Review: Gears Tactics

Gears of War is known for over-the-top action and lots and lots of gore shit. Now it's time for a spin-off, or rather a prequel, in a slightly different style than we are used to from Gears. What are we talking about?

Well, as the name says, Gears Tactics is a tactical game set in the Gears of War world. It is similar to both Mutant Year Zero and XCOM. You play with a number of moves, from an isometric perspective. But, Gears is known for crazy executions and finishers, big shootouts and scary monsters. How does Gears Tactics keep this going? Read it in the review!

story

Gears Tactics is not just another tactical game. It tells a story. To be specific, we learn a lot more about what happened before Gears of War 1. The game discusses the political choices that were made, the start of the locust invasion and the story of Gabriel (Gabe) Diaz. Does that name sound familiar? That could be right, because Gabe is Kait's father, who we know from the last two Gears of War titles. We follow him in his emotional roller coaster and the missions that he is put on his shoulders.

The game shows the evolution of the Locust Wars and the Locust race. You will face the great villain Ukkon. This Locust has a leading role in the war and is also much smarter than others of his race. Gabriel is then also ordered to find him and stop him. After a tutorial you also immediately come to one of the most fun points in the game: Forming your own team! The story is entertaining and fills some gaps from the original story. But, it doesn't feel as personal as the regular Gears games. This is of course not such a big problem, because the game mainly relies on its unique way of playing. The storyline, on the other hand, is more than fun to have around. More Gears is always good!

Gears Tactics

Gameplay

Gear Tactics plays from an isometric perspective. You control a team of up to 4 strong from above. You can level and expand this team yourself with the five in-game classes, each of which has a fairly extensive skill tree. The game gives each character a number of moves per turn. You can walk, throw grenades, shoot and you name it. There is also the special Overwatch skill. This leaves a person in your team on watch. If a Locust comes in his or her sights, it will get a lot of bullets thrown at the head. Of course, this also includes looking for cover. But I especially liked the executions. During the 40 hours in the game, executing Locust almost never got boring. Executions are also quite useful as you can win extra moves per turn.

The game plays nicely, but is sometimes damn difficult. Boss fights can really keep you on the edge of your seat or couch. All in all, there is nothing to complain about the fast and tactical gameplay of Gear Tactics. Sure, there are some bugs or awkward moves that take the game out of the flow for a while, but these are minor details. Overall, the game plays really nicely and also makes you think about your moves. A wrong move can quickly kill you.

Gears Tactics

Graphics and sound

Gears have always been graphically strong. In the Gears 5 review we also talk about what the franchise has always looked like. Tactics is no exception to this. The game looks just as good as the main series of games at times. Sometimes there's a weird texture with over-the-shoulder shots, but overall the game looks really sleek. This also applies to the cinematics, which match well with the regular Gears titles.

The sounds are nice and dirty and above all very clear. When you hear something, you know exactly what it is. The same goes for the dialogues, which are well spoken as usual. Gears is and remains a franchise not to mess with. The game is recognizable and unique. Something that the game also does well is mapping out the environments, setting a certain atmosphere. Some missions play fast, others slow. Some missions are creepy, dark, while others are just outside. Setting a scene and ambiance makes the game very strong.

Gears Tactics

Verdict

Gears Tactics is a Gear game through and through. But, then with a slightly different playing style than we are used to. This is only cool, given that originality is sometimes hard to find in franchises. This is something fresh, something different. I can recommend the game to every Gears and XCOM fan. The game may not quite have the rich universe of XCOM, but it converts a Gears atmosphere like we are used to in a tactical shooter. It's right, and that's what counts. The game is obviously not perfect and could use some depth here and there, but it sets a more than good basis for a second part. Are you going to get him? Let us know in the comments below!


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