Gears 5 (Xbox Series X/S) Review

By Neil Flynn 24.11.2020

Review for Gears 5 on Xbox Series X/S

Work it, make it, do it, makes Gears 5 harder, better, faster, stronger. Although it has nothing to with Daft Punk, and everything to do with the new powerful hardware of the Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X. The ever-popular third person shooter series, Gears of War, doesn't quite have a new entry to behold on Microsoft's new piece of kit, but it does generously upgrade 2019's Gears 5 with some nifty performance tricks and features. Does it make it any better to play?

The Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X version of Gears 5 is an incremental upgrade that introduces a swathe of technical improvements for the new hardware. Upgrading couldn't be any easier, with owners and those with Game Pass, being able to swap out their old version for the new one for free.

The upgrades themselves really take advantage of the new Velocity Architecture in the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, with much faster loading times, that largely benefit the campaign mode. Loading into areas, or resuming from a checkpoint after death now instantly puts the player right back into game, where as it would have previously been up to a 30 second wait.

The Campaign mode is still the same story and ostensibly is identical to the Xbox One version, but a few new features and tweaks have now been added as part of the free update, such as return of Inconceivable Mode, the rock-hard difficulty setting to put any Gears advocate through the mill. Additionally, Ironman mode has also been added, which is to beat the game without dying, practically impossible on Inconceivable mode.

Speaking of Ironman, someone that has probably featured in a few ironman matches himself enters the ring, as Dave Bautista of Guardians of the Galaxy and WWE fame (Batista) is now playable in the main campaign by optionally swapping out the veteran hero Marcus Fenix with his likeness and voice.

Other than the likeness no gameplay tweaks have been added to Batista; it is essentially another skin, although this may further the rumour of the long awaited Gears of War movie.

Marcus isn't the only character to experience an overhaul in appearance; in fact, other characters can be customised in the campaign mode to re-skin their outfits. It isn't a huge deal, but it does add to the level of customisation available.

Screenshot for Gears 5 on Xbox Series X/S

Campaign mode is further bolstered by the ability to add Mutators to it, which is somewhat reminiscent of the cheats available in GoldenEye 007, such as big head mode, low gravity death, unlimited ammo. There are a few other modifiers that can help make the game easier or harder, such as tweaking the health regeneration to only recover while dealing damage, or reducing the power of melee attacks.

One of the best additions in this regard is the new Screen Effects mode which adds different filters onto the game, such as enabling the appearance from previous Gears of War games, or adding a Cartoon Outline which makes everything look like it is from Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS.

Being able to toggle through different art styles definitely adds a little more space to experiment with the new hardware performance boost, which on the Xbox Series X has cinematics in 60fps. Having the Gears of War 1 and Gears of War 2 filters applied strangely makes it feel more authentic, and that is not a knock on the visual style of Gears 5, but the original style felt far grittier and greyer, which for these purposes looks better.

Screenshot for Gears 5 on Xbox Series X/S

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Undeniably, this is a free upgrade worth downloading for new Xbox Series X owners, as it brings over some of the technical performance boosts from the PC version as well as 60fps cutscenes. Owners of both the Series S and Series X experience a number of upgrades including the sublime 120fps in multiplayer, alongside a huge toolbox of customisable options for the main story campaign. Although at the same time, as mentioned in the Cubed3 Xbox One review, the campaign mode still suffers from a weird mesh of linearity in some chapters followed by some bland tedious back-and-forth sandbox exploration. Any Gears of War fan should definitely take Gears 5 for a spin if they really want to test the power of their new hardware but may feel somewhat let down by the campaign mode if they are huge fans of the initial trilogy.


The Coalition


Microsoft Game Studios


First Person Shooter



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

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   


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