Unbiased Review: Gears Tactics, Not the Gears You Know

Gears of War makes an entry into the turn based world.

Microsoft has pulled the old trick once again, releasing Gears Tactics as their turn based game spinning off of the Gears of War world. A little different than how they created Halo Wars as a real time strategy game. Many compare Gears Tactics directly to X-COM.

Gameplay

The Gears of War franchise has largely used almost the exact same gameplay mechanics since 2006 with its original installment. I found myself losing interest after heavily playing GoW2 and a little of GoW3. Gears tactics brings a very refreshing and much needed break from the typical third person shooter style.

This game is immediately enjoyable from the start. I started the game in normal mode and it definitely has a great difficulty balance off the bat, you will easily die if you don’t actually put some thought into your moves.

Each character has a certain number of action moves they can pull each turn, such as shooting, reloading, healing, or tossing nades. They also have an interesting mechanic called overwatch, in which your characters (or enemies) can cover an area and shoot at anyone that moves through it.

Playing this game gave me flashbacks to Fire Emblem: Three Houses, which I had beaten a little while ago. You have a set of main characters, and along with them, you can recruit a rotating pool of soldiers as well. There’s also a mix of classes such as support, heavy, sniper, etc.

There is no grid system that you have to move your characters through, which makes the game feel very fluid and open. You will also be using the good old signature GoW slide into cover pretty much every move, which is as satisfying here as it is in third person (so is the chainsaw).

Gears Tactics Trailer

Visuals

The game surprised me with how they blend the bird’s eye view with third person action views. I thought the graphics would be dumbed down like how most strategy games are, but when action scenes are shown, it looks almost exactly like a regular Gears game.

There were times where I thought to myself, “oh the animators/designers definitely cheaped out here, like when I chainsawed someone in the upper body and somehow his legs fall off instead, or when you rescue someone from a torture chamber and he looks fully intact and healthy. But nothing was bad enough to subtract from the experience, I just chuckled to myself and kept playing. Attention to detail is not this game’s strong suite.

This game can push your PC pretty hard; I am running it at 1440p, 144hz on ultra. It looks wonderful and as a PC player, I couldn’t ask for more.

TLDR

If you like strategy games or are a Gears of War player – don’t sleep on this title. I am thoroughly enjoying this and I would recommend it. The combat is surprisingly fluid and the level design is excellent in providing a challenge. Everything that was satisfying in a regular Gears game is still satisfying here – chainsaws, headshots, explosions, sliding around, etc.

You can get Gears Tactics on Steam, but I would recommend getting the Xbox/PC Game Pass from Microsoft for a much lower price.

Phantasy Star Online 2 releases on PC in North America May 27

Nearly eight years after the original release in Japan, the party is just getting started

Sega and Microsoft’s collaboration brings Phantasy Star Online 2 (PSO2) to PC in North America on May 27 through the Microsoft Store. PSO2 is a popular free-to-play sci-fi MMORPG that originally released exclusively in Japan on July 4, 2012.

In coordination with the PC release, virtual singers Hatsune Miku and Megurine Luka will be having concerts throughout the week. Head on over to the official PSO2 website to find the idols’ schedule. Expect more details leading up to the PC release. Sega will most likely dive into how cross-play will function and if there will be any kind of cross-progression.

Check out the announcement trailer for PSO2’s journey to the west below and stick around right here at Gamer Bias for future PSO2 announcements!

Source: Phantasy Star Online 2

Unbiased Review: The Forest in 2020

Currently still among the top played games on Steam, The Forest is quite a unique title that I’ve had the pleasure of playing the last couple weeks. This title was released all the way back in 2014 as an early access game, but has since received many major updates from the devs and got a full release in 2018, which made it to consoles as well. So let’s talk about game play in 2020.

Graphics
This games look quite stunning on high. I can achieve 144 fps quite easily, so optimization is solid. If you take some time to look around, it is quite immersive. Trees and foliage look fantastic and I have no complaints on the models or textures. I do have one friend who keeps crashing or getting a permanent black screen, but I’m going to just credit that to poor PC building skills (or drivers).

Game play
This is an open world survival horror game. What does that mean? It means gather food, build shelter, fend off zombies/mutants/cannibals and explore caves. The game stays pretty ambiguous and you uncover little clues while exploring the game, which makes the experience that much better. There are a ton of little touches that make the game as good as it is. Even your inventory is not an ugly 2D screen with boxes, it opens as an entire interactive 3D spread of all your items where you can drag them around to craft new items. Your menu where you select items to build or view stats, is a little book that you pull out, which I thought was amazing.

A spooky moment and Inventory

Gathering resources is always a tedious task in any game, but The Forest manages to make it a little interesting by allowing you to craft items to help, like sleds to pull many logs, or zip lines and elevator cranes. You can really build out an intricate base and get pretty creative with it. If building bases isn’t really your thing, that’s OK too. There are items that fit the nomad play style just as well, such as temporary tents and small fires. Just hunt for food as you go instead of growing crops.

The main objective here is to explore caves and find more clues to Timmy’s whereabouts (a kid gone missing after an accident). A simple task, but with the whole survival thing in between to make it very interesting. The game excels in creating an immersive and spooky environment. They don’t rely on cheap jump scare tactics to achieve the horror effect, but instead use legitimate ambiance and world behavior to keep you on your toes. The enemies evolve and the AI keeps their behavior adapting to you as well.

Overall
A very fun game with a few friends. You can host up to 8 friends in one game, maybe even more with some mods, but I think 3 to 5 is plenty for a good time. The game has a few weird glitches here and there, but it definitely adds to the goofy and fun moments; I wouldn’t have it any other way. There are moments where the game is peaceful and laid back, and also moments of adrenaline when encountering new foes. As you progress you’ll keep discovering new items and mechanics you can use. Although I felt a little weird chopping off limbs and body parts to build effigies, or picking up animal heads, it quickly became second nature, as soon as I got a kill, I was hacking away at limbs – gotta collect them resources.

Fun times