Thoughts on Gears Going More Open?

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#1 Posted by GleasonRyan (318 posts) -

Was watching a gameranx video where they go over the changes of Gears 5 vs 4 and one of the things was Gears is going more open world compared to what Gears has always been for the single-player. What is everyone's thoughts on this? I personally wish it would just stay like the traditional Gears SP as every game is starting to be come wide open 80 hour long stories and I just don't need that from my Gears of War.

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#2 Posted by fauxical (81 posts) -

I recently played and finished Gears 4 less than a month ago on Game Pass and while I did enjoy it I felt the gameplay was still too familiar from the very original we played in 2006. I could see where they were going with trying to add some diversity to the gameplay such as those horde mode bits in the campaign but I didn't care much for it. I think it's bold but necessary to take new risks from time to time and I guess we will see how it turns out here.

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#3 Posted by nutter (2394 posts) -

I love all the Gears games. That said, if the team wants to deviate, let them deviate.

I’d rather there be investment and excitement than this be a product that gets churned out.

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#4 Posted by nutter (2394 posts) -

@fauxical: My only issue with Horde in campaign is that it felt a little more like a design requirement than something that fit into the world.

You could feel the Horde tutorial vibes and it was jarring and distracting from the overall campaign.

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#5 Posted by BoOzak (2681 posts) -

I've glanced over some reviews and it seems to be more open in the same way Uncharted 4 was more open, I could be wrong though. Either way I get what you mean about everything going open world but I feel like there have been enough Gears games to justify some changes to the formula.

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#6 Edited by NTM (11903 posts) -

I don't mind it. You just have to understand what it's going for and not assume it's trying to be GTA or Far Cry. The complaints come from looking at the open-world as bare with nothing to do in them, so you're left with an open area just to go from side mission or main mission to side or main mission with nothing in between. I'm currently playing the game and just reached the snow place actually, so so far the idea doesn't bother me; I don't know about execution. To be honest, speaking in general about the game, it's a much better game than four was. That said at some point I was hitting some pretty major bugs that stopped my progress and made me restart an entire level twice. Aside from that, it's a really good game so far and I'm happy Gears is back after what I considered to be a pretty boring four.

Actually, I have some quibbles about how the story has gone so far, only in one or two instances mind you, but they're issues nonetheless. It's mainly how some of it doesn't make sense like a character reacting or knowing stuff when they shouldn't, or the reasoning for characters being mad at one another when the actual reason doesn't go into any real depth so it kind of falls flat. Something like that. I'd be playing it right now if I didn't have a few other things on my mind. I'm surprised they could do what they do on a technical level, while on the other hand, it disappoints me that they didn't just enhance four in the same way. I'm not sure if they could have though.

Edit - Oh, and I will add that I still don't really care for the new characters in Gears. I'm still really early in the game so things can change, but any time an old character comes into it (like Cole with his enthusiasm in the face of danger) it brings a smile to my face. In four, and to an extent in this too, it's what I would consider pretty cliche for character relationships and the dialogue pushes it forward, so you kind of know what they're going to say before they say it. I don't hate the characters, I just think they're kind of dull. I hope that changes.

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#7 Posted by null_subject (152 posts) -

@ntm said:

I'm surprised they could do what they do technically, while on the other hand, it disappoints me they didn't just enhance four in the same way. Not sure if they could have though.

I agree with pretty much everything you've said, but I'm a little confused by this part. Could you restate that differently for me? Are you talking about the visuals?

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#8 Posted by Humanity (19041 posts) -

@ntm: I've read the progress bugs are tied to the online component being currently unstable because of course the single player campaign is tied to the online servers. I've likewise hit the bug three times now where the saving progress icon spins indefinitely and once it just plain crashed the game setting me back a good 20 minutes. I've had to re-do one segment three times until it gave me a prompt to continue. I've had the game stop registering inputs after I brought up the Xbox guide. Surpried all these issues are present considering it's such a big name release but Microsoft has not had a great track record with launch days.

