|Publisher(s)||Xbox Game Studios|
|Series||Gears of War|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 4|
|Release||September 10, 2019[a]|
Gears 5 is a third-person shooter video game developed by The Coalition and published by Xbox Game Studios for Microsoft Windows and Xbox One. It is the sixth installment of the Gears of War series, and is the second Gears of War game not to be developed by Epic Games. The ultimate edition was released on September 6, 2019. The standard edition of the game was released worldwide on September 10, 2019.
Gears 5 focuses on Kait Diaz (Laura Bailey), an Outsider of Locust descent. As Kait, the player must uncover the origins of the Locust and Kait's family. Gears of War 4 protagonist James Dominic "JD" Fenix (Liam McIntyre), his best friend Delmont "Del" Walker (Eugene Byrd), and JD's father Marcus Fenix (John DiMaggio) also return.
Following the events of the previous game, JD, Del, and Marcus are officially reinstated in the COG Army along with Kait, who is given the rank of corporal. Reformed as the new Delta Squad, they travel to the ruins of Azura at Damon Baird's request in order to launch a Hammer of Dawn satellite in an effort to restore the Hammer of Dawn network. After doing this, they return to the COG capital, New Ephyra, but Baird informs them that he still cannot locate the other satellites. First Minister Jinn finds out about the launch and orders them not to restore the network, since it would go against the wishes of the late Anya Stroud, who had decided to permanently decommission the Hammer of Dawn.
Jinn receives word that Settlement 2 is under attack by the Swarm and sends JD's squad to assist the evacuation. Accompanying them in defending the settlement are Augustus Cole, Clayton Carmine, his niece Lizzie, and Fahz Chutani, JD and Del's former squadmate. As the Swarm attacks intensify and threaten to destroy the evacuation convoy, JD orders Baird to fire the Hammer of Dawn prematurely. While the Swarm forces are annihilated, the Hammer of Dawn malfunctions and begins firing wildly. JD saves a group of civilians but is badly injured after failing to save Lizzie from being killed by the Hammer strikes.
Four months later, Kait and Del arrive at an Outsider village situated in the skeleton of the Riftworm to try convince them to join the COG. The village chief, Kait's uncle Oscar, refuses to join, but the village is suddenly attacked by the Swarm. During the battle, Kait is captured by a Snatcher and begins experiencing vivid visions of controlling the Swarm forces. She escapes the Snatcher, but is unable to prevent Oscar's death. COG reinforcements led by JD (who is now a captain) and Fahz then arrive to evacuate the village. Kait tells everybody about her visions, and Marcus recommends she head to a secret lab at New Hope to the north to find answers, with Del deciding to accompany her against JD's objections. As they reach the lab, Marcus explains that the chief scientist, Niles Samson, had been experimenting on the children of humans suffering from Imulsion poisoning. They find clues leading them to Mount Kadar, a former Locust stronghold.
Kait and Del continue on to Mount Kadar, where they find another secret COG lab hidden beneath the ice. There, they find Niles still alive as an AI construct and uncover the frozen remains of COG personnel and Locust. Niles explains to them that the Locust were the result of his secret genetic experiments, by manipulating the DNA of children infected with Imulsion and hybridizing them with the indigenous creatures of the Hollow. He also reveals that Queen Myrrah was originally a human who possessed a complete immunity to Imulsion and could control the Locust due to her genetics being used to create them. However, when her new-born daughter Reyna, Kait's dead mother, was spirited out of the lab by her father, Myrrah led the Locust to rebel against the scientists and gain their independence. Kait panics when she realizes she is the next queen, and demands that she be separated from the Swarm's hivemind. Niles puts Kait in a special brain scanning machine connected to a dormant Berserker called the Matriarch, which successfully severs Kait from the hivemind but also resurrects Reyna in the process as her consciousness still resides in the hivemind. Niles then reveals his intentions of letting the Swarm take over the planet and finish what the Locust started. Niles is destroyed by the revived Matriarch and Kait and Del kill it before escaping the facility. Realizing Reyna is now the new Swarm queen, Kait reaffirms the COG's need to reactivate the Hammer of Dawn.
Sometime later, Baird takes the group to Vasgar, where the Union of Independent Republics' secret space program was located. Baird reunites with his former squadmate Garron Paduk, who is now the leader of a group of nomads surviving in the desert. Paduk reveals that the UIR had a rocket loaded with Hammer of Dawn satellites ready to launch, a fact both the COG and UIR kept secret from the public. He also reveals that the Swarm have recently become more organized and have developed new weapons and armor. Realizing that the Swarm's increased intelligence is the result of Reyna's resurrection, Kait, Del, and Baird resolve to reactivate the Hammer of Dawn as soon as possible. JD and Fahz also arrive to help Kait. The squad manage to assemble and launch the rocket and acquire targeting beacons to help control the Hammer of Dawn, though they are soon confronted by a massive Swarm creature called the Kraken. The group barely manages to escape it when Paduk picks them up in a helicopter to fly them home.
Upon returning to New Ephyra, the group makes plans to launch the Hammer of Dawn. Jinn attempts to arrest Kait, intending to forcibly connect her to the hivemind to control the Swarm. Before she can do this, however, the Swarm attacks New Ephyra. The Gears attempt to set up UIR targeting beacons to provide targeting data to the Hammer of Dawn, but the Kraken destroys the beacons. Reyna, now transformed into the Swarm's queen, appears and attacks Kait, JD, and Del, forcing Kait to choose to save either JD or Del, leaving Reyna to kill the other. Kait and the survivor fight their way back to their friends but are attacked by the Kraken. The remaining soldiers fall back to New Ephyra's outer wall to fight off the Kraken and are soon overwhelmed until the squad's robotic companion, Jack, kills the Kraken by sacrificing itself as a targeting beacon for the Hammer of Dawn. In the aftermath, Marcus warns Kait that Reyna will return, with Kait remarking that they will find her first before discarding her mother's Locust necklace.
