A Gears 5 Critique (Long)

Howdy fellow Gears.

Some of you may remember me and may recall I said I’d wait to buy Gears 5. Well, I waited and got some hours into both horde and versus to make something more in depth. I hope you stick with and read through. Also, want to note I am not talking campaign, I know the story but still have yet to play through myself. Also, this isn’t a bash TC or hate Gears thing going on here, I have legit problems and legit praises and want to use their forums to voice some constructive criticism. And feel free to voice your opinions about my opinions as well. Hope you read this TC. I do love Gears and want the best for it. Wouldn’t make this if I didn’t.

Tried to break this up in way where it didn’t feel as long but I could only do so much. Let’s do this…


The Positive:

  • The custom lobby browser is probably one of the best things this franchise has added. If I don’t feel like sweating in ranked or even taking social too seriously the lobby browser has tons of people hosting. Lobbies like ‘wallbounce practice’ or ‘1v1’ or ‘chill no kill’ are great ways to learn the game. Not only that but TOD advances in those sessions as well. Gears 4 felt incredibly limited with its currency and this, while still grindy, feels much less so.
    Same with co-op vs. AI. Major props for that TC. Most devs don’t give you rewards for practicing against AI. The fact that I can still progress through TOD even when practicing against bots is great.

  • free for all was a great comeback and I applaud TC for its return. Though one thing I will say is that I don’t think it needs its own maps. I argue this because it acts separately from all the other game modes. A reason horde works so great is it is linked with versus maps.
    Another problem is you now have to design seperate maps around that one mode and alienates that playerbase. My suggestion would be to put 10player FFA on all maps in the beta preview and see how it works

  • On from that, beta preview is another plus from me. It allows TC to get some feedback and allows players to try new stuff.

  • Your original maps I think have also made an improvement. I enjoy Gears 4’s maps but they felt bland in terms of cover and map design. But some of these in 5 are excellent. AllFathers arena was a great idea and it works well. As is training grounds and icebound. But overall I like Gears 5’s originals, they feel more inspired.

  • I find the gameplay in Gears 5 more-or-less an improvement over Gears 5, the gunplay I’ll hit separately, but I think the movement feels as good as its ever been.
    Old Gears felt like you moved with alot of weigh with each step but now you are light as a feather wallbouncing with ease. Maybe in time I will come to hate fast Gears but at least now it is incredibly satisfying to pull off gnasher wallbouncing in KotH.
    May have also been done intentionally to lessen the learning curve but I’ll leave that for the players to decide. Personally, I think they did.

  • The new weapons are great and unique in their own right. Weapons like the breaker mace are satisfying as hell to pull off kills with, and its execution is top tier. The claw is Gears’ first lmg and is my horde go to. The GL grew on me from the tech test and I now love it.

-making eliminations the go to instead of kills was the right choice. Helps deminish kill stealing (kind of) and encourages teamwork.

The Negative:

  • Not a fan of gridiron, played a few matches and haven’t touched it since. Felt like rounds always ended by elims. Same probably I have with tech test escalation (which may have changed, I don’t touch Escalation). But with Gridiron it is much more apparent in the matches I played. Gears has a place for elimination game modes, but I think that needs reworked.

  • the talon autopistol is a pos. Don’t think I’ve ever picked it over the snub minus the first time. Its recoil makes it incredibly unreliable unless close range, but in that close of range may as well just use the gnasher.

  • Adding on, weapon recoil in this game feels off. At least on the assault rifles. I assume this was done to avoid the domination they had in Gears 4. But it is still the go to at range. I feel like giving these guns ridiculously unrealistic recoil doesn’t work to curb their dominance. I’d really have to sit on it though to give a better suggestion than ‘more natural’.

  • I love the gun, but the claw’s rate of fire is inconsistent as well. First few seconds it shoots fast then slows down then picks back then not too fast not too slow. It is such a pain to use in horde.
    My suggestion would be the let the player control the recoil of a gun that shoots that fast and then at the end of the magazine it gets slower if you really shoot it that much. Insentivise using the full clip because of its long reload time.

  • I have very little to say about Arcade, I don’t like it. Feels way too casual and just doesn’t feel like Gears to me. I don’t even think it is that interesting on paper tbf.


The Positive:

  • I am gonna shout out the custom lobby browser again here because it is an even better addition to horde. I don’t feel turned off this time around from joining a match in progress. Great improvement there.

  • Adding the energy tap was a solid idea as well. Though I wish they popped up around the fab first rather than in random spots (at least they feel random).

  • Jack was another excellent character and works well for horde. If I feel like playing horde casually he is a great character to choose. I find it odd more people don’t use him.

  • The smelter is another interesting concept. Maybe not my first pick of a fortification but cool nonetheless. Grewt insentive to get more power though.

  • The new bosses are great as well. They have negatives I’ll get to but both the matriarch and flock are unique in their own right and are more-or-less fun to fight.

  • The new units are also pretty good. Mini bosses like Warden and the Stump are a cool idea. Maybe I wouldn’t call the stump a mini boss but its design at least looks like one.

  • Adding the snipers line of fire was a great idea on your part TC. I couldn’t let that go unmentioned.

  • I also appreciate the deviation from class specific skills. Horde 3.0 was fun but only when everyone played their part. No scout was pretty much a death sentence. Now everyone has control over their own power and can upgrade themselves or supply the fab.

The Negatives:

  • The enemies and bosses feel like major bullet sponges. Sentinels and guardians still being some of the biggest culprits of this. How is it I can pump a full salvo with 50% more damage into a sentinel and it does next to nothing. But it launches maybe 2 or 3 shots at me and I’m downed? That is beyond unbalanced. At least make them react to my shots.
    And this isn’t just the sentinel or guardian, it is most units.

