Xbox Game Studios is excited about it’s next game in the Gears of War universe, Gears Tactics coming to Windows 10 PC, Steam, and Xbox Game Pass for PC on April 28th. This game takes a break from the traditional third-person shooter and introduces tactical strategy combined with a narrative as players work to complete their missions.
Xbox Wire had a chance to get their hands on this game pre-launch and see what they’ve said about it.
On the surface, the Gears of War franchise doesn’t immediately scream “strategy,” as you survive moment to moment, cover to cover, reload to active reload. But when you look at some of the top strategy games out there, Gears fans’ may find many familiar elements; battlefields rife with chest-high cover, the importance of positioning to flank or get off a shot without exposing yourself, and stakes so high that a single mistake may find you reloading from a checkpoint. I must confess that while playing through recent genre standouts like XCOM 2, Mutant Year Zero, even Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle, I’ve found myself thinking “there’s a bit of Gears in here!”
Let’s talk Tactics: most missions see you deploying a quartet of Gears to the battlefield, choosing from an ever-expanding roster of Heavies, Scouts, Vanguards, Snipers, and Support units. Each character takes three actions per turn, which can be split amongst shooting, moving, and using skills in any way you like. Move, shoot, reload – that can be your turn. Dig in and shoot multiple times – that works too. Or sprint long-distance across the battlefield into cover… you’ve got the freedom to act however you need to, as there is no grid in Gears Tactics. Those skills, by the way, are very Gears – if a Drone gets too close, that Lancer has a chainsaw for a reason (one hit kill!). Powerful melee moves, Support heals, and grenades of various types are moderated by cooldowns to ensure you can’t spam your way to victory.
Gears Tactics brings a unique twist to these actions. If you’re playing defensively and go into overwatch with all your turns banked, you can take up to three shots at enemies who cross your sights on their turn. Conversely, executing a down-but-not-out enemy with a showy finisher inspires your teammates to take an extra action in the current turn. Gears Tactics is a game in which intelligent aggression swings momentum in your favor; a moment of inspiration can take you from being hopelessly pinned down to mopping up stragglers in a single turn.
Once your objective is achieved, your troops return to their convoy, a mobile base of operations where you can level up, open equipment cases you find on the battlefield, recruit and customize troops, and gear up for your next mission. I spent a lot of time in the convoy, sorting through mods for weapons, and deliberating on where to spend ability points on a (very extensive) skill tree unique to each class. You can even customize the appearance of all your troops and their gear, the better to help them pop on the battlefield.
Despite the transition from an in-your-face shooter to a higher-altitude strategic view, your Gears’ key actions are conveyed in close-up sequences that show the brutality of the world of Sera. This, coupled with the familiar report of the Lancer, the meaty clacks of a reloading Longshot, and fully realized cutscenes means Gears Tactics feels like a Gears game. If strategy games previously saw you running for cover, Gears Tactics may be the one to change your mind.
We are excited to get our hands on this game and share our thoughts as well. Stay tuned to Gaming Trend for our coverage and for all your gaming news.