Since the franchise's debut in 2006, Gears of War has amassed a huge fanbase, with its tight cover-based gameplay appealing to many shooter fans. The latest installment Gears 5 has landed on Xbox Gamepass, which has enabled Gamepass subscribers who might not be familiar with the series to try it out.
However, Gears of War newbies will not be able to fully appreciate everything Gears 5 has on offer, as they're some things only veterans of the series will notice. From developments and changes to the series, as well as references to the previous games, this list will make Gears of War fans nostalgic while also reminding them how far the franchise has come.
10 The COG Have Gotten A New Stylist
The COG armor in the Gears of War campaigns have usually been given a basic dark color scheme involving blacks and blues (with optional sleeves), while other colors are sometimes used, they're always worn down to fit the dark theme.
In Act 2 of Gears 5, the COG (and the developers) finally decided to shake things up as Kait and Del are decked out in a beautiful bright white armor with some fur for added warmth. Obviously there are no gameplay differences with this armor, still, it is a nice visual change for long-running players of the series.
9 Arcade Mode Avoids The Usual Gnasher Onslaught
Anyone who has played previous Gears multiplayer will know that most PvP modes were dominated by the Gnasher shotgun. Players would rodeo run around trying to get that satisfying one-hit kill with the Gnasher that's only achievable at a close range. Beyond its power, the reason why the shotgun was so widely used was due to it being a starting weapon in almost all modes.
Gears 5's heavily promoted new PvP mode 'Arcade' gives all characters separate starting loadouts, none of which include the Gnasher. Certain characters can buy the shotgun (like other power weapons) during rounds, but it never turns into an all-out Gnasher war like the other modes.
8 DeeBees Are Now Your Allies
Along with the Swarm, Gears of War 4 introduced a new enemy type in DeeBees, who are mechs created by the COG. Fans of the fourth game will notice that during Gears 5 these robots are now friends, due to Kait, JD, Marcus, etc once again being on the COG's side.
This isn't just story related either, as they actually help in a few gameplay sections too. The first time DeeBee's lend a hand is in Act 1 when coming up against a Swarm Carrier, players get to choose whether they want Tri-Shot Guardians or Tri-Shot DR-15s to back them up. There are still some mech enemies in the game, but they're being controlled by the Swarm so it's not their fault.
7 You Can Active Reload At Any Time
Active reloads are a staple of the Gears of War franchise. Experienced Gears players will know that if you time your reload right it will reload quicker, and if you time it perfectly you'll get a damage boost.
Gears 5 adds the ability to perform an active reload even when having a fully loaded gun. While it may seem like a small change, getting a perfect reload quickly (without needing to empty your gun) before facing a difficult enemy in the campaign or before fighting someone one-on-one in multiplayer, can give you the extra damage needed to give you the edge.
6 You Don't Always Need To Go Gung-ho Anymore
Not many similarities can be made between Metal Gear Solid and Gears of War, besides their popularity, great characters, and use of the word 'gear', however, Gears 5 added one more in the form of stealth. The new option to sneakily take out groups of enemies was surprising for a franchise known for its action-packed gameplay.
Skulking around avoiding the sight of Swarm infected bots or memorizing the patrols of Swarm drones adds a hint of variety to the game. These sections benefit from giving the player a choice of stealth, and not giving them the dreaded 'if you're seen, you fail' rules that some games do.
5 JACK Has Learnt Some New Tricks
"JACK, rip that door!!!" is an order barked by Marcus a lot throughout the first few games, and these sections would usually involve you having to defend JACK while he ripped said door. Opening doors was the main thing the original JACK was used for, along with helping Delta communicate with other people.
In Gears 5 the new and improved JACK contributes a lot more, being able to shock, flash and hack enemies while also being capable of cloaking and healing allies, which are just some of his powers. JACK does so much now that he is even a playable character.
4 Difficult Enemies Now Have Health Bars
The Locust, the Lambent, and the Swarm have always included members who are bigger and tougher than the rest. On harder difficulties, you can spend a long time and a lot of ammo firing into one of these tougher enemies hoping they'll eventually fall.
These enemies are no weaker in the latest installment but they now come with a handy health bar, so you can identify what weapons do the most damage to them whilst also seeing how close they're to death. Knowing whether you have time to finish off a Warden before getting beaten to death by the pack of Juvvies heading your way is really useful.
3 A Familiar Facility
*This entry contains spoilers for Act 2 of Gears 5*
During Act 2 of Gears 5, Kait, Del, and JACK travel to a facility called New Hope. Fans who have played Gears of War 2 should remember New Hope as a place that Delta Squad visited. Marcus does mention that he's been there before, but new players might not realize that the visit took place during the games.
The facility does look very different from when you were there in the 2nd game due to the snow and the Swarm. Yet it still includes things that should bring back memories of Gears of War 2 such as the creepy stasis pods being everywhere, the vicious creatures called Sires, and the annoying A.I construct known as Niles, nobody ever said they were 'happy' memories.
2 The Seriously Hard Achievement Doesn't Get Any Easier
Some new players to the series will look at Gears 5's 'Seriously 5.0 - Chapter 1' achievement and think that it seems impossible, well welcome to the club because Gears fans have been tasked with the 'Seriously...' achievements since the first game.
In the original Gears of War the achievement was just for killing 10,000 people in multiplayer ranked matches, which is nothing compared to 5.0, which includes beating the game on Insane difficulty, beating all the horde & escape maps on master difficulty, fully leveling up all horde and escape characters, getting to level 100 in multiplayer and re-upping 20 times, and reaching the rank of general in Tour of Duty. 'Seriously 5.0 - Chapter 1' keeps up the tradition of being insanely difficult and time-consuming, and the scary thing is that it's only chapter 1, so what is chapter 2 going to be?
1 Collectibles Reference Old Characters
*This entry contains Gears 5 spoilers about what happens when you find all the collectibles*
A lot of the collectibles in the franchises' latest installment are references to former characters. The helmet of Ben Carmine who died during the second game can be found in Act 2, Chapter 1, whereas his brother Anthony's can be found in Act 4, clearly identified by the giant bullet hole he received when he was shot in the head during the first game.
There are too many to name them all, but Dom and Kim are two of the others who are referenced. If you manage to find all 90 collectibles you can then go to the memorial wall in Act 4 and place the character-based ones in front of it, then a bunch of former characters will appear like stationary force ghosts.