Gears 5 is developed by The Coalition as a sequel to Gears of War 4. Unlike previous games in the Gears of War series, the game is simply titled Gears 5 (without "of War" included in the title). Xbox marketing boss Aaron Greenberg explained that the new title was "cleaner" and that it was a natural change because most people had been ignoring "of War" for years. For Gears 5, The Coalition decided to shift player focus from JD Fenix to Kait Diaz. According to studio head Rod Fergusson, "It was a natural choice. When you play through Gears 4, think of it as Mad Max: Fury Road. It was really Furiosa's story, and Max was the side kick. That's how it felt in Gears 4, the whole game is about saving Kait's mom, and really JD is there to help her."
Marketing and release
Gears 5 was announced at E3 2018, along with Gears Pop and Gears Tactics. The game was released for Windows 10 and Xbox One on September 10, 2019 as part of Xbox Play Anywhere. It was revealed at E3 2019 that for the game, a crossover with the upcoming film Terminator: Dark Fate will have players control either Sarah Connor with Linda Hamilton voicing her character or a T-800 Terminator model as either a pre-order bonus or with Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. In addition to the standard and the ultimate editions, a Gears 5 Limited Edition Xbox One X Console bundle was announced to be released the same day as the game's release. The bundle includes the Ultimate Edition of the game, a Limited Edition Xbox One X console, controller, headset, wireless keyboard, mouse from Razer (for console and PC), external hard drives from Seagate, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, and the standard versions of Gears of War 2, Gears of War 3, and Gears of War 4. The console is designed to look frozen, with the Crimson Omen appearing through a crack in the ice, with the other devices matching this special design.
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Gears 5 has received "generally favourable" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic. Critics praised the gameplay, campaign, presentation and amount of content, but criticised the story and lack of innovation. Many critics praised the game for being a successful return to form for the series.
Ryan McCaffrey of IGN gave the game a 9/10 in a raving review, stating: "It’s not surprising at all that Gears 5 is an excellent third-person action game. This iconic series has never really had a misfire, even when changing hands from original developer Epic to The Coalition, and the hot streak remains unbroken. What was unexpected is just how effectively it doubles down on story with a character-focused, consequence-filled tale that plays to one of the franchise’s most underappreciated strengths and backs it up with fun, welcome additions to both its gameplay formula and flow. And that’s just the campaign: add in a heavy-hitting multiplayer lineup of Versus, Versus Arcade, Horde, and Escape and it makes Gears 5 one of the best and most versatile action-game packages in recent memory."
Andrew Reiner of Game Infomer rated Gears 5 a 8.5/10, concluding: "Gears 5 is exactly what it needs to be. This old war vet still packs a punch. The open-world exploration has issues, but that isn’t enough to steal away the thunder The Coalition expertly deploys on the battlefield. The campaign is a fun ride that concludes with a shocker moment and a hell of a setup for a sequel. I’m already looking forward to that follow-up."
Wesley Yin-Poole, deputy editor of Eurogamer Recommended the game with a 4 star rating out of 5. He concluded: "The campaign really is great. Perhaps even better than great, the more I think about it. All the new things about it - the open world stuff, Jack's powers, the light RPG elements, the side quests - all this stuff was done better years ago by other games. But those other games weren't Gears of War, which has actual decent third-person shooting, actual interesting things happening, and a story that doesn't try hard to win awards. But while Versus, Horde and even Escape are, ultimately, fine, they're let down by the party pooper progression system. The hope is The Coalition tweaks how the battle pass works, because as it stands, Gears 5's grind is depressing."
Phil Hornshaw of GameSpot rated it a 7/10, praising the "open areas" within the campaign and the "character moments" within it. However, he was critical of most of the campaign feeling "inconsequential" after the second act and the campaign feeling like a "rehash of earlier games." He concluded that "Gears 5 is very much a return of those best elements of Gears of War, but with a focus on making the game feel somewhat more adaptive to your particular ways of playing. Whether you want campaign or co-op, Competitive or Quickplay, there's an option for you in Gears 5, and plenty of stuff to reward you for time spent and skill gained. Gears 5 might suffer from some of the same storytelling missteps as its predecessors, and it might not venture far out of the past, but the new ideas it brings to the series are all good reasons for fans to return."
Justin Clark of Slant Magazine gave a rating of 4/5, writing: "Escape stands out in particular because of just how much work has gone into making Gears 5 otherwise accessible. The Gears of War series has been broken of its worst habit: trying to put up the front of being better or harder or more stoic than the rest, allowing the deeper implications of its lore to come to the forefront. Despite dropping “of War” from its title, Gears 5 is the first time the series has made the brutality of its combat feel not only bloody and cathartic, but also captivating and disturbingly intimate on a human level. The quintessential dudebro shooter has evolved with the times, and the world is so much better for it."
The game was played by 3 million people in its first weekend, but sales were low. Xbox Game Pass likely made a large impact on the playerbase. It marks Microsft's most successful first-party launch since Halo 4. Though sales in the UK were less than its predecessor, which sold 4.5 times better at launch.
- The Ultimate Edition for the game was released on September 6, 2019. The standard and collector's editions were released on September 10, 2019.
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