Gears 5: Hands on with Arcade Mode

I’ve always been a fan of the Gears of War franchise. It’s never been my favorite franchise, but it’s a series that I’ve always enjoyed playing none the less. Gears of War 4 was certainly entertaining and left more than a few big questions lingering once the credits rolled. Gears 5 was a certainty and seeing it officially revealed at E3 in June wasn’t all that surprising.

gears 5 logo

What was surprising was that the multiplayer tech tests would be open not just to pre-order players, but those with an active Game Pass subscription as well. Thank you E3 2019 Game Pass Ultimate $1 deal!

Considering I had automatic access, how could I not check it out, right? Here are some thoughts on the new Arcade mode.

At first glance, Arcade is essentially a renamed version of the classic Team Deathmatch from past games in the franchise. It’s the Swarm versus COGs, where each death depletes a pool of revives for each side. Once all revives are gone, each death is permanent until one side is wiped out.

However, in this new version, headshot damage has been boosted to give every weapon a chance to pop heads. Slide cancels have been given a longer cooldown and wall bounces have been removed completely to help keep the action more grounded and cover to cover. These small, yet important tweaks have actually sped up gameplay a bit and giving long distance players more of an advantage than the previous shotgun rushers from past games.

gears 5 arcade characters

The interesting aspect to this mode is that The Coalition added in a number of Hero Shooter elements. There’s a class system now, so not only are players picking the loadout style that suits them best (sniper, close quarters, support, heavy, hunter) but also the upgrade path.

During the match, players are awarded skulls through kills, assists, or completing their character’s bounty requirement. These persist through death, so they’re not a killstreak reward ala Call of Duty. Essentially, you spend them in order to buy weapons from your character’s upgrade path. It’s an interesting wrinkle to an otherwise familiar mode.

That’s essentially where I’m at with Arcade Deathmatch. It still feels like Gears multiplayer. Sure, the Gnasher shotgun feels better balanced than it has in the past, but the mode didn’t do too much for me. It felt like traditional Gears multiplayer, which for some of you, is great news. The new features like the hero classes was nice, but it hasn’t caused me to think about the game in the week or two since I last played it.

Again, not saying it’s bad by any means. It’s well made and is fun. It does make me curious to see what else there is, especially if the team has added in similar changes to other base modes like King of the Hill. Ultimately, this mode isn’t likely going to change anyone’s opinions on Gears multiplayer, so if you enjoy it, you’ll enjoy this.

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