If the original trilogy of Gears of War was in the name of certainties, this new course of history stands out for questioning many things that the player took for granted. In search of an identity that allows to characterize this new cycle, the developers of The Coalition they based the storyline and campaign for Gears 5 on some very substantial changes.
We therefore find characters like Kait and JD, who, however, are at the center of controversial personal events, which shake them in diametrically opposed ways. As anticipated by the finale of the fourth episode, Kait finds himself investigating her connection with the army of locusts, as evidenced by the symbol of her on the medallion left by her mother. JD, on the other hand, has to deal with the consequences of actions taken during his COG service and the failure to save fellow soldiers, emotional wounds that only war can leave.
For the independent Kait there is a fear of belonging to a faction that claims his loyalty in much more stringent ways than simply enlisting in an army. The bold JD begins to understand that the craft of weapons does not always pose situations where good and bad are as distinct as he used to think when fighting against an army of monsters, but also gray areas where any decision made remains to torment the conscience.
These two characters are the pillars of a deeper narrative than the thematic simplicity that Marcus and Dom could rely on in previous chapters. There is a certain focus on improving the quality of the plot by not only featuring the protagonists, but also the whole world of Sera and her story. Chapters are expressly dedicated to explore the background on the origin of the swarm, but also of the Pendulum wars and the UIR faction, the enemies of the COGs in the civil war between humans for the control of Imulsion fuel, preceding the Emersion Day of the locusts.
Lovers of Gears of War will find many details that enrich the setting in a consistent way, closing the brackets left open in the second episode, but keeping some questions so as not to skimp on further twists in the next Gears 6. The supporting actors remain of the presences of pure outline, with much more sketchy and superficial characterizations than those of the main characters, but inserting some small cameo and quotation for fans.
Also on the structural level, the campaign introduces some innovations to be more varied to play and less linear than the previous ones. The big news is that different acts now develop within an environment sandbox, large enough in size, where the player has to move along multiple locations to complete primary or secondary missions, in order to continue in the story or to get bonuses for the robot Jack.
This figure therefore no longer has a decorative function, but becomes an integral part of playability. Jack can now pick up items on command and carry ammo or weapons that are out of range. In addition to this he has some functions such as opening a flak shield, activating an armor on the characters or making them invisible, controlling some types of locusts temporarily and more.
The range of skills available to the player has therefore increased a lot and unfolds all starting from this kind of flying D3BO (its resemblance to the Star Wars robot is also due to its expression with cybernetic noises, understandable only to Del), encouraging as you explore the map to get tracks and pieces to unlock upgrades. In a cooperative game, it is also possible to directly control Jack, handing over the controls to a user, who can provide additional support by reviving the landed characters or throwing shocks to slow the locusts.
For the rest, the playability is always that of a third-person shooter, albeit sporadically interspersed with some short stealth phase but of little relevance, as they can be easily overcome due to a cpu that hardly even detects that it is passing by. This perhaps superfluous aspect, inserted to try to add further variety, which ends up not adding anything relevant but not even ruining anything, given its limited presence.
Overall, the title is very smooth both alone and in a cooperative and you can appreciate how longevity has increased, requiring about twelve hours to complete the story and also dedicate yourself to completing all the secondary missions. The sandbox sections have a sufficient width to give greater freedom of movement and not make the progression too linear, but without leading to the open world which becomes dispersive and adds too many drops in rhythm. However, it is necessary to specify that only half of the game has these wide-ranging sections, limited to only chapters two and three. Chapters one and four in fact develop along a linear path, thus increasing only a part of the game.
Graphically, The Coalition studio is confirmed to be able to perfectly exploit the Xbox hardware and the Unreal Engine, creating for the second time a product that becomes elective software to flex the muscles of Xbox One X, but which equally touches levels very high for this generation of consoles now at the end, even if played on normal One. One X users will be able to show off 4K resolution and a constant 60 frames per second on their screens, both in campaign and in multiplayer. For the others it will be necessary to accept the compromise of a multi at 60 frames and a campaign at 30, but guaranteeing a graphic detail and a quality of the lighting effects that are still high and satisfying.
To achieve these results, however, some things had to be limited, by decreasing the environmental interaction for example. In fact, in the original Gears trilogy each shooting blew up pieces of rubble, crumbled parts of stone architecture or left more tangible marks on the depths of the rain of discharged bullets. Now, however, very little is shattered or collapsed and every bullet hole is automatically repaired within a few seconds so as not to burden the processor's calculation too much. Small touches, it is true, but which confirm that 4K, 60 frames per second and environmental interaction are still a difficult trio to assemble.
In the cooperative section you will find the new Escape. Playing in this mode the player will have to join two other COGs and launch an attack inside a hive of the swarm, planting a grenade in the center that releases poisonous gas, from which to escape quickly until reaching the exit of the structure. Escape totally reverses the way you play compared to Horde. In fact, if in the latter you have to defend an area while maintaining the position in a fairly static way, here the priority is to run and mow down anything that gets in your way, constantly between anvil (the spread of poisonous gas) and hammer (the enemies that stand in front of the door). The change of pace is also dictated by the urge to recover shots. We start armed only with a pistol and the subsequent ammunition can be torn, in large part, from the corpses of the felled locusts, which confer very little supply (one shot from a sniper rifle or three of Gnasher, for example). Escape becomes a desperate race to the exit, a high-risk mission centered around three specific characters, each with very specific abilities, some of which can be upgraded between a system of cards and experience points.
