Gears 5 takes us on a different story path, compared to Gears of War 4, who saw us playing through as JD Fenix and the complex relationship he has with his father Marcus Fenix. This time round we dive in as Kait Diaz, who after losing her mother Reyna to the swarm, is now on the hunt for answers regarding the weird symbol she has inherited from her mother.
This Gears game most definitely emphases a much larger scope into the characters relationships between each other. Two big relationships are between Kait and Marcus and between Kait and Del throughout the game. Their is further involvement of new characters like Fahz and older characters like Baird. As you advance throughout the game, you start felling more of a bond with the characters around Kait Diaz as she is trying to make more sense of her strange visions and the stronger connection with the Swarm. The other characters are trying to offer support in their own unique way and will do anything they can to assist Kait in this heavy burdened journey.
The Campaign this time round, starts off the way we would expect a Gears game to, but then there is an interesting turn. Once you advance to Act II, you are immersed into a more open-world game environment where various exploration options become available. This is a huge leap forward for the Gears of War Franchise as all titles previously offered a more linear way of game play as you progressed through the Campaign. In Gears 5 you have more freedom to take on Secondary Missions while exploring the world and progressing through with the main story. I felt like this gave me a new view into the Gears of War world and allowed me to take my time to search for collectables and explore further parts of the story, that were running parallel with the main story as well. You are also able to do all this exploration on the newly introduced transport system called a "Skiff". This device has a sail design in front, main carrier unit that can transport goods or people, with the rear end being controlled by Kait with ropes that are connected to the main front sail. I felt like this was a really interesting design concept and addition into the games open world environment.
There are many new features to experience while taking on the new Gear 5 Campaign. If you like experimenting with new weapons, well, there are plenty of new additions including the new Lancer GL Assault Rifle which is a modified Lancer by Baird and offers a built in homing rocket launcher attachment. The most notable feature to mention is our new companion JACK! If you have played the other Gears of War titles, there is a Jack bot that appears and assists with Doors etc, but this time round Jack is with you full time throughout the Campaign experience. There are a variety of abilities available for Jack and various upgrades that allow Jack to be modified during the progression of your Campaign experience. It is up to you to take the time to explore the world so that you can find Flash components which help you upgrade Jack's various abilities. Also to mention, there are a ton of Collectables items that fill further gaps in the story and that will keep you busy searching as you play the game.
Furthermore, there are new enemies that will appear to make your life more difficult and offer unique challenges. The most notable one for me was the Swarm Warden. This enemy is huge, bulky and hits like a crane and a half with its very powerful Melee weapons and yes, you can use these weapons once you manage to defeat this foe. The Bosses also offer their unique challenges and I must say that the Boss at end of Act II was defiantly something rather more challenging compared to what I have experienced with previous Boss fights in the other Gears titles.
Shifting over to the general performance of the game, I have to say there are bugs and this is kind of expected to happen on most new launch titles. There are areas where enemies get stuck, playable companions get stuck or you might just have to reload your last checkpoint so that you can overcome the buggy area you are in. I did notice that people are posting on the official Gears 5 forums regarding the various bugs and I am pretty confident the Coalition will be launching updates to address these issues. Moreover, the games visuals are absolutely splendid to the eye and I found myself many a time just looking around while making my way through the game. On PC, I did not experience FPS drops per say with the FPS reaming stable throughout the game and allowing the 144Hz experience, on Ultra settings to take place!
The verdict would be one of great praise to the Coalition in producing Gears 5 the way they did, in adding in all the new features and especially the new Jack Bot companion. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters in more depth and the game has a way of pulling you into the story. It was hard for me to put it down and even though it felt shorter than previous titles, the open-world roam made it feel longer for me personally. The experience is action packed and builds the adrenaline up. I am really impressed with what Gears 5 has had to offer Campaign wise but do not forget that there is still the Multiplayer, Horde Mode and the newly introduced Escape mode to jump into when you are done with the Campaign.
Gears 5 was launched early on September 5th for both PC and Xbox One via the Ultimate Game Pass and Ultimate Edition of the game.