Microsoft and The Coalition have truly delivered on the latest game in the Gears of War franchise, the simply named Gears 5. Not only does its single-player campaign deliver in spades, but it also has multiplayer that’s built to last. Between traditional content, new DLC that adds a promotional boost to the game, and some new modes, there’s a lot here for players to uncover.
In fact, it might be too much for some, as Gears 5’s general multiplayer is definitely on the competitive side. Chances are that you will die a few times before you get the hang of it. Not to worry, we’re here to help! We’ve broken down the three general components of multiplayer below, along with some tips that will help you come out on top, or at the very least help your side win a few battles. Dig in!
Horde Mode Gets a Makeover
The classic Horde Mode makes a return with Gears 5, but not quite in the way that you’d expect. While the general rules are still the same – survive waves of enemies that come at you – The Coalition has tweaked things a bit to make it more character-based than ever.
Gears 5 supports up to five people in a group, which gives you a bit of balance when it comes to covering the bases against incoming enemies. You’ll want to work closely with your team. If one member goes down, you’ll want to quickly revive them because you’re going to need every bit of firepower you can get your hands on.
As enemies are defeated in this mode, they’ll drop Power. You’ll want to pick this up, as it will help your character with upgrades and additional items. These include helpful defensive tools such as machine gun turrets and barriers laden with spikes. There are also secondary weapons you can pick up as well.
You’ll want to pile these on, as each tenth wave brings a new boss to battle. They’re going to take a lot of firepower, so the best thing we can suggest with this is to take cover often and set up your shots. They’re going to get tougher from here, so make sure you find whatever to keep yourself safe from incoming fire.
Going back to Power, you’ll want to keep an eye on the Power Tap. It can be located on the map with each wave. You’ll need to capture and defend this point to the best of your ability, as it will grant you extra Power to buy more goods.Don’t worry about a majority of Power going to another player; it’s divided up equally, so loot fiends don’t get everything to themselves.
Finally, each character actually has different attributes that can lend themselves to battle. This kind of takes the Overwatch approach, but it’s neat regardless. Kait Diaz, for example, can turn invisible and get the jump on opponents. Marcus Fenix can automatically land headshots for a limited time, mowing down incoming enemies, and JD Fenix can use an artillery strike to rain fire on unsuspecting foes. These abilities can only be used sparingly, but they’re excellent when you’re in a pinch or about to be overwhelmed.
Someone can even play as Jack if they prefer. He’s actually a great robotic character, as he can take out marked enemies and even hijack certain ones to do his bidding for a short while. Don’t let his small size fool you – he’s devastating.
Don’t forget you can pick up on Perks and Skill Cards as well. These will give you additional boosts over the course of your battle, combined with your Power. Up to four can be stored in all, and the more the merrier, especially when you’ve got adversaries that are coming at you non-stop.
Skill cards are a great booster in themselves, as you can increase certain things with your character, from melee damage to a speed push. And if you have duplicates, they can actually be given to other cards to help them along.
Overall, Horde has gone through some major upgrades, and is well worth playing, even if you think you’ve “conquered” it before. There’s a lot of great additions that both die-hard fans and newcomers will want to check out. Just make sure you have a good team on hand – you’re going to need it.
Come With Me and Escape
Speaking of a survival-based mode, it’s time to look at the latest addition to the Gears franchise: the Escape Mode. This was hinted at a few months ago, when Microsoft and The Coalition were building hype for the game.
It’s the opposite of the Horde mode. Instead of waiting for enemies to come to you, you go through their base, cleaning them out and working together as a team to blow it sky high and escape in one piece. It provides a nice twist on the proceedings, and is well worth putting a squad together for.
However, you don’t have five players to lean on here. Instead, Escape only comes with three. That means you’ll have to work more tightly with your group to keep them in one piece. If one goes down from damage, you’ll need to work much more quickly to revive them, lest you’re left behind with one less soldier and a whole bunch of foes that are angry at you for being in their house. Granted, you can find a Swarm pod and bring them back into battle – provided you can make it there. It’s nice to have an opportunity to save them the second time around, just in case you miss out.
Like Horde, Escape Mode has its own set of skills via ability cards. These become available as you level up your character, and you can fit them into slots to utilize them. The harder the difficulty you play at, the better the cards get. However, if you’re just getting started, you’ll have your hands on some good ones, such as Crazy Tough (increasing your strength for a limited time) and Bloody Shot (a nice taste of explosive firepower).
Each character also has their own perks, like Horde, but they tend to lean more towards helping the team out. For instance, take Lahni. They can push towards their foes with more attitude than other characters, giving them a boost over the competition for a limited time. Others, however, can help heal a team and even a little bit of ammunition. Take a look at the available selection and see which ones are best for you.