As for the open zones. I'm in the snowy area from the QL and it feels a little forced without bringing much to the table. If you want your game to be open world then you should design it that way. I don't think Gears ever benefited from branching pathways, much less open quest zones - it's like a big Hollywood action movie that keeps on going forward, building momentum with each chapter and this puts the breaks on an evolving story in a big way. Having to mechanically go from one side mission to the other with absolutely nothing in between seems largely pointless. I always defended the open world choice in Mafia 2 because there you at least had a city which acted as a backdrop for the historical time period. You couldn't do much in it but it helped get you in the mood. In Gears 5 there is nothing like that going on - thus far. It's just a big snowy lake, it adds nothing but time to your game clock for having to ride over to a checkmark on the map. I assume it's also meant to feed into the Jack upgrade system, something that I also could have done without to be honest.

Maybe these will get more interesting later on. Maybe they will have a bit more story to them than just a frozen lake with trees. I certainly hope so. Act 2 already opens up with a forced walk around section that doubles as a hamfisted introduction to the political zeitgeist of the Gears world (hey not everyone loves the troops! Government isn't always great!) and it drags on for way too long. I hope this isn't a trend that continues in the campaign because moving around outside of combat has never been all that fun in Gears.

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#9 Posted by ThePanzini (752 posts) -

Gears 4 was a very well made boring game. I wish the Coalition would be bolder, the open area's in Gears 5 are pretty much dead empty space and every point of interest has an upgrade point for Jack, but they do mix things up and despite being poorly/bare minimum they are much needed additions.

Gears 5 open area's are structured very much like Uncharted 4 but the latter uses its open area's in between linear levels to break up the pace, also U4 has the winch so you interact with the world while navigating it helps make the world feel alive especially with wild life and rivers. Gears 5 opens up with a tundra then moves to the desert it almost feels like a snow colour pallet swap.

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#10 Posted by North6 (1197 posts) -

Gears has never done much for me in the past, I'm hoping mixing this up will draw me in.

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#11 Posted by nateandrews (112 posts) -

Just finished the game this morning. I found the two open world areas to be pretty enjoyable as a deviation from the standard Gears structure. This series has never given players any time to just exist in a place, and while the two areas certainly aren't brimming with life or towns or anything like that, they do fit in a lot of dialogue between the characters about the world, its history, and current events. I've always liked the story in these games so I thought it was interesting. Mileage may vary of course. Plus that skiff is just really satisfying to drive.

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#12 Posted by conmulligan (1961 posts) -

This might be the buggiest campaign experience I've had in years. I'm only in chapter 1, but so far I've lost progress multiple times (sometimes being set back multiple checkpoints), had game-breaking bugs where door prompts don't appear, and had the game lock up more than once. I hope they get it sorted soon because the game is otherwise really enjoyable.

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#13 Edited by Humanity (19041 posts) -

@conmulligan: I recently hit the guide button to record a short clip on my xbox and the game signed me out of my account on the xbox level and then quit back to the lobby menu. It really is bizarre.

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#14 Posted by nateandrews (112 posts) -

@humanity: @conmulligan Obviously this is anecdotal but taking my Xbox One offline solved all of these problems for me. The campaign must be interacting with their busted network services in a strange way, as you said.

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#15 Posted by Humanity (19041 posts) -

@humanity: @conmulligan Obviously this is anecdotal but taking my Xbox One offline solved all of these problems for me. The campaign must be interacting with their busted network services in a strange way, as you said.

Yah I played today for a long while with my xbox offline and never experienced any issues.

This is the first time I've played in offline mode and it's real weird how they don't even let you view achievements when you're not connected to the internet. Like 3/4 of your typical options are greyed out. Store and GamePass I get, but being able to track like kills in campaign or something seems like you should be able to still see, and yet that entire tab is just not available for viewing. Likewise achievements don't pop until you connect back to the internet even for single player content. Kinda weird but the Xbox is a weird ass console.

