Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.
Gears Of War is a juggernaut: Microsoft have made tons of money from it, critics have heaped praise on almost everything (including Judgement) with COGs on the box, and fans love it so much that they often get horrible tattoos of the logo all over their bodies.
So, why is there a contingent of people, who I assume are devoid of the ability to experience happiness for even five minutes, ready to pipe up with something like, “Well, actually, Gears Of War is mindless bullshit,” whenever the series is brought up. Granted, as a story, it’s probably not on the same level as whatever 18th century author you just had to Google so you can look well intelligent. Or the Yakuza games. But, joyless husk strawman (and hopefully not the person reading this article), have you considered this: Gears Of War is great, actually.
Gears 5 has everything people have enjoyed since the original game: tight shooting, an over-the-top narrative, and manky-looking baddies that are just asking to be exploded. The introduction of open-world areas wasn’t a complete knockout, because large sections of those chapters were pretty empty, but they served their purpose as a way to break up the linear action. But, if you know anything about Gears, you know most of that already. You’re well aware it’s celebrated as a fantastic shooter with big burly folks burling every burly non-human folk they come across. Whenever I think of Gears 5, I remember the detail in its world.
Whether we’re talking about grand outdoor areas or claustrophobic interiors, Gears 5 is among the most gorgeous video games ever. Even if you haven’t played it, you can feel the visual oomph from screenshots alone. But, it’s about the little things that fill this world, for me. As well as a hotel’s rota on the notice board, or food orders hanging from the prep station at a restaurant’s kitchen, the signs in the theatre showcase how far the series has come since 2006.
If you’re unaware, since becoming lead developer on Gears, The Coalition have made a concerted effort to make the series accessible to as many people as they can. There’s a whole host of options available to vision- and hearing-impaired players, making it one of the most accessible video games you can play.
It’s something you could easily run past on your way to the next waist-high wall gun party, but there’s a bit in Gears 5 where you’re in a theatre, and every room in this theatre has a sign outside saying what the room is for, in both English, and in braille. The fact The Coalition took the time to reflect its inclusive outlook inside the world of their actual game has always stuck with me. It’s an attention to detail that you don’t see every day.
So, once more for those in the back: Gears Of War is great, actually.