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Gears Tactics |OT| X-COM... I mean X-TERMINATING the Locust


Gold Member

Initial release date: April 28, 2020
Publisher: Xbox Game Studios
Genre: Turn-based tactics
Engine: Unreal Engine 4
Platforms: Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Developers: Splash Damage, The Coalition

Polygon said:
[...] Gears Tactics actually started out as an elaborate board game.

Polygon talked with associate creative director Steve Venezia, who cobbled together the paper prototype using the office printer way back in 2017, to learn how that work contributed to the final product due out on April 28. More than anything, he said, the early prototype helped his team experiment and take risks in a fun and flexible way.

“We didn’t want to just do Battle Chess but with the Gears logo on it,” Venezia said in a telephone interview with Polygon. “We really wanted to bring Gears of War into the tactics genre, to actually push the genre forward and see what that could bring to us.”
Two men discuss the rules of a board game. On the table is a black and white map with shields on it, some d6 and d10 dice, as well as some Gears of War themed plastic miniatures in white and gray plastic.

The process began with support from Tyler Bielman, publishing design lead at developer The Coalition. It was Bielman’s job to help translate the design language used to create Gears of War 4 and Gears 5, two games that carried forward the series’ dynamic third-person action.

“Tyler was super useful as a guide through this,” Venezia said, “talking about things like ‘horizontal platforming,’ which is basically how units move from cover to cover.

“We realized when you start to translate that into game mechanics, doing things like giving the player a little bit of extra movement when they slip out of cover and go into another piece of cover,” Venezia explained, “the player feels like they’re kind of cheating the system almost just by reading the environment, trying to deduce where they should move from and to. They’re actually getting that extra movement, and it suddenly feels Gears-y.”

To work through the design, Venezia built a prototype using dice and a large map. Rather than create an entire tabletop campaign, he used a single scenario as an experimental test bed. The cooperative mission required a four-player squad to repair a vehicle while defending it from Locust spawning in from the side of the board and up from underground. Enemies were controlled by AI cards with simple if/then statements, not unlike the rules that guide bosses in co-op tabletop game Kingdom Death: Monster. The team salvaged miniatures from an old copy of Fantasy Flight Games’ Gears of War: The Board Game, first published in 2011, to spice things up.

The final product was played dozens of times by many different members of the team.

Full Polygon article

The game is played from a top-down perspective and is a turn-based tactics title in which players issue commands to a squad of human soldiers to eliminate the hostiles in a map and depending on the mission, complete secondary objectives. Players can freely explore the map without being confined to a grid. Each character can perform three actions, such as taking cover, shooting enemies, or remain in overwatch to shoot any moving enemy in their line of sight. When an enemy unit loses most of its health, a friendly unit can move in and execute the downed enemy, which gives all units an additional action point. Players need to throw grenades to destroy erupting Emergence Holes which spawn more Locust enemies. If a friendly unit sustains too much damage, players may need to revive them, though they will still lose a significant portion of their health. The game has five distinct character classes, with each having its own unique abilities. The characters can be extensively customized with mods, armours, and they can acquire new skills after they level up. A permadeath system will be featured in the game. Other than the two central characters, other friendly units are procedurally generated and should they die in combat, their deaths will be permanent. [FROM THE WIKI]

One year after Emergence Day, when a subterranean race of creatures known as the Locust Horde emerged on the surface in a campaign to kill every human on the planet of Sera, Coalition of Ordered Governments leader, Chairman Richard Prescott, orders all major cities outside the Jacinto Plateau to be incinerated by the Hammer of Dawn. In addition, the Chairman had sent mop-up detachments in key-cities to eradicate the surviving Locust. One of the mop-up crews was Alpha Squad, stationed in Aldair City. Among them is Pendulum Wars hero, Sgt. Gabriel Diaz, who had demoted himself to working in the motor pool. Mere hours before the Hammer Strikes, he receives orders from Chairman Prescott and Major Sid Redburn to retrieve classified intel files from the CIC building. Sgt. Diaz and Major Redburn find the files that reveals to be about a Locust scientist named Ukkon, who has been responsible for the various creatures the Locust have been using as instruments of war. The Hammer of Dawn then destroys the city of Aldair, but Sgt. Diaz and Major Redburn survive. However, Ukkon destroyed the army base and killed everyone. Prescott then orders Diaz to assassinate Ukkon and is granted the rights to do so by any means possible. [FROM THE WIKI]

Thanks to Mista Mista for posting the review thread.
I have played about 15 hours. I give it a 7.5 out of 10. As Lanrutcon Lanrutcon said, the more you play, the shine starts to wear off. There are some annoying things that get even more annoying deeper in the game.

Really solid game though. Looks GREAT for the genre, lot of fun. Could be STELLAR if they improve the weaknesses moving forward. Great foundation here
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Reactions: Isa
Im at the last act and I am a bit disappointed even if I knew what I was getting into. It's so BORING. It's like one of those mobile games where you can only play one or two missions before you're kinda like eh. Same missions over and over and it just never risks or does anything good or better. I don't know if I can recommend it. They marketed the game that it will have a lot of story content and I knew that was kinda bullshit but never expected to be less than bullshit. I almost have 20 hours and the whole main story bits were less than 1 hour. Not even joking. Does it have any good strategy? Nah, the AI is the same on all difficulties except on Insane they just one shot you and there's no recover making the support classic obsolete and all you do the entire game is just overwatch and that's all the enemy does as well. I wouuld've initially recommended it with a 7/10 score or get it with gamepass but the more I played the more I hate it. Avoid it. There's no tactics in Gears Tactics and theres not even a decent story that keeps up with a third person shooter.
Enjoying the game. I was playing on normal and encountered a bug where Diaz was permanently dead after the first boss. Pissed me off that I had to restart. As I decided to restart on hard and I am enjoying the game even more.