When you do get into battle, don’t waste ammo. You’re going to run low, along with your team, so make sure to snag whatever you can get your hands on. Some weapons work better than others for certain soldiers, so see which ones will work properly for you.
Finally, when it comes to getting the high score on the leaderboard, keep in mind that all kinds of dedicated players are getting into this Gears 5 mode. Don’t push yourself or your team too hard. Just keep at it with your headshots and “skillful” skills to get that score climbing, and find that right synchronicity as a team before you attempt to tackle the higher difficulty settings. Remember, you want your team to work with you, not against you. Jump in and give it a shot!
Finally, there’s the gamut of traditional multiplayer mode, which will no doubt be the most popular among the Gears elite. There’s a lot to dig into here, particularly with the “bonus” characters. Those who pre-ordered the game will gain access to the Halo: Reach pack, as well as the Terminator: Dark Fate pack, with Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor and a T-800 to boot. Yes, Dave Bautista, the wrestler-turned-actor, is a playable character as well. So you’ve got a lot to choose from when it comes to jumping into battle.
As usual, we’re reintroduced to modes like Team Deathmatch, King of the Hill, Escalation and Guardian, which are mainstays for this series. Then there’s Arcade, which provides a fun little twist on things, actually making the game somewhat easier for those that aren’t used to jumping into such a mode. It’s a splendid way for them to be introduced to it, should the other modes be too much to bear.
As for how to survive in multiplayer, there are a few general rules to keep in mind. These will make all the difference between life and death, particularly with the close-range fire that the series has become known for.
First off, you’ll want to master the movement of your character. This means using the defensive roll to get out of harm’s way quickly, as well as scrambling to cover. The cover mechanic is more crucial than ever in a game like this, especially with those that are trying to fire at you from a distance. Remember, you can “hug” the walls if you need to find a new vantage point, or jump over from one cover point to another if you feel like it’s getting a little too hot for its own good.
Just don’t stand in place. This is likely to be a fool’s mistake because it makes you an easy target for cannon fire. Instead, use running to your advantage and put yourself in a spot where you can set up shots without making yourself a simple target to mow down. It’ll take practice, but Arcade Mode is a wondrous place to start if you want to get the hang of things.
You may also notice that you now have Active Reload. This lets you reload your weapon at any time, even if you think you already have a full clip. As with before, Gears 5 utilizes a double-touch system. You start the reload by pressing the button, but then you’ll want to hit it again while the cursor is in the white zone, so you can finish it quickly. If you don’t, you’re going to be stuck for a couple of seconds completing the reload, and that’s a real difference maker when you’ve got someone coming at you with Gnasher.
Along with movements and reloads, you’ll also want to get the hang of sticking very closely with your team. Wandering away will make you an easy target to enemies, especially if you’re got two or more coming at you. By staying together as a squad, you stand a better chance of survival, since someone can easily “get your back” while you reload, or you can set up some kind of ambush, with someone coming around the other side.
You’re also able to “mark” certain enemies or objects, in case you want to shot off something significant to your teammates in the team of battle. Not everyone can shout out an enemy location, but marking it makes it simpler to see where they need to go, or where a threat could be lying.
Blindfire can make a difference as well. While in cover, you have the option to fire without sticking your head out. Half the time, you may not hit anything, since it’s not the most accurate. However, blindfire can serve other purposes, like doing some damage to an enemy if they’re within your range, or perhaps even distracting someone long enough for one of your teammates to come running around to clean house.
Finally, don’t be afraid to use other weapons besides your guns. We’ve discovered that the Lancer is ideal for sawing someone in half, provided you aren’t charging at someone to the point they’re clearly seeing it. If you’re able to gain an advantage to where someone can’t see you coming, then sure, activate your Lancer and go nuts (you can also blast with a Gnasher, it’s up to you, but there’s something rad about nailing that melee kill).
For that matter, grenades are awesome. They deliver a bigger bang than in previous games and with a decent amount of range. If you’ve got a couple, go ahead and hurl them out when you think you’ve got your enemies pinned. At the very least, if you don’t get them with the explosion, they’ll roll out of the way long enough to put them within firing range.
These general tips should help you get accustomed to the multiplayer modes that are featured in Gears 5. You’ll still need to apply plenty of skill to get the most out of it, but you’ve got ways to build up in Horde and Escape. Arcade Mode will also help you get accustomed to the multiplayer like never before. Give it a shot!
Gears 5 is available now for Xbox One and Windows 10 PC.
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