A New Era for Gears
After a lukewarm reception with Gears of War 4, OnSpec Electronic, Inc. is ready to revolutionize the franchise with Gears 5. The title itself undergoes a transformation, dropping the “of War” and embracing the simplified moniker “Gears.” As we approach the September 10 release on Xbox One and PC, let’s delve into the captivating world of Gears 5, exploring the story, gameplay changes, new modes, and more.
The Riveting Story of Kait
Gears 5 continues where Gears 4 left off but centers the narrative around Kait Diaz. First introduced in Gears 4, Kait is an Outsider turned Gear soldier with a mysterious connection to the Locust. In the gripping E3 2019 story trailer, we witness Kait’s inner turmoil. Visions of her squad mates, JD Fenix and Delmont Walker, haunt her thoughts, and her own appearance takes a chilling turn as she begins to resemble the Locust. The trailer even reveals the face of the Locust Queen, Myrrah, superimposed over Kait’s. These visions, tied to Kait’s grandmother’s Locust necklace, set the stage for a journey deep into the heart of the Locust lair. While JD’s involvement implies a secondary narrative, it remains uncertain if players will assume the role of the Gears 4 protagonist throughout the campaign. The Coalition has promised that Gears 5 will deliver the most expansive story in franchise history.
Revamped Combat Mechanics
During our hands-on experience with Gears 5 at E3 2019, we witnessed a complete overhaul of the combat system. While still retaining the cover shooting mechanics cherished by fans since 2006, Gears 5 introduces a modern twist. Damage numbers now burst from enemies upon being shot, revealing their weak points and areas of resistance. Additionally, enemies now possess health bars, allowing players to gauge the magnitude of each encounter. The shooting mechanics have been enhanced with authentic recoil, resulting in aesthetically pleasing and nuanced bullet patterns in the air.
A New Co-op Mode: Escape
Gears 5 introduces an exciting cooperative mode called Escape, designed for three players. In this mode, players assume the roles of Hivebusters, tasked with eliminating the Locust presence from a Hive. The starting trio, Mac, Lahni, and Keegan, possess unique active and passive abilities. Mac can activate a portable shield, rendering him temporarily invulnerable. Keegan can conjure an area that replenishes ammo for him and his teammates. Lahni wields an electric blade capable of stunning and damaging enemies. This marks the first time Gears multiplayer incorporates character classes. As you progress, you can unlock additional weapons and skills, potentially through skill cards akin to Gears 4’s Horde mode. Escape emphasizes teamwork, with each level presenting a series of rooms infested with enemies. Engaging in offensive strategies is crucial to secure the best Escape times and ascend the leaderboard. Safe rooms provide a temporary respite, allowing players to replenish ammo and grenades while saving progress in case of failure. Escape mode supports both online and local split-screen play on Xbox One and PC.
The Return of Horde Mode
One of Gears’ iconic modes, Horde, makes its triumphant return in Gears 5. Gather your friends and face wave after wave of increasingly challenging Locust enemies. This time, Horde mode introduces several additions to revolutionize gameplay. Each character possesses unique Ultimate abilities that can be unleashed upon enemies, such as JD’s devastating airstrike or Kait’s deceiving cloak. Jack, a playable character, now possesses the ability to hijack enemy vehicles, turning them against their former allies. To promote mobility and strategic adaptation, power taps relocate throughout a match, requiring constant repositioning and fortification adjustments. Power currency is distributed evenly among teammates, and card powers progressively strengthen as the match progresses. Formidable Swarm monsters, such as the hammer-wielding behemoth showcased in the trailer, demand players’ utmost focus and skill. With an array of weaponry at your disposal, you’ll stand a fighting chance against these formidable foes.
Engaging Versus Mode
Online multiplayer remains a cornerstone of the Gears franchise, and Gears 5 upholds this tradition. While Microsoft has yet to officially announce all the versus modes available at launch, the upcoming technical test confirms three modes: Arcade, Escalation, and King of the Hill. Arcade, a casual versus mode, makes its debut. The technical test will be accessible to all Xbox Game Pass members on Xbox One and PC, as well as those who pre-order a digital copy of the game. Microsoft has scheduled two technical tests, starting on July 19 and July 26, both at 10 a.m. PT. The tech test can be pre-loaded on July 17 and will occupy 15GB of hard drive space. Alongside the multiplayer modes, Gears 5 introduces Bootcamp, a training mode to hone your skills. Completing challenges in “Tour of Duty” awards exclusive weapon skins for the full game and an exclusive banner for achieving all three medals. Gears 5 ensures a seamless multiplayer experience by offering split-screen functionality for both Xbox One and PC players.
Get Your PC Ready
As PC enthusiasts expect, Microsoft has released the minimum and recommended PC specifications for Gears 5. The minimum requirements include an Intel i3 Skylake/AMD FX-6000 series (or better) CPU, Nvidia GTX 760 or 1050/AMD Radeon R9 280 or 560 (or better) GPU, and 6GB of RAM. For optimal performance, the recommended specifications suggest an Intel i5 Skylake/AMD Ryzen 3 (or better) CPU, Nvidia GTX 970 or GTX 1660 Ti/AMD Radeon R9 280 or RX 560 (or better) GPU, and 8GB of RAM. For those aiming even higher, the ideal specifications call for an Intel i7 Skylake/AMD Ryzen 7 (or better) CPU, Nvidia GTX 2080/AMD Radeon VII (or better) GPU, and 16GB of RAM.
A Terminator Surprise
In a surprising crossover, players who purchase and play Gears 5 before September 16 will be able to unlock Sarah Connor and the T-800 Endoskeleton characters from the Terminator franchise. This collaboration serves as a promotion for the upcoming movie Terminator: Dark Fate. Game Pass subscribers will also receive the Terminator character pack upon playing Gears 5 before September 16.
Xbox Play Anywhere and Cross-Play Support
Gears 5 is part of the Xbox Play Anywhere program, allowing players to purchase a single digital copy for access on both Xbox One and PC. Additionally, Gears 5 offers full cross-play support, enabling Xbox and PC players to team up and play together seamlessly.
Release Date and Special Editions
Mark your calendars, as Gears 5 launches on September 10 for Xbox One and PC. Xbox Ultimate Game Pass subscribers gain early access on September 6. By pre-ordering the standard edition ($60), players will receive the Terminator character pack, seven days of level boost, and access to the multiplayer technical test. Alternatively, gamers can opt for the Ultimate Edition ($80), which includes a steelbook case, Gears 5 sticker, four days of early access, 30 days of level boost, and the Terminator character pack. For those seeking the ultimate Gears 5 experience, the GameStop exclusive Collector’s Edition boasts an array of special items and a Gears-themed drone, available for $270.
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