoft exclusive franchise drops the Gears of War name and makes some advancements to the formula and design of the levels in Gears 5. The game is out later this week or next, depending on location.
The Gears 5 campaign picks up the story of Kait Diaz and a crew of COGs both old and new in a return to this post-apocalyptic cover shooter franchise. The multiplayer brings back Horde and introduces new Versus modes while holding on to the classics, thereby welcoming new and old fans alike.
The third-person shooter is receiving mostly positive reviews in an age where the world has moved on from the cover shooter. We absolutely loved the campaign and multiplayer offerings. In the Game Rant review of Gears 5, we called it "the perfect Gears of War experience."
Game Rant (Dalton Cooper)
"After the slightly disappointing Gears of War 4, Gears 5 shows that the series is back with a vengeance, with what is the best Gears of War game yet."
Screen Rant (Rob Gordon)
"The personal story can be given the outright focus that it deserves, rather than being a side-plot to the more pressing immediate matters of being eaten by (and subsequently cutting a pathway out of) giant worms. This means that Gears 5 has more flexibility, and in turn becomes undoubtedly the most expansive game that Gears of War has seen so far. This is also seen in terms of gameplay, with the introduction of wide, expansive areas to explore in open world sections."
IGN (Ryan McCaffrey)
"Gears of War may have initially thrived because it refined and helped revive the third-person cover shooter, but it has survived for a much less obvious reason: it has heart... this series matters because its characters make you care. Gears 5 is no different, and the consequences from your actions here – along with its welcome gameplay improvements – will affect both this and future games in a way I’m eager to see."
USGamer (Hirun Cryer)
"As the sixth game in 13 years, Gears 5 shows how relatively little the franchise has changed in over a decade. Subtle changes to multiplayer and the related game modes spice things up a little bit, and Gears 5's campaign resembles some of the best horror traits of the original game, but The Coalition's latest is mostly business as usual for the Gears franchise."
Gamespot (Phil Hornshaw)
"What makes Gears 5 work well is that those additions feel like a useful evolution of the core Gears concept, even if a lot of these ideas--like an involved character progression system or a Battle Pass-like rewards path--are also becoming commonplace among shooters. 13 years after the franchise's first release, The Coalition's additions to Gears 5 are all things that seem right at home with the elements that give the series its identity."
VentureBeat (Dean Takahashi)
"Gears 5 is one of the best entries in the Gears saga. It had to satisfy fans who wanted more of the same, give something new to keep them from getting bored, and expand the appeal and approachability of the game to attract new fans. Gears 5 delivers a sense that you’re losing a big war at the same time it delivers the blow of a personal loss. And it generates a resolve to hit back. And it’s nice to see a team of video game developers, forged in Epic’s days of conceiving silly and gruesome chainsaw bayonets, grow up with its audience and provide them with a good story."
Game Informer (Andrew Reiner)
"This is The Coalition’s second tour of duty with the Gears license, and the developer shows savviness with both the lore and gunplay, dazzling with the latter in bombastic ways – especially in the final act, which is relentless in its pacing and action. The Coalition also takes a few chances to expand Gears of War out of its comfort zone, and the results are mixed. Some ideas add strategic layers to combat, others bring the action to a screeching halt."
While overall the reviews were positive, there was one element that was frequently mentioned as disappointing. The new Escape mode is a co-op alternative to Horde that doesn't quite stick the landing. In this mode, a team of players quickly fight their way through a dungeon while trying to outrun a toxic gas. This climaxes in a tense standoff while waiting for evac to arrive. In our review, we said, "Escape is fine and functional, but it just won't hold players' attention like the other modes will."
Gears 5 sounds like a step up for the Gears of War franchise and fans of the campaigns in particular will find a lot to like in this one.
Gears 5 is out on PC and Xbox One on September 10. Game Pass Ultimate subscribers will have access to the game on September 6.