The Gears 5 multiplayer tech test is finally here, and it started out rather rough. The first day it basically didn’t work at all, with only Arcade barely functioning. Late at night, or well towards the early morning of the next day the ranked playlists started becoming something you could connect into.
In this test they have the quickplay Arcade, Ranked King of the Hill and Ranked Escalation. I’ll be going over the first two modes as I’ll have another article for the last one at a later time. Prior to jumping in, I will note that I appreciate the work the teams did to get the game running after the rough starting point.
I get that these tests are meant to make sure things run well, but I’m surprised that a Gears of War title wasn’t smooth in its early form. They also probably weren’t ready for the rush of how open this was in terms of Game Pass, pre-orders and the other forms of entry for it from Xbox One and Windows 10 PC players.
The Arcade quickplay option seems to be a good selection for a more casual player. It features frantic action with random weapon buying as you play. There are character classes which feels a bit silly, and they have specific weapons.
This creates a weird sense of unbalanced play at times, not something this franchise is known for. It’s weird going against someone with a Gnasher when you have a lancer, there’s no chance. The on the fly weapon purchasing is neat, and that’s about all I can say for this one. I’d play it with people wanting a casual time in Gears, but I certainly won’t touch it aside from bonuses for playing it.
I will take this time to mention some notes on the overall gameplay. It seems a bit more viscous in terms of damage, deaths are fast. I am slightly annoyed by the delay for showing regular play after a death. It glitches for a second when a killcam is about to play, that’s generally what I mean. That’s right, Gears now has killcams which I don’t mind. Weapons in your special tactical vision now have timers, and they mostly went faster for game speed. The core gameplay is basically Gears of War 4, but sleeker.
You now get damage indicators while shooting, this is helpful. You can see the bucks hitting their targets, very interesting. The melee system is the biggest change to me, chainsawing is now “RB” with “B” being a knife melee. This aspect will really change how close quarters is handled and it will take some time to get used to.
When it comes to the mighty King of the Hill game type, things are largely the same. This is great, it’s an iconic ring based mode in the franchise that doesn’t need tweaking. You’ll battle for the rings and rotate around the map once a ring time is used up, simple and competitive. I found the spawning to be solid on the maps present, and was quite happy with how the mode has carried over.
The maps are the final aspect of the test to go over. There are two new ones, the first is a training facility area called “Training Grounds”. It takes place below the legendary remains of the House of Sovereigns. I’m not typically a fan of the robotic aesthetic in the last game, and in this one. That being said, it does flow fairly well with neat drop options for surprise attacks. It’s also surprisingly open in its layout, with some small tight areas.
The second map is the clear standout being called “District”. It’s a fancy new urban area featuring tighter lanes that lead into a more open combat space. It features elevated positions, and a really awesome atmosphere. It also features lots of depth in terms of the realistic world, and stores it presents. There was a grocery store you could run through, you could view posters for movies on the wall or visit the arcade from a distance. It feels like these maps in general have a greater sense of scale with their backdrops, and a greater sense of detail within them.
That’s the Gears 5 tech test thus far, a rocky start but it’s cleaned up and provided some exciting new ways to play. Aside from Arcade, really don’t care for that at all quite honestly. You can read our preview of the Escape mode from E3 below, or check out the franchise hub for additional coverage on the series.
Read our Gears 5 Escape Preview
View our Gears of War Hub