- Spoiler: show
17th September - Gears of War 5
(story) - Xbox One
Thanks to Game Pass, I've had this one for a couple of weeks and I've been steadily working my way through it an hour or two a night. The following is solely about the single player.
The Coalition have been able to build upon the existing foundations - this is a much more ambitious title in the series than the lacklustre Gears 4
There are two large semi open world area's bookended by the more traditional linear corridor shooter levels and I enjoyed both those open world area's. The skiff is fun to drive most of the time and it's nice to see part of Sera that isn't just ruined urban civilisation like (so!) much of the rest of the series. There was also a real attempt to build on the lore already established in this universe and start to answer some of the questions that have been raised previously then just not touched.
The voice acting is great and the sounds are suitably visceral
And though I haven't tried it, I like that Jack has a different ability set to the standard Gears character. I can see that adding to the already impressive range of accessibility options and allowing co-op play (couch or online!) for someone who may be interested in the franchise but struggles with the controls, or wants to play with friends of a much higher skill level
The voice acting may be great but the characters are not. Newcomer Fahz and the returning Jinn are as one-dimensional as you like, previous lead JD goes off on some bizarre out of character arc for the second act and when the support robot begins to show more character than some of the series previous stars ...
There are a couple of random difficulty spikes - the end boss of Act 2 and partway through Act 4 - I think it's telling when the final campaign complete achievement is still rare when the rest of the story missions aren't.
And then there are the bits where the game is just a little broken. For that same Act 2 boss, the several times I saw the introductory cutscene, the boss themselves was not in it (despite actions taking place that suggested they were) but was instead wandering around the map waiting. Another stage boss in Act 4; meant to be an approaching danger; instead started next to me and slowly stepped away until it got caught on scenery when I was able to wear them down with a handy turret. However as that wasn't the scripted 'death' for that boss the next cutscene wasn't triggered and I had to reload the previous checkpoint in order to progress. There was a little slowdown once or twice and not at the busiest parts
The AI is dumb, particularly that of your team mates. More than once, I'm sneaking through a section that starts with attempts to stealth kill enemies and I'm watching a team mates roadie run around whilst the enemy has the courtesy to pretend not to see them running immediately beside them. And they don't like to revive you ... even while standing next to you
Finally, whilst I don't mind adding more collectables so I can gain upgradable tactical skills (and the game does what it can to assist with collectables shown in order in the menu and totals visible on mission select and map screens); what it means in game is that I'm constantly looking away from the main focus to look for things to pick up and not properly participating. I'm not certain what could be done about that - possibly make all the passive upgrades happen as you use the skill rather than looking for components and only have to search for particular mods? I dunno.
I quite like what the Coalition are doing with Gears; I like the slightly more open world area's and the branching storyline has me intrigued how this will be handed in the next game - there is definitely some respect for the franchise shown. It feels a little rushed however and it is not really a game for a solo player. There are a lot of area's that the devs need to address in the next game - game breaking bugs should not get into final release product
better than Gears 4
by a margin but has some technical issues that may cause frustration when playing