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#16 Posted by conmulligan (1961 posts) -

@humanity said:

@nateandrews said:

@humanity: @conmulligan Obviously this is anecdotal but taking my Xbox One offline solved all of these problems for me. The campaign must be interacting with their busted network services in a strange way, as you said.

Yah I played today for a long while with my xbox offline and never experienced any issues.

Thanks, I'll try this tonight!

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#17 Posted by NTM (11903 posts) -

@null_subject: Thought that might be confusing after I re-read it myself when I posted but didn't edit it. Yep, I mean the visual/technical side of it.

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#18 Edited by NTM (11903 posts) -

@humanity: Yep, that's what happened to me too and it just stops any scripted events in their tracks or puts me into a place off the map (like inside a building I can't get out of). This all happened in the part where you go back to the rift worm. After the second time it happened and I restarted the game, it also had trouble loading in the main menu (it was just much slower than normal) so that itself told me it had to do with online which is somewhat surprising and disappointing. It's dumb that the campaign is connected to online, it's not that stable on their part it seems. I haven't played it since I posted the last comment, but I'll jump back into it tonight after I'm done working. I hope it's a minimal issue.

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#19 Posted by ThePanzini (752 posts) -

Gears 5 creates a online lobby even though your just playing campaign it seems unnecessary server strain for the benfit for a very small number people.

I've also had a host of minor bugs not related to online across Xbox and PC, and the A.I. is dumber than bricks its constantly getting stuck in terrain especially the bigger foes.

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#20 Edited by BoOzak (2681 posts) -

Glad to see that i'm not the only one experiencing tons of bugs. I dont seem to remember any of the other Gears games being this unpolished.

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#21 Posted by Rodin (351 posts) -

I can see a world where they made a more interesting open world but what they've done here is kinda pointless. It's far from the worst thing in the game, but it seems to have been a waste of time on their part.

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#22 Edited by Bane (927 posts) -

I'm with @nateandrews on this. The option to take a beat and cruise around on the skiff if you want is a welcome one. It doesn't hurt that the skiff is really fun to drive.

I hope they use this as a stepping stone to a truly open world Gears. A Bethesda-style open world set in the Gears universe could be really great. The majority of The Coalition's experience is making Gears so who knows if they could pull something like that off. If you consider how smartly they've evolved the Gears formula into what I consider the best of the series in Gears 5 I could see them being successful.

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#23 Edited by Humanity (19041 posts) -

I'm at the second open area and I'm actually really not digging it all that much. Snow has a tedency to look really good in videogames, not sure what it is but it's there, whereas the second area doesn't look nearly as well. Having Baird tell me that I only have to find two more of a thing and he can upgrade a Jack ability also feels so not-gears. I'm all for the game going in a new direction, but I'm not sure this is the right one for this specific franchise.

I actually wouldn't have minded if they gave you a COG HQ sort of thing where you had an armory for upgrading weapons, a social area to talk to your squadmates and take on unique "loyalty quests" and then a big Mission Center where you would basically spawn into bespoke side content of your choosing. I don't need the skiff, give me a bit of choice but let me just get to the action. Give me three big optional side missions with cool set-piece moments rather than 9 really uninspired ones peppered across a barren map.

The worst thing - and this is on me I know - is that none of this is actually optional(for me). If I don't do these mini skirmishes then I don't get these unique upgrades which are pretty useful. So while I guess I could just skip all of it and get on with the story, I would be actively locking myself out of meaningful abilities. If these side missions gave you unique skins I would probably start skipping them.

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#24 Posted by nateandrews (112 posts) -

@humanity: I played through the game on Experienced difficulty and I would not have made it through several encounters without some of Jack’s ultimate abilities that you get from side missions. They were super essential.

