It’s finally here: Gears 5, the first entry in the Gears of War series since 2016’s Gears of War 4. It’s a bold and ambitious journey across war-torn Sera, and it’s also the most innovative addition to the Xbox exclusive series to date, with a host of new features and first-time-round tricks to learn — which is why we made this video about the game’s epic campaign. Listen up. You’ll want to know this stuff.
PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR MAP
Significant portions of Gears 5’s gameplay is spent in wide-open spaces, which is a big twist to anyone familiar with the narrow, corridor-based fights that have defined the series. Reportedly, these levels are 50 times larger than what the series has offered up previously, so it’s really worth heading to the fringes to explore. The areas you’ll play in, which range from blood-red deserts to glacial wastelands, are so big that waypoints have even been introduced. You’re not going to want to get lost out here, so keep your eyes glued to the map. Who would have thought what you’d learned in Cub Scouts would prove so useful…
SKIFF LITTLE FINGERS
Gears 5 introduces the skiff as your primary way to navigate these huge levels. It’s a sail-driven sled capable of skimming across the landscape. Here’s a tip when skiffing: Keep an eye out for the myriad of bits to do that aren’t essential to the narrative. You can help any Nomads or Outsiders you might come across on your journeys. And you can search for ancient relics –- including alternative versions of classic Gears weaponry – which you can store on your skiff.
JACK OF ALL TRADES
Delta Squad’s faithful – if a bit needy – support bot JACK is on hand once more, though it now appears as a souped-up version of its former self. JACK can be upgraded in its offensive, defensive, and utility functions as the game progresses via “components.” You can also actually control JACK in three-player co-op if you’d like, which is an experience quite unlike anything a Gears game has seen before. It’ll take a bit of getting used to, but we assure you, eventually you’ll be maneuvering that thing like you would any piece of weaponry.
KAIT AND SWITCH
Gears 5’s campaign is around 12 hours long, and it’s an excellent story. On the surface, it’s about trying to get franchise superweapon the Hammer Of Dawn back online, but beneath all that — in the guts of the thing — this really this is the story of Kait, whose mother we saw taken by the Swarm at the end of Gears 4. That game heavily implied that Kait had a connection to the Locust horde that Mr. Chinny himself, Marcus Fenix, sent to oblivion a quarter of a century ago, and it’s hugely rewarding peeling back the story to learn truths about that relationship. Pay attention to the conversations Kait and her comrade Del share during the open world segments of the game; they add hugely to Gears lore and will prove hugely rewarding to longtime fans of the series.
Hopefully, these starting tips will guide you through the engaging series refresh that is Gears 5.