  • bosses have this to a heightened degree, especially the matriarch. It takes 10 minutes of constant shooting to kill her. This just feels like lazy game design. All she does is run and sometimes jump. The spear chuck switches things up but doesn’t make up for her lackluster gameplay. I think her and the flock are great concepts but they really should rework them gameplay wise.

  • I feel the difficulty modifier needs to revert back to old in general. Difficulty doesn’t just come from increased damage output and reduced health. It should also be put into enemy intelligence as well. I also want to stress none of this was on master or insane. The highest I’ve ever gone is elite.

-I have a love/hate relationship with in game upgrades. As I said it is great to be able to upgrade yourself but sometimes I find myself hogging power to get my next level upgrade. Usually I find a balance but I have to point that out.

  • I think hero abilities have no place in Gears. I think that was done as trend hopping. If you think otherwise then help explain it to me. I have always found horde incredibly immersive. I am sure fans can attest. It was like campaign isolated entirely on each multiplayer map. Hero abilities pull me right out.
    This is one of the reasons I think Gears 2 horde worked so well. Just you and the map, with enemies thrown at you. Ever since then it has gone from wave survival to base/tower defense.
    Since then we had heroes and classes, both of which I thought entirely uneccessary. The fabricator works well. I don’t see why we needed more than that.

  • If I could give a suggestion I would branch off what you have already implemented twice. Find more more ways of giving the player power, while giving them new things to spend power on. And also utilizing the fab in more ways.
    Or try to utilize power in a way that is an homage to Gears 2 style wave survival. That would be a bigger deviation than what we have now and it would still fit horde and could still immersive in my eyes.


The Positives:

  • This was originally a shorter section but Operation 4 helped with that.

  • Gears coins helped solve the problem I had with the ridiculous character prices. Iron is still ridiculous and its price still I think is greedy. But that is the fault of the gamers, that is no doubt how they make major bank. I can’t nor will I tell you how to spend your money, I am just pointing out that the prices don’t need to be that high if we don’t want them to be.

  • While I still hesitate at some of the prices characters are with gold, they are miles better than what they were priced at with iron.

  • The swarm has much more personality than Gears 4 plus one for that. Not only this, but the new characters are good as well. Good banter and good design. And another plus one for bringing Karn.

  • Some of these weapons skins are excellent. The Kryll set is an absolute banger.

  • I also am pretty cool with spot marks and banners. And I can tolerate bloodsprays.

The Negatives:

-(See this as a mini rant) Emotes are so cheesy and, at least in Gears, I dislike them with a passion. Gears of War, which was once a gritty war story, now feels like it lost its soul for the sake of player customization. I get it is only multiplayer, but Gears’ multiplayer never felt far removed from its campaign. The community formed its own soul and that is why I have always loved Gears, it is incredibly unique.
Call me old, but I think Gears really needs an evaluation. By both its fans and its developers.

  • I still cannot believe TC sidelined characters like Cole, Baird and Dom for freaking Halo and Terminator characters. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth even if I came to the game when those characters were already out.

  • why is the curbstomp limited to the snub? Why was it removed in the first place? Some of the custimzation options I want to critique but I honestly can’t guess why you would make some of these decisions.
    Suggestion: If you want to keep customization, keep the curbstomp as it has been since Gears 3 where if you don’t follow through on the execution, you curb stomp. Now add new curb stomp animations seperate. That way we still get to keep the curb stomp and also keep player customization.

-I also think the knife as our melee is trendy and unnecessary but I will say, I think it can work, with player customization.
For each weapon you can add melee animations and also have the knife. Most of the weapons already have an animation anyway.
Gears always had a weight behind everything, and melee animations especially. And to replace those for a lame knife animation feels cheap. Another reason why I suggest this is then you can go to town on the knife animation, make the player actually want to choose it.

  • I have to ask TC. You know how the Gears community is. You have to adding bloodsprays like the toilet and ‘noob’. What in the world makes you think people won’t ironically use the pride omen? Either you are incredibly shortsighted or incredibly based. I don’t know which I find more hilarious.

Seperate Crticism:

  • Dear God I still hate this new omen. It feels like alot of my other criticism. Why? Why did this need to change? What was wrong with the omen before?
    It feels like our typical first person shooter health alert where it may as well be flashing red saying ‘YOU WILL DIE GET IN COVER’. I know people said the old one was in our face, which I don’t agree with, but how is THIS what TC saw as an improvement?
    It covers my screen in red and does absolutely nothing that the old omen couldn’t minus point me in the direction of my shooter. But its cons far outweigh pros.

-Another bafflingly dumb decision was linking the chainsaw and retro with the reload button. This decision may have been even worse. Multiple times have I screwed myself over. Again why? Why was that what they went with? What the hell was wrong with the chainsaw, the lancers unique melee, being linked to the melee button?

  • big praise however for adding the no auto reload feature. That is something that is an excellent addition.

-It seems like I am the only person in this community that likes him, but please bring back Oscar. I enjoyed him in Gears 4.


Thanks to everyone who got all the way through reading this essay. I am satisfied with Gears 5, but am not blown away. There are things that I think Gears seriously needs to reevaluate. Rebranding to simply ‘Gears 5’ doesn’t sit right with me after playing this game. I think in the coming games Gears is going to hit an identity crisis. I just hope TC can go back to see what made Gears unique in its story, themes, and characters. And help transition that to multiplayer.
I do think TC does care about Gears and they have the heart to make it the game it needs to be.

Also side thing: trash talk is something pretty frowned upon in games now adays by its devs. But I say keep it up. Gears gave me my thick skin way back when and it still has some of the best.

May have forgot some things but that is all for now. Like I said I want the best for Gears. Please let me know your thoughts.


1 Like