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Gears Tactics PC Game Review

Assemble your team and outsmart your foes.

Reviewed by on Apr 28, 2020
Rating: 5 Star Rating

Gears Tactics is a brand new, turn-based strategy twist on Xbox’s iconic third-person action series. How does this new style of gameplay mesh with old tricks? Check out Kidzworld to read our review of the PC game!

Warning: This is a review of a game rated M for Mature, with settings to reduce mature content

There is a rush that only turn-based strategy games can offer. Taking your squad of customized soldiers into battle against increasingly dastardly bad guys, and rolling the dice on actions delivers some of the most heart-pounding gaming moments you can ever play. Gears Tactics constantly delivers on these moments and is another huge win for Xbox soon after Ori and the Will of the Wisps.

The classic tale of the COG vs the Locust Horde in all new turn-based strategy gameplayThe classic tale of the COG vs the Locust Horde in all new turn-based strategy gameplay

The Setup

The game follows the story of Gabe Diaz, the father of Gears of War 4 and Gears 5 heroine Kait Diaz, 12 years before the very first Gears of War game. The forces of the Coalition of Ordered Governments or the COG are put into a dire struggle against the Locust, a race of beastly creatures not unlike the orcs from The Lord of the Rings, but with guns. After the opening mission, Gabe joins up with veteran Gear Sid Redburn to gather as many survivors as possible and fight back the Locust, and take down the one responsible for creating many of their worst creatures, Ukkon.

Gabe and Sid are an uneasy alliance sometimes.Gabe and Sid are an uneasy alliance sometimes.

Let’s Get Tactical

Instead of the third-person shooting, the Gears games are known for, Gears Tactics pulls the camera above your soldiers and lets you control a whole squad at once. Both your team and the enemy take turns exchanging actions like shooting, moving to cover, and using abilities. Each soldier gets three moves a turn, but with some actions and abilities allow for more. I was constantly surprised just how perfectly Gears translates to this new format. The existing enemies, weapons, and actions are barely changed at all besides how you control them. E-holes, massive holes in the ground where enemies spawn out can be closed with a grenade throw, become a huge target, and that's just one example of something from the main games being translated into strategy wonderfully. The satisfaction of scheming your way into more moves and overcoming the challenges that pop up frequently is such a blast. Abilities like Overwatch let you scan the environment and fire back at enemies during their move, and unlike games like Mario x Rabbids Kingdom Battle and XCOM, you have to aim at a certain area instead of simply reacting to any movement which opens the door for numerous strategies for both you and your enemies as you cover openings and anticipate where your foes will move to next. The systems build on each other naturally and when combined with the increasingly complex array of enemies and scenarios, the game is hard to put down.

The tactical gameplay is hard to put down.The tactical gameplay is hard to put down.

Your Squad

Like Gears’ primary inspiration, the XCOM series, you can upgrade and customize your troops as you see fit. There are enough cosmetic options for armor and weapons that as you grow your team, you can make each soldier feel unique, but it also isn’t too much where you spend more time customizing than in battles. It struck a nice balance of detail for the fans who want their team to feel unique, but also can’t wait to get back into the missions. Armor pieces that you collect all offer increasingly better stats so you have a big incentive to look after the loot cases in the field. There are five classes, scout, support, heavy, vanguard, and sniper that you’ll want to balance in your squad to be as effective as possible in missions. Within these five classes, you can upgrade four different sets of skill types which leads to so much variety in the kinds of soldiers you can deploy and the unique abilities they bring to the table. And unlike some games where the skills don’t seem all that interesting to unlock, Gears Tactics’ upgrade trees all bring substantial and obvious upgrades that you can’t wait to unlock. And that’s just the Gears themselves, each weapon can also be customized and upgraded with mods you find in the field that can turn your arsenal into the Locust’s worst nightmare.

You can customize your Gears in both abilities and looks.You can customize your Gears in both abilities and looks.

Final Thoughts

Gears Tactics doesn’t simply do what has already been done before, the small changes to the turn-based strategy formula set it apart thanks to how closely it follows and respects Gears of War. It is easily some of the most fun I’ve had gaming this year and provides a great stepping stone to get into strategy games thanks to its gorgeous presentation, constantly engaging gameplay and deep customization that makes your squad feel unique to you. Warning though, Ironman mode means something else here than in XCOM. Ironman mode in Gears Tactics means when one of your heroes falls in battle, your whole save file gets deleted so be extra careful when playing in this mode.


  • Great strategy gameplay
  • Diverse missions always keep you on your toes
  • Customizing and upgrading your Gears is a blast


  • Camera controls are lacking

Gears Tactics Video Game Rating: 5

Gears Tactic's box art.Gears Tactic's box art.

Available now for PC through Steam and Windows 10, Xbox Game Pass, and later for Xbox One

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*Microsoft provided a copy of Gears Tactics for us to review