Orda closes the PVE sector in part reconfirming itself as a fundamental piece, in part showing a big step backwards. On a playful level, the rules remain almost unchanged, a team of five players must resist 50 waves of enemies managed by the computer with increasing difficulty. As in Gears of War 4, you choose a specific role as an attacker, engineer, scout, etc., each with different functions and use the equippable cards to obtain substantial bonuses. The difference, however, is that playing in matchmaking (without manually opening a custom room) even on intermediate difficulty, if the entire team is defeated, it will not be possible to retry the failed wave, but it will be game over dry. Playing easy allows you to restart, but given the simplicity, the repetitiveness will be such as to entice you not to use it except as an initial tutorial. At greater difficulty, completing the horde without ever failing a single wave will not be as smooth. The reasons are different: both for the greater resistance of the enemies, and because keeping a team of five elements until the end (if assembled in matchmaking with random players) has always been a business and playing with a few or with bots often ends up. to be overwhelmed regardless of the quality of the performance. Therefore even just an intermediate difficulty horde triggers an addiction to card upgrades, which can be upgraded with a cycle of grinding and experience points in a similar way to Gears of War 4 (where instead it was possible to retry a wave even at high difficulty). What makes things more stringy is precisely the inability to continue, causing frequent game overs that can only be stemmed after a constant grinding of points to improve the bonuses conferred by the cards. The alternative is to buy iron points with microtransactions in play and use them to speed up the purchase of card-related upgrades. A certain rush to microtransaction can also be found in the conditions for unlocking the aesthetic customizations, which are decidedly long and also oriented towards grinding.
Competitive multiplayer remains the staple of Gears of War as a title eSports, feature a number of proven modes such as Team Deadmatch, King of the Hill, Execution or Guardian, which guarantee a good experience PVP. In this respect, perhaps the best of the online sector of Gears is expressed, thanks to an approach that is now typical of the way of understanding competitive shooters in the Epic Games style. This is perhaps the section that includes fewer variations and it is not necessarily a defect, as the shooter arena formula does not need too many changes, making it engaging even for the only fun it can create with simple but functional mechanics. The usefulness of weapons such as the gnasher or the wallbounce as a maneuver remains central, which have now become an essential part of every high-level game to the point of limiting the variety, without leaving much room for the use of new weapons, which although present are not incisive. as much as the good old shotgun (which has become the weapon par excellence of Gears players, much more than the Lancer). For those who want a softer and more flexible introduction parenthesis, they can devote themselves to Arcade, where you select a character with their own rifles and characteristics, as well as a series of point rewards that confer high-caliber weapons.
Arcade quite distorts the rules of Gears or War as a game, resulting in a strange hybrid between an Arena multiplayer and a specialist-based title like Rainbow Six or Overwatch. It is easy that this was not meant for the regular audience of Gears, but for a neophyte or more occasional, as the cure for balance here becomes more libertine, if not savage; many specialists enjoy rewards of devastating power (such as Keegan or the Scion), redeemed which can easily obtain a series of kills such as to redeem a new reward shortly after and constantly maintain themselves in a condition of superiority of fire ("when the man with the rocket launcher Salvo meets the man with the Lancer, the man with the Lancer is dead ”, one might paraphrase a famous western). It still remains quite playable, perhaps not suited to satisfying veterans, but varies just enough for others.
Negative note, however, the netcode. Always a weak point of the series (albeit partially solved in the third chapter), the netcode often produces cases of lag or rather serious matchmaking problems. They range from high times to assemble a lobby in some game modes, to occasional disconnections (such as unhooked from a King of the Hill session lasting twenty minutes one step away from the conclusion), errors in recovering data at the end of the game, astronomical pings, up to a latency in calculating the damage detection that brings us back to the nightmares of the Host Power of the very first Gears. Although the situation is less tragic than in the very first days, the whole continues to be creaky and can be greatly improved.
Gears 5 is a game with a rich content offer in both single player and multi player, covering both cooperative and competitive PVP in this part. The campaign features deeper storytelling and better characterization of characters and setting, as well as larger sandbox stages and side missions. However, there are major limitations perhaps due to its immediate inclusion in the GamePass catalog. Only half of the campaign is detached from its typical linearity, moreover the Horde mode now adds some rather annoying stakes aimed at putting the Hamletic doubt between buying microtransactions or dedicating oneself to grinding (also necessary for aesthetic customizations, but at least optional). In addition, an often limp netcode persists.Duration
- The campaign takes over ten hours when completed with all side missions.
- Campaign playable alone or in cooperative up to three players.
- Escape mode with three-player cooperative games lasting approximately half an hour.
- Cooperative Horde mode for teams of up to five players and two hours in duration.
- Competitive team multiplayer with games of varying duration.
- Game Name: Gears 5
- Release date: 6 September 2019
- Platforms: PC, Xbox One
- Dubbing language: Italian
- Texts language: Italian
Gears 5 reaches the graphic peak of this generation of consoles, but above all it is confirmed as one of the most suitable games to showcase the robust technical specifications of the X model, which allows you to reach 60 frames per second even in the campaign. Solid frequency even in the multiplayer sector on the basic model, guaranteeing fluid performance even on the basic model, as well as a very high general detail.
SOUNDTRACK AND DOUBLE ROOM
A solemn and majestic main theme, combined with a soundtrack that is always suitable for any situation or situation. Thanks to the composer Ramin Djawadi, already appreciated for the soundtrack of Pacific Rim.
Gears 5 is always confirmed as playable, both as a single player, cooperative or competitive title. In any mode, its shooter mechanics are pleasant even if not always innovative or convincingly reworked (see Arcade). The presence of grinding to push towards micro-trends in Horde and a fallacious netcode in Versus downsize what could have been a higher rating.