Gears Tactics (Xbox Series X/S) Review

By Neil Flynn 08.01.2022 1

Review for Gears Tactics on Xbox Series X/S

Welcome to the expansion of the Gears of War universe with a surprising spin off title Gears Tactics, which helps build on the story of latest two games Gears of War 4 and Gears 5. As the name would suggest, Gears Tactics takes the third-person shooter of the Gears of War franchise and turns it into a turn-based tactical strategy game, playing more like the XCOM series than anything else. How well can the run and gun third-person shooter translate into the tactical genre?

If you have played a Gears of War game before then Gears Tactics's cutscene presentation will look very similar. The set pieces, character design, environments, cut-throat conversations and the impending sense of dread, doom and willingness to fight all come over in the dialogue and cinematics. From a story perspective it is worth playing Gears Tactics, which helps continue the narrative set in the more recent titles of Gears of War 4 and Gears 5. The sound effects, music, and voice dialogue are also exactly what fans have come to expect over the years, so the familiarity with practically all the video game elements is there. However, what differs vastly from any other game in the Gears franchise is the XCOM-like tactical maneuverers and gameplay mechanics. The change of perspective might be off-putting to those completely unfamiliar with strategy games and certainly this is not the traditional third person shooter that Gears fans would expect.
Levels are set from a top-down view, and the whole map can be viewed by scrolling across. The on-screen mouse is easy to control and units can be directed to certain points of the map with a click of the button. The gameplay mechanics may seem familiar, it is just that they are now in a turn-based formula. Items of cover are there to be used to hide behind, so guiding a player to that particular spot will show them nuzzling up cover just like in the other Gears games. Each character has the ability to use the Overwatch function, allowing for characters to keep watching a selected area and automatically attacking an enemy there, although this can be cancelled out by the CPU by using particular moves such as Interrupt and Disabling Shot. Each character can act three times per turn, although these can be extended by successfully executing a downed opponent.

Screenshot for Gears Tactics on Xbox Series X/S

Side missions are also available to level up characters; there are only five different types, some of which are also in the main missions such as Rescue where players are tasked with saving characters from torture pods or Scavenger where various equipment cases have been spread across the map and need to be collected.
Skill trees are available for each character to specifically define them and add to their strengths. The four corners of the tree help build towards specific traits such as Marksman, Assassin, Strategist and so on. Ensuring that there is a balanced team on board benefits what the team can execute tactically on the battlefield while also keeping each character varied and different to play with.
Building up skills and stronger stats are very much needed as huge scale boss battles do occur and can take quite a long time to defeat. It is worth persevering in every aspect to level up a variety of characters because bosses can tough to beat without a strong team.

Screenshot for Gears Tactics on Xbox Series X/S

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Unexpectedly, Gears Tactics is quite a competent and enjoyable tactical strategy game. The roots of what make a good tactics game are embedded in the DNA, combat is fun and yet somewhat familiar. However, Gears Tactics falls into the trap of laying down a great foundation with awesome mechanics but it does feel that the few creative ideas showcased begin to feel repetitive after the thirty plus hour campaign. That isn't to say that Gears Tactics is devoid of ideas either, Gears fans will be impressed with how the title pushes forward the narrative and newcomers will also be left in awe at how good the characterisation and cutscenes are, which are just as good as Gears 5, from a graphical and presentation standpoint. This is a great foundation into what should become a great spin-off series, should it continue.

Developer

The Coalition

Publisher

Xbox Game Studios

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Right? It's really good fun! It also makes good use of the Series X capabilities Smilie

The only question I have is why you think the game was "unexpectedly" great? Gears Tactics had a good ad campaign and is made by developers with plenty of practice in the genre. Splash Damage basically only makes strategic games and The Coalition's Gears games are fantastic Smilie

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