Gears Tactics New MarchSource: Microsoft

Gears Tactics is an upcoming turn-based strategy game from The Coalition and Splash Damage, set in the popular Gears of War mythos. Set over a decade before the events of the first game, Gears Tactics has you take command of the remnants of the C.O.G. army in a desperate bid to fight back against a violent Locust horde. And it seems pretty awesome.

Taking gameplay cues from the likes of XCOM, Gears Tactics puts a gory spin on the genre, complete with tons of familiarity for strategy game veterans, with many Gears-style moves for fans of the core franchise.

In Gears Tactics, your squads will be made up of fixed character heroes who are integral to the plot, but you'll also get access to a small army of randomly-generated troops, who can suffer perma-death just like good old XCOM. Throughout the game, you'll upgrade their armor, skills, and weapons, and diversify their abilities in along different class archetypes.

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Here's everything we know (so far) about troop classes in Gears Tactics, ahead of its April 28, 2020 planned launch on PC.

Tactical action

Gears Tactics box art

Gears Tactics

Survive the Locust

Gears Tactics brings tactical, turn-based combat and marries it to classic, frenetic Gears action. Outfit your squad and take down a Locust leader creating monstrosities.

Missions, rewards, and the Convoy

Gears Tactics New MarchSource: Microsoft

Gears Tactics is separated into three acts like other Gears of War titles for its story, but there are many side missions to undertake that let you build up and manage your squad. You undertake these management aspects from "The Convoy," which is effectively a mobile base of operations comprised of the remnants of the C.O.G. forces. There's no management layer like in XCOM, where you're building up the base too, though. It revolves all around the soldiers, and that gameplay is as deep as you might hope.

The game has no microtransactions whatsoever (thank god), but you do find crates in missions, which can be recovered (at the risk of your soldiers, that is), and then opened at the end of the mission for random rewards. These contain weapons, mods for said weapons, and a variety of other upgrades and consumables, which can help you along the way.

Gears Tactics CustomizationSource: Microsoft

Gears Tactics' weapon customization is surprisingly deep for a Gears game, allowing you to swap scopes, clips, stocks, and a range of other weapon parts to gain all sorts of passive and active bonuses. The mods also have rarities, similar to other RPGs, from common, to rare, all the way up to legendary.

Additionally, the Convoy is where you will recruit new troops to replace those injured or lost entirely in battle (hello perma-death Iron Man mode). You can also spend some time here customizing their skills and the cosmetic style of their armor, right down to the style of the metallic finish. And yes, they appear in cutscenes too, even if you make them neon green with pink trimmings (don't do that).

Gears Tactics soldier classes

Gears Tactics New MarchSource: Microsoft

Like any tactics game, the aim of the game is to position your squad and take advantage of their specific skillsets to meet any given situation. Each character gets access to a primary weapon, a secondary, and a grenade slot, alongside many active and passive skills. Gears Tactics has a bunch of base classes, each with additional specializations that can be pursued through the game's skill trees. You don't have to pursue a single tree either, with the ability to mix and match skills from multiple lines if you have the points available to do so.

It also seems there are a few hero-specific classes and abilities that regular troops may not get access to. The pre-order / Xbox Game Pass PC bonus for Augustus Cole, for example, is a unique class all of his own.

Here's what we know so far about each class, with more info coming as and when we get it.

Gears Tactics New MarchSource: Microsoft

Support

Support soldiers are the glue that keeps a team together, whether it's via medical support or leadership. The Support skill tree features a Surgeon quarter, which no doubt boosts stim healing abilities, and a Combat Medic quarter, which probably combines a mixture of attacking and healing. There are also Strategist and Paragon quarters in the skill tree, granting passive and active buffs to your squad. One ability we saw was a stim grenade, which boosts the combat abilities of your squad in an area of effect.

Heavy

Heavies are, as you might expect, Heavy, and are complete with weaponry to match. Wielding weapons like the Vulcun Gattling Gun, Heavy troops get a special stacking bonus called "Anchoring" when they take multiple shots from the same position. The idea for a Heavy is to bunker down in cover and rain death on the enemy, remaining stationary to gain that Anchoring accuracy bonus.

Sniper

Snipers, of course, are all about long-range attacks with a big ol' rifle. The skill trees are dubbed Marksmanship, Hunter, Assassin, and Stalker, which let you further customize how they'll handle. Some of the abilities we saw pertain to reducing accuracy penalties for ranged attacks, and concussive attacks which stun enemies.

Gears Tactics New MarchSource: Microsoft

Scout

The Scout is an up-close-and-personal fighter wielding a shotgun, typically. We didn't get a huge look into this class yet, but they're designed around putting pressure on the enemy and flanking, complete with light stealth capabilities like Jack the robot.

Vanguard

Vanguard may only be available to Sid Redburn, who is a grizzly vet in your main squad. This seems oriented on self-sufficiency and tanking, with the ability to distract enemies and disrupt enemies and survive blows that would kill other classes. The Vanguard tree features Shock Trooper, Assault, Paladin, and Warden quarters, allowing you to customize the Vanguard's playstyle further.

Gears gets deep

Gears Tactics CorpserSource: Microsoft

With this shift to a true XCOM-style game, Gears of War is getting a pretty overdue depth injection. Loot, weapon mods, skill trees, levels, and other RPG-style mechanics are making their way into the franchise in a way not seen before in Gears, and I for one kind of hope to see more of it even in the mainline games moving forward.

What do you think of Gears Tactics thus far? Let us know, down below.

Related: Read our Gears Tactics full review!

Tactical action

Gears Tactics box art

Gears Tactics

Survive the Locust

Gears Tactics brings tactical, turn-based combat and marries it to classic, frenetic Gears action. Outfit your squad and take down a Locust leader creating monstrosities.

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