Title: Gears Tactics
Developer: Splash Damage | The Coalition
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Age Rating: PEGI 18
Release Date: 28/04/2020
Price: £49.99 – Rapid Reviews was very kindly provided with a review code for this title. This title is also available on Microsoft Games Pass for PC Beta.
Gears Tactics is probably the best direction the developers could have gone with the series. After spending 10 years playing the franchise, tactics was refreshing for gameplay but also stayed canonical to the storyline, and it felt like the original trilogy in comparison to the later games.
I was already impressed upon opening the game with the vast array of accessibility options available before going into any other menus, from having friends with hearing and sight issues not only did it cover that, but it included the size of the captioning and colour blind mode as well. This felt like a massive development.
Going forward, having 5 difficulties left for varying intensity levels, and after trying on both beginner and regular mode – the difficulty gap was noticeable. Still, even on the regular difficulty, it was challenging, yet not too intimidating. The gameplay is incredibly beginner-friendly, but this has no reflection on the difficulty. There is the expectation of getting creative with plays with some unrelenting AI, but it also leaves room for some obvious solutions to tactical issues.
Even on beginner mode, you’re required to think about your every move, as someone who cannot competently play TBS games the tutorial gave me everything I needed before putting me in front of some pretty nasty locust and basically said: “off you go!”
The gameplay is streamlined, basic mechanics make it even easier to pick it up on all levels of difficulty, and in true Gears of War fashion, you can still run in with your lancer and bayonet. However, unlike Gears of War, there are large cooldowns, so use those melee attacks sparingly.
In-battle tactics are a lot wider given the AP point system, meaning if you can use each character sparingly, you can get a good two or three actions out of each character per round, which is handy for situations where you can’t move.
The game truly shines when you get into the thick of it, the customisation mode was intense and was a lot heavier than in Xcom, including even changing the material on your armour and how the colours reflect (I might’ve left with one or two soldiers in purple armour with red stars..). Still, the biggest gem was the skill trees. This game is a minmaxers dream, and I’ve never seen a skill tree so in-depth nor did I expect Gears to be the game to pull it off so beautifully – and not only is it available on your main characters but all of them.
In a very similar Borderlands-esque earn your skill points fashion each mission gives you the ability not only to improve your own gameplay but the ability to enhance other members of the team’s skills through support roles and skills that affect your team rather than yourself.
The new characters are already as loveable as the characters from the other games, and admittedly I wasn’t too sure what to expect, not being a massive fan of the previous Xcom games. Still, Gears Tactics has a huge replayability factor with its unlockable in-game content and features alongside the unlockable hardest difficulty. It fits in perfectly with the franchise, and hopefully is the start of a new sub-franchise of a “Tactics” series.
Rapid Reviews Rating
You can purchase Gears Tactics from the Microsoft Store and Steam.