Gears of War debuted with muscular, broad shouldered, gruff men fearlessly carrying chainsaw guns into combat. The militaristic bravado and arrogant sense of invincibility exuded American military pride, concealed (hardly) in sci-fi lore.
Something happened to Gears of War though. Although conscious of loss in its first trilogy, the narrative shifted under a new development studio. Rather than continue to push slickly covered military propaganda, consequences seeped in. Emotions, too.
Here in Gears Tactics, the lore shifts blame. In conjunction with Gears 5, the Locust strain graduates from foreign adversarial threat to one inflated by the COG’s aggression. War and conflict creates enemies, Gears Tactics representing the ceaseless middle east clashes that spawn new hostile sects, while soldiers continue to fight under the cause sold to them as heroism. That’s Gears Tactics’ greatest realization.
It’s a side story, but one maturing Gears’ comic book verve. Gears Tactics’ small COG troop comes upon resistance fighters, spewing hate and bile about COG fascists. Predictably, the two sides work together eventually, accepting a common truth to fix the mistakes that led to this sprawling fight.
In this time of division, Gears Tactics spins a fantasy yarn about seeing things rationally, finding common ground, and doing so to fix things rather than retreat to comfort zones. Suitable, then, for this strategy setting, in actuality only marginally different than mainline Gears given the stop-and-shoot pace. Gears Tactics demands cooperation between people who detest one another. They win in the end – of course they do – but in doing so define Gears of War’s evolution.