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.

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