It has taken Microsoft and Coalition a little under three years to release Gears 5, the sixth game in the franchise. Gears 5 picks up after the events of Gears of War 4 and treats players to many familiar things, while also introducing enough new elements to make the game not feel like it was a product of the rinse-repeat formula.
Seeing how Gears 5 is a play anywhere title — meaning, you buy it for Xbox or PC (through the Windows Store) and you can play it on the other, with all your game saves intact — I chose to play this game on both PC and Xbox. However, regardless of the platform, I used the Xbox controller instead of the keyboard. It just feels a lot more natural.
Gears of War 4 ended on a jaw-dropping revelation. Gears 5 is all about exploring that revelation. For those who haven’t played Gears 4, you could still start with Gears 5 as there is a generous recap movie that plays when you start the game for the first time.
However, I cannot, in all honesty, recommend that as there are a lot of subtle connections and references that make the game more enjoyable. So if you haven’t played Gears of War 4, you should definitely play that first.
You start the game as the protagonist from Gears of War 4, J.D. Fenix, but a few hours into the game, you find yourself in the shoes of Kait Diaz, who is the central character to the story of Gears 5.
Kait sets out to find out more about her past and her mother and this journey takes her to varied parts of the world. This journey includes meeting plenty of familiar characters and several new enemies.
Some nine hours of gameplay later, it is safe to say that the storyline for Gears 5 is very crisp, with the only fluff being the “exploration” aspect of the game. Exploration is needed only to find parts to upgrade Jack, but there are side missions every now and then that are so engaging, you might find yourself trying to replay them.
For longtime Gears fans, the game’s mechanics will feel quite familiar. You start off in the “normal” world and somehow end up exploring caves and underground systems infested with enemies. Gears 5 also takes you back to some of the iconic locations from the previous games, which I would not like to spoil for you.
As you traverse through the very diverse terrain, what is obvious is that Gears 5 is nothing short of a visual treat. The wastelands of Cera are recreated with next-level visual mastery. I played the game on PC on which I was able to get an average frame rate of 72fps. This was achieved at a resolution of 2560×1440, with all graphics settings set to ultra.
The Coalition has made the game visually stunning masterpiece, but they have done that in a way which isn’t too demanding on the hardware. When I turned the resolution down to 1080p, the average fps jumped from 72 to 95.
All of the above results were achieved when I played the game on a PC, If you play on a console, the Xbox One X will obviously give you the best experience, with 4K output in HDR at 30fps. PC gamers will get a huge number of options for tweaking the visual characteristics of the game, with each option also showing you the kind of impact it will have on the CPU and GPU.
The campaign storyline takes about 6-8 hours to go through, depending on the difficulty you choose to play it in.
Gears veterans will find the beginner difficulty to be way too easy, making the campaign’s play through time lesser.
Gears 5 Review: Verdict
Gears 5 has an engaging storyline, with enough mystery and urgency happening at all times. Good luck taking a break from the game once you start playing. Not only is the game’s storyline beautifully executed, but the game is visually stunning at the same time. PC gamers will, of course, get better visual fidelity than Xbox gamers.
For fans of the franchise, Gears 5 is essentially a masterpiece in whichever way you look at it. The best part, buy it for the Xbox and you get a copy for the PC too. Gears 5 is a definite must-play title for fans of the franchise and even newbies.