Our Gears 5 tips are here to help you adjust to this entry in the Gears of War series, as although there's a lot that carries forward from the previous games there are also some significant changes to be aware of. You'll still be fighting from cover to cover with your chainsaw gun, but there's now a more open world setting and you have an upgraded combat drone at your disposal, meaning there are some fresh tricks you can pick up to assist you on your way.
There are new mechanics to learn everywhere in this new instalment, environments play a bigger role, as does your floating sidekick Jack – so read our Gears 5 tips to help you get up to speed with Gears 5 as fast as possible.
1. Have an arsenal for every range
This is Gears of War 101 advice, but we know this is the first Gears for many of you. Aside from a grenade slot, you have three weapon slots: one for light one-handed weapons and two for heavier weapons that require your non-trigger hand for support. Naturally, you can't predict what combination of enemies will come at you next, which is why it helps to have a mix of long ranged weapons will high accuracy and less accurate weapons that pack a punch in close quarters. Be sure to experiment. For example, if you love pulling off juicy headshots with the Longshot but this sniper rifle isn't around, you might be surprised how the Boltok almost has the same level of accuracy, minus the scope. And while your squad is generally helpful, they won't always stop enemies from getting close. The Gnasher and Overkill were made for these situations.
2. Melee saves ammo
Part of surviving any Gears of War is being efficient with your ammo, which is where melee comes in. Melee kills with the Lancer are great for show, but your knife will often do the trick when your just want to clear out those pesky Juvies. Those unfortunate ex-humans are fragile enough that a single knife swipe will take them out.
3. Know which enemies require finesse and which require brute force
It can't be a Gears sequel without a handful of new enemies. It's especially dicey now that the Swarm have figured out how to possess the man-made robot soldiers known as DeeBees. We found the Stump especially troublesome due to its long-range accuracy and how often it moves, making its weak organic areas hard to target. As such, we had no issue using all our grenades and other potent weapons to get rid of them, turning an otherwise brutal firefight into a routine shootout. Conversely, you'll find some enemies move slowly enough to be perfect targets for your Longshot headshots while others, particularly bosses, simply have bright weak points you should focus on.
4. Use your environment to your advantage
The open world sections of Gears 5 are an exercise in coping with extreme weather conditions. Whether you're dealing with the harsh cold of Act II or the sand storms of Act III, there are hazards to look out for. That does mean you can use these dangers to your advantage. With a well-timed shot, you can send a hardened sand column crashing down on your enemies. The frozen water in Act II is especially useful. A single ammo round into the ice can take down a foe that would normally require multiple magazines to kill. And be mindful that due to the freezing temperatures, holes in the ice freeze up in a few seconds. Beyond the natural environment, there are many man-made traps you can use, like explosive pipes and containers, to steam generators.
5. Upgrade Jack to complement your strengths and cover your weaknesses
Jack can be a game changer depending on how you choose your upgrades based on your play style, so it pays to study what all those enhancements are. If you're addicted to executions or headshots, there are upgrades that reduces Jack's cooldown based on these kinds of kills. If you're the kind of risk taker who doesn't rely on cover as much as you should, Jack literally has you covered, within reason, thanks to his Stim armor boost and the Barrier energy shield abilities.
Two things that are great about Jack's upgrade options: you can spend components on the more potent boosts ahead of the weaker ones, provided you have enough components to spend. And if you don't like how you've customized Jack, you can always re-spec him.
6. Use Jack constantly
Don't wait until things get really hairy and the edges of your screen get red before you start to use Jack. He can be a big help when you're cornered but he's twice as beneficial when you use him proactively. Turning on the protective Barrier or Stim at the start of a firefight (or worse yet, an ambush) will allow you a moment to take in the situation and prioritize your targets. As with any Gears of War, your enemies can be tactful and patient with their use of cover. Jack's zapping and stun abilities can pull them out of cover to help move the fight along. And with a keen ear, you can hear when Jack's ability cooldown period ends, so you don't have to constantly glance at the upper left corner of the screen. By using him as much as you can, you can turn a challenging gun battle into cakewalk.
7. If Jack has to work on a door, be ready for a fight
If you've played enough action-adventure games where you have to wait for a door to open, an elevator to arrive, or a file to download, you know the drill. Jack will need a minute to open a few tightly-sealed doors which is the cue for all manner of Locust and Swarm to storm your location. Treat it like a bite-sized, single round Horde mode. Buckle down, know your surroundings, and figure out where the extra guns and ammo are. And with any luck, you'll also have a couple turrets nearby.
8. Use the skiff's weapon storage
When Gears 5 opens up in Act II, you'll be introduced to the skiff, the vehicle that will get you around the open world swiftly. Aside from being deceptively durable enough to hold four people, it is also roomy enough to carry key story items and any weapons you come across. While all mission areas are littered with enough weapons and ammo to keep you going, the skiff's two weapon slots offer the option to have your favorite firearms handy. You can even store heavier weapons like the tri-shot chaingun, assuming you're willing to spend the time hauling it to the skiff.
9. If you're a collector, look with a practical eye
From classic Gears of War collectables to Jack's component upgrades, there are a ton of pick-ups spread throughout Gears 5. The folks at The Coalition weren't especially cheeky with the placement of these items, but you do have to be thorough. Almost all the collectables are found in areas that are in line with the game's environmental storytelling. For instance, you are more likely to find components near wreckage than you will in an empty snowfield. Lastly, look behind you every time you pass a doorway; The Coalition did have a habit of placing components near those passages.
10. Put off completing main objectives in Acts 2 and 3
Open worlds in Gears 5 are a first for the series but its objective flow should be familiar to any fan of this kind of level design. Naturally, you start off with a main objective and completing it will get you closer to the next chapter. But with an open world comes a lot of optional missions. So take your time and explore the land in your skiff. Pay close attention to man made areas, particularly the small spots like lone structures and wreckage. You're sure to find something useful, or at the very least, collectable.