Thanks to Game Pass, there are many who have their hands on Gears 5 now, and soon, everyone else will be able to play it as well. And in case you hadn’t heard, it’s pretty damn good. Not just because it delivers the tight and weighty combat you expect from the series, but also because it tries a lot of new stuff, and does most of it really well.
As you begin your journey of uncovering Kait’s mysterious past, in this feature, we’ll be listing a few basic tips and tricks that we feel will be pretty helpful for you while you’re playing through Gears 5’s campaign. Without further ado, let’s jump right in.
Jack the bot playing a much more involved role in combat is perhaps the best change Gears 5 makes, with his abilities having an actual, tangible impact on the flow of firefights. One of his most useful abilities is Stim, which only continues to get more useful the more you upgrade it. At first, it provides an armour boost, and it can actually be really useful in fights. The final upgrade for Stim is called Revive, and makes it so that Jack automatically revives downed teammates, which is probably one of the most useful abilities in the entire game. All of which is to say, investing in Stim early on isn’t a bad idea.
Flash is one of Jack’s earlier abilities, but it’s one that you’ll find is very useful throughout the entire campaign. There are often times when you’ll find enemies hiding behind cover far away from you or in tricky angles in Gears 5’s much larger combat arenas. Sending Jack out to flashbang them and make them stand up in a stunned state is often a great strategy. Flash Freeze, the Ultimate upgrade for this ability, freezes those enemies, making them even more vulnerable, so be on the lookout for the upgrade.
Pulse starts out as a regular, run-off-the-mill “show me everything of interest that’s in the area” ability, but you’re going to want to be on the lookout for the Ultimate upgrade to this ability. Called Marked for Death, every enemy that you spot using Pulse takes 20% more damage for a while. Using this move in boss fights or against larger enemies is heavily recommended, especially since Pulse’s cooldown isn’t too big either.
Cloak is yet another one of Jack’s abilities, and as its name suggests, it makes you and your squad invisible for a short duration. Not only is this a great tool for when you’re trying to utilize stealth (more on this in a bit), it’s also recommended that you use this in the middle of fights to make enemies lose track of you. This will allow you to flank enemies, get in better positions, get past things like turrets, and maybe even get better shots at certain enemies with weak points in very specific places.
YOU CAN RESPEC JACK
If you ever feel like the components you’ve been using to upgrade Jack aren’t bearing much fruit and would have been better spent on other upgrades, don’t worry too much- you can respec Jack whenever you want, and you can do it for no additional cost at all. In fact, if you ever find yourself stuck at a certain fight or against a certain boss, respecing Jack is the first thing you should do- you never know which one of his abilities might completely turn things around for you.
Gears 5 is still all about out-and-out combat, but for the first time ever in the series, you can start fights on your terms now, rather than being throw into them without any say in the matter. The stealth mechanics in the game are rudimentary at best, but they can be pretty effective. Whenever you get the chance, take out as many unaware enemies as possible before starting a proper shootouts to make things a bit smoother for yourself. The previously mentioned Cloak ability is also quite handy in these situations.
Tagging a specific enemy for your squadmates to see is by no means a radical new addition, but if used smartly, it can be very useful. Firefights in Gears 5 ca be very hectic, with dozens of enemies barrelling down at you at the same time. Often, one or two of these enemies might be one of the big boys, the really, really beefy ones that require all your attention. In this situations, tagging those enemies to make your squadmates focus your fire on them is a huge help. Either you can all focus on the big guys and take them out first, or your squadmates can keep them distracted while you take out the grunts and rookies. Either way, it’s a huge help.
Melee in Gears 5 is surprisingly useful. This isn’t just referring to the Lancer’s chainsaw- this being the sixth Gears game, of course we know that’s useful. No, just a pure and simple melee attack is also pretty effective, and takes out a significant chunk of many enemies’ health. In close quarters, it can be quite handy. Especially on enemies like Juvies – who go down in one hit – or DeeBee Rejects – who’re pretty strong against bullets but quite weak to melee attacks.
Environmental awareness plays a much bigger role in Gears 5 than in previous games, and not just because some of the combat arenas are quite large, with several flanking and/or sniping opportunities. Always be on the lookout for exploding barrels – a staple, of course. Or better yet, if you spot enemies walking on ice, shoot that ice out from under them to make them drop into the water below, finishing them off instantly. Shooting ice and creating a gap between yourself and enemies can also be a great way to keep advancing enemy types at bay for a precious few seconds.
Exploration and Gears haven’t really been the best of friends in the past, but things are different this time around. Even if we’re talking just about the main mission areas and not the open world, there’s usually room for plenty of exploration, and it’s a good idea to not ignore it. Components for upgrading Jack can be found in many nooks and crannies, while there are also plenty of collectibles, which do a surprisingly good job of world-building and deepening the lore.
Relic Weapons are special variants of certain weapons, which come with buffs to make them more effective, and can also be upgraded to make them eve deadlier in combat. That said, they’re also incredibly rare. When you’re exploring and playing, be on the lookout for the recognizable Gears of War Crimson Omen symbol in the environment. If you spot one on a wall or on a rock or some other place, there’s a Relic Weapon close by.
You might be tempted to ignore the side quests in Gears 5 and just beeline it through the main story, but we wouldn’t recommend it. For starters, they’re a lot of fun- but they also yield interesting rewards. You can find extra components to upgrade Jack in side quest areas and levels, but more importantly, these side quests also reward players with Ultimate upgrades for Jack’s abilities, which, as we’ve discussed, are extremely useful.
The skiff will be your best friends in Acts 2 and 3 of Gears 5, as you explore the game’s open world environments, but it’s useful for more than just traversal. Players can also stow two weapons onto the skiff, so if you ever spot a heavy weapon like a Mulcher, or a Relic Weapon, stow it into the skiff right away so you can use it at a later time.
Gears 5 introduces many new enemy types, but one of the best and more interesting is the Flock. The Flock is exactly what its name suggests- it’s a flock of Swarm leeches, who fly and zip about erratically. Due to their movement and the large amounts of punishment they can take before they finally go down, they can be an especially tricky enemy to contend with. The trick is to always keep moving. Use Pulse’s Marked for Death ability to make the Flock a little more vulnerable, use heavy weapons if you can find them, but always, always keep moving.
The Warden is yet another new enemy type, a huge, lumbering beast with completely impenetrable skin, and both hands holding large, deadly maces. Not only does the Warden have a ton of health, it also only takes damage (or any significant damage at any rate) from headshots. So when you see one, shoot its helmet off first and foremost. Also try to put some distance between yourself, and if you have a long range weapon, like the Longshot or the Markza MK1, use those.