Gears 5 is bland and boring and Microsoft should feel bad about it

A reader insists that just because Gears 5 is a hit on Xbox One doesn’t mean it’s a good game, just that Game Pass is a good bargain.

There was a lot of talk this week about how Gears 5 has become the most played game on Xbox One, ousting Fortnite for the first time since it hit it big. That is interesting and I agree with everyone that says that Game Pass is a great idea and, hopefully, a vision of how we’ll buy games in the future. Except for perhaps the selection changing when you don’t want it to it’s an idea without any major drawbacks and, at the moment in particular, incredibly good value for money.

However, one of the interesting things about Game Pass is that a game being successful on it doesn’t necessarily mean people like it. All it means is that they downloaded it to have a look, and who wouldn’t with a big name game like Gears 5. I’m not suggesting that Gear 5 is unpopular, it’s competent enough that most people probably did enjoy it. Although I’m dubious about whether they got to the end because, in my opinion at least, it is the most boring game about shooting giant squishy monsters I’ve ever played.

I would generally agree with GC’s review of the game except I’d go further and say that the open world parts are actually completely awful and suggest the designers had no clue what they were doing or why God Of War, which is what they were so obviously copying, worked. There’s nothing in the open world except for a handful of short, completely unremarkable side missions and traversing it is totally uninteresting thanks to the dull landscapes and tedious skiff transport.

I’ve heard people say Gears 5 is one of the best-looking video games ever and I suppose maybe it is on some nerdy techy level. But despite all the details and colours it doesn’t show you anything of interest. The same half-destroyed cities as usual for Gears Of War and a snowy area and a sandy area. Except the sand is red – oh! It’s like the Isle of Wight!

There’s nothing I haven’t seen in the other four Gears Of War games or a dozen other similar games. And I can’t tell whether the developers just couldn’t think of anything else or honestly thought different coloured sand was some amazing innovation. The worst thing is the level of interactivity for the graphics – the amount they can be destroyed – is actually worse than Gears Of War 2 from over 10 years ago.

I know the problem with these old franchises is they feel they have to pander to nostalgia but it’s obvious that Microsoft thought this was going to be their Zelda: Breath Of The Wild or God Of War reboot moment. It’s nowhere close to that. There’s no new ideas, the story is a barely comprehensible middle chapter that ends for no reason, and the combat feels clunky and old-fashioned. Certainly, nowhere near the fun I had with Control recently (which also has better destruction effects).

The character of Kait almost becomes interesting at the halfway point, with the story’s big revelation, then she barely says or does anything for the rest of the game. That is probably better than most Gears Of War games, it’s true, but it’s such a low bar it hardly seems to matter.

This does not encourage me for Halo Infinite (or Fable IV) at all and I still don’t think Microsoft ‘get it’ when it comes to how important first party games are and how they need to be the best thing on the console. But then again, they’ve made Game Pass and championed backwards compatibility, so maybe it’s wrong to except every company to be good at everything.

And yes, as you might have gathered, I’ve played the whole thing so you might say I can’t have hated it that much. I did hate it quite a bit though, I can assure you of that. But whether you agree or not I’d like to make the suggestion that the real winner here is not Gears 5 but Game Pass, which continues to be the best idea Microsoft has had since ditching Kinect.

By reader Ashton Marley

The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.

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