On normal the game is pathetically easy and not even worth playing.


On normal the game is pathetically easy and not even worth playing.

How would you know? You quit during the first chapter. That's like giving up during the tutorial.

Your main difficulty spikes start manifesting in chapter 2 if you roll terrible modifiers on your side missions.


Komatsu Komatsu Thats a very beautiful OT mate. Thank you very much for your time and beautiful work :messenger_heart:

I haven’t played it yet because I’m not a big fan of genre anymore but will still give it a go since its on game pass.
Great OT! Thanks for making one! Feel a bit guilty as I suggested we need one but I've kinda dropped the game already as I don't have much time to game at the moment and just got escape from Tarkov on sale. I do hope to pick the game up again soon as didn't even get through act one!


I am hoping some sort of NG+ bets added as replaying on a higher difficulty doesn’t seem as fun as a NG+ run could be for this game specifically. I could be wrong. Or just flesh out the endgame loop.

As much as I shit on the game, I deeply enjoy the combat, customisation and visuals. Even more than XCom 2, I think. It's just a very basic game.


Just finished it this afternoon.
I really enjoyed it, in particular liked the main characters Sid and Gabe.

+ great graphics lots of configuration options esp for a strategy game
+ customization is pretty deep, quite a few builds for each class
+ cliché story but serviceable, certainly a lot more interesting than xcom to me, helped by likable characters
+ boss fights are challenging but not impossible, good vibes when you complete them

- menu system is a mess, needs a total overhaul
- missions with rules needed to have story elements, otherwise it feels really cheap to have stipulations like (2 chars only, no support... And so on)
- side missions get pretty repetitive, some modes better than others, hurt by no real story elements around them
- final mission is too limiting, you MUST complete it with characters game stipulates
- bugs

I'd say a score just under 80 is realistic. I can't help but think they didn't believe it would sell well but there is a solid reboot of gears in there, they just need more polish and effort on story.
It's absolutely worth playing if you like tactical games.


I beat the game a week ago. I really enjoyed it. I strongly recommend it to those that are a fan of the genre. I play almost every single xcom clone that gets released. For some reason, these games tend to be great quality. I think the biggest disappointment was Phoenix Point. Lots of potential that seemed squandered at launch.

I want more Gears Tactics


NeoGAFs Kent Brockman
After restarting to a game breaking bug I tried on hard as previously said in this thread. Initially it was harder and a lot more fun. However even on hard the game is piss easy and the AI is dumb


Tactics feels very much like someone building out the tools in order to make another game and this is just some random doodle. I think playing through Chapter 1 is worth it and fun, but everything after that gets very boring very quickly and there's no pay off either. If they do decide to do Tactics 2 and add an overworld element to it and expand mission types & customisation & even just the UI so it's not like a shitty mobile game, it could end up a great game. As it stands, Xcom 2 & Chimera Squad are so many levels above Tactics, it's hard to recommend even fans of the Gears franchise play it all the way through. And I'll also say, just like Gears 5, the heavy TAA & unchangeable per-object motion blur significantly bring down the visual fidelity of the game even though they did a great job elsewhere. It's a HUGE downgrade to the presentation.

All in all it ended up being a disappointment for me.
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Gold Member
Beat the game yesterday. As a huge XCOM fan, I'd say it's easily the best game of this kind since XCOM2, a very pleasant surprise overall but definitely not flawless.

Awesome implementation of overwatch and build variety, many different abilities to keep in mind planning your moves for managing your squads action points coming together as a very deep and satisfying system of a highly strategic turn-based combat.
Failing feels like being reckless and not making the most out of a situation, rather than bullshit RNG like was often the case in XCOM - no missed shots from a meter away, while getting hit through walls, etc.

I started playing on "experienced" and most of the campaign still felt relatively easy.
Which is something I can't say about the obligatory side mission padding sections. Some of them, especially in chapter 3 felt borderline impossible even with the ability to restart checkpoints when things go bad and took me ages to beat... That's my only real gripe about the game, aside from plenty of late game loot trash with somewhat annoying UI to manage it...
The only campaign mission that was breaking my balls was the corpser boss battle... until I found out on youtube that you can actually close emergent holes with landmines before they spawn any fodder, which the game doesn't tell you for some reason.
The final boss was also a fine conclusion to an OK story.

Looks and plays really good on my mid-tier PC, haven't noticed any bugs throughout.

Solid 8/10.
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I've been enjoying it. THe boss battles are fun, the game itself is a little simplistic, but at the same time i think they went overkill with some of these "perks". You have like 20 perks on a person and I cant keep track of who is who and what does what. Should do well on gamepass though. At least I can play at my own pace, X-Com was too hard for me with the impending doom of an alien invasion rushing me to make all these moves.
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