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#25 Edited by NTM (11903 posts) -

Finished the game last night. I'll save the spoilers, but pertaining to the open stuff, I didn't like it either actually. It had some beautiful music as you rode, but that's the only real plus. I guess you can say that it also allowed for moments of character conversation, but none of it was that interesting. The side content was extremely short and if you don't care about upgrading Jack, the game can become extremely short. I did everything in it (well, I didn't find all collectibles) and I finished the game in ten hours; you cut the side 'attraction' stuff out and you can maybe beat it in half the time.

On one hand, on harder difficulties, Jack's abilities can be useful, but on the other, you ask yourself, is this the way it needed to be done? Also, just in general, it seems weird to me that they're choice in making Gears different than it ever has been is to add in things games have been doing for years, which is give an open map as well as allow for player choice, which only happens in one moment mind you and I won't give details about it here. I liked the game; it was better than four, but I don't think it was great.

My thoughts are still that the newer characters are kind of dull and cliche. There are a few good dialogue bits that made me chuckle from the characters, but otherwise, they don't really do much for me. And yes, the linear sections are where the game shines. I just wish they had more and did more in them. The story, to put it simply, was just fine (not great, not terrible). All of the first three games are still better than this in my opinion.

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#26 Posted by SilverSaint (100 posts) -

I am near the end of Act 3. I like the gameplay, love the RPG style of Jack, and enjoyed the Act 2 open world, the Act 3 open world is dragging. The open world sections are like Baby's first open world. Its basically an empty area with single digit scripted sections that take up around 1/50th of the total map combined and are usually just enemy fights. I really enjoy upgrading Jack, but I love RPGs. The story thusfar is um, well it exists and the writing is all over the place. Can we please kill JD, everytime hes in a scene it makes the game worse.

Overall the game feels like they want to move Gears into a more RPG direction (ala new God of War), but don't want their FPS fan base to just hate, so they are doing a slow transition to test the waters. Its fine and all, but just fine.

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#27 Posted by Humanity (19041 posts) -

@ntm: without going into major spoilers - is the second open world map (the sand one) the last of those and then the game settles into a normal linear rhythm or is there another one of those coming up? Act 3 is starting to really drag and I just don’t like the look of it at all.

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#28 Posted by jacksmedulla (404 posts) -

I was really enjoying the first hour or two of the game where it is structured like the previous games in the series, but man, this has to be one of the worst implementations of an "open" world I have ever seen. It's obvious that they were trying to follow in the steps of God of War with the characters crawling through gaps to transition to traditional gears levels, but this game lacks any of the ambition and vision that God of War had. It tries to give a similar treatment to the characters as well by having long conversations in the down time traveling through the open environments, but as much as I'm liking Del and Kait, there just isn't enough emotional or narrative meat to make the conversations worth the hit to the pacing. I find myself engaged for the firefights, then completely bummed when I realize I need to spend three minutes on auto pilot to get to the next arena. Beyond the open world downtime, unless I'm mistaken in my memory of the previous games, I feel like there is even more walking and talking that breaks up the action.

At this point, I don't know if I'm going to keep playing. I think I'm in act 2 chapter 4 at the moment, and I'm already burned out on all of the ham-fisted attempts at modernizing the Gears of War formula. It plays great, looks great, and runs incredibly well on my pc, but the pacing is just too much of hindrance to my enjoyment. Fortunately, I paid 2 bucks to try out the ultimate game pass for two months, so I've got my money's worth in the first 2 hours that I actually enjoyed. If anyone is on the fence and they haven't yet signed up for ultimate game pass, I'd look into that deal, rather than buying the game outright.

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#29 Posted by NTM (11903 posts) -
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#30 Posted by NTM (11903 posts) -

Oh, since I'm on here, I'd like to add that I liked that they used at least three songs from the original trilogy. One song from the first, one from the second and one from the third. At times it was a bit weird though to me since I think the atmosphere of the new ones feels a bit different from the first three.