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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
There are times when you must risk everything to save the world. There are also times when you must bend the rules, or even ignore them, to save the world or to do what's right by your friends. It's also important to help one another, even if it puts you at risk of being hurt.
Positive Role Models
Our heroes are once again trying to save the world, but doing so in the most violent way possible. One character is also trying to solve the mystery of her past, and while not everyone's on her side, many of her friends support her and are willing to risk their own lives to help her. Players also have to help one another when they get knocked down.
Ease of Play
The game's controls will be familiar to fans of this series and similar games, but newcomers will need time to get used to them. Thankfully, it features multiple difficulty options, and has a training mode that will help new players learn the basics. This may not help if you play one of the competitive online modes against people who've played the previous games.
Violence & Scariness
Players use a variety of guns, explosives, and execution movies, as well as a chainsaw, to kill humanoid enemies and other creatures, resulting in copious amounts of blood, gore, and dismemberment. The game includes an option to turn off the gore.
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Dialog includes frequent swearing like "a--hole," "b-ich," "f--k" and "s--t," though it also has an option to not include them as well.
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Products & Purchases
Players earn in-game currency for the online modes by playing, and this currency can be used in the in-game store to purchase playable characters, visual modifications for the guns, characters, and other in-game items, as well as emotes and other items. In-game currency can also be purchased with real money. This is the latest game in a long-running franchise that also includes books, comics, and other items.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Gears 5 is a third-person shooter for the Xbox One and Windows PCs. Players use guns and explosives to kill monsters and humanoid enemies, can perform optional execution moves on them, and even cut them up with a chainsaw. All of which results in tons of blood, gore, and dismemberment, though there's an option to turn off the gore. Similarly, the dialog includes frequent swearing such as "s--t," a--hole," "bitch," and "f--k," though there's an option to exclude them as well. That said, online communication between players isn't monitored. The game is the sixth installment of a long-running series that also includes mobile games, novels, comics, t-shirts, action figures, and other branded items. In the multiplayer modes, players can use in-game currency they either earn or buy in the store to purchase playable characters, visual modifications, and other items.
Is It Any Good?
Like every game in this third-person sci-fi shooter series, this new installment is as exciting and engaging as it is explosive. In Gears 5, Kait has to figure out why her past is giving us such headaches, sometimes literally, while she and the rest of Delta Squad continue to fight the human-hating Swarm. In the story-driven campaign, this takes you to more open areas where you can explore and complete side tasks, though never to the point of making this a Fallout 4-esque role-playing game. You also get some assistance from your robot, Jack, who automatically electrocutes your enemies, and can be told to use offensive and defensive skills such as a helpful radar-like scanner and a blinding flash. Still, it's the shooting that stands out, and in that regard the story mode gives familiar play: frantic firefights against tough enemies who both understand and test your knowledge of flanking and ducking for cover.
Gears 5 also boasts numerous competitive online modes with the campaign. Along with the usual online competitive modes, this adds "Arcade Deathmatch," which is supposed to be for newcomers and casual players, but the addition of character-specific skills and the ability to buy otherwise unavailable weapons mid-match makes it feel like a more elaborate version of "Team Deathmatch." Similarly, the co-op survival mode "Horde," in which you and four teammates have to survive waves upon waves of enemies, also juices things up by giving characters rechargeable special abilities, but that doesn't change much. Instead, the best addition to the game's online slate is "Escape," in which you and two other people have to shoot your way out of an enemy hive where you just planted a gas bomb. While this may sound like it becomes redundant, it's actually nicely varied thanks to some interesting gameplay modifiers and hives that are elaborate and have an assortment of enemies. Thanks to all these additions and changes, Gears 5 is easily both one of the better games in this series and one of the best games of the year.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.