Bullets whistle over our heads, and at the same time, nearby, we can hear a familiar rumbling voice shouting “BOOM” followed by huge explosions. To make matters worse, too many Wretchers are bouncing alarmingly close and the feeling of panic rises more and more. How can we get out of here alive? The answer, of course, is to take a deep breath, prepare a delicious cup of coffee, eat some chocolate chip cookies and come back later to make a tactical decision.
See, time is your friend when you play this Xcom-inspired Gears of War . We especially liked the concept when Gears Tactics was first announced, although it seemed a little unimaginative. So after receiving a closer presentation of the game from the Splash Damage developers, our hype levels have gone up a lot. This is a game that deserves better than being simply dismissed as Xcom-Gears – it has some really new ideas to offer.
The most obvious new idea goes against what is now established in a genre – populated by the likes of Xcom 2 , Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle and Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden – in which we are used to limiting ourselves to using a grid for trace our movements. In Gears Tactics , however, we can move our troops around with maximum freedom on the map without any limitation. Likewise, Splash Damage has completely removed the two-stage system which usually causes you to move and then attack. Instead, you have three actions per character per round – and how you distribute these actions is up to you.
If you need to advance, you can spend all three actions on the move, and if you are in the middle of a pitched battle, perhaps it is better to shoot and throw grenades with these three actions. There’s also a feature called Overwatch, which allows you to save the actions left for a character, using them instead to attack enemies during their round. If you save all three, you will shoot many times if the enemies pass by you. On the other hand, if no one passes, you simply wasted the whole round of the character for nothing …