Gears Tactics is a turn-based strategy game set in the popular Gears of War universe, focusing on events prior to the first game. Following Gabe Diaz, you're tasked to bring down a Locust scientist, known only as Ukkon. To get there, you have to build up an army from the remnants of the battered C.O.G., and take on Ukkon's bio-engineered terrors, mutated from the indigenous creatures of the subterranean Hollow tunnels.
In our review, we praised Gears Tactics' combat, even if some of the mission structuring and pacing fell a little short in some ways. Regardless, one aspect of Gears Tactics that I very truly want to see other PC games take on is how The Coalition and Splash Damage set out the game's PC settings, which are remarkably good.
An epic first-effort strategy game.
Gears Tactics doesn't quite approach XCOM's crown, but it's a satisfying and modern-feeling strategy game fans of the genre will enjoy.
Tweak (and learn) everything
Gears Tactics gives you a metric ton of control over what your graphics settings look like, while explaining what each setting does. Believe it or not, the average gamer doesn't know what anti-aliasing is, what ambient occlusion does, or what sunshafts are. Gears Tactics is the first game I've seen that offers a detailed explanation of what each graphics feature does in laymans terms, and I suspect even veteran gamers may learn a thing or two from the full list of options out there.
Beyond explaining what each setting does, Gears Tactics also shows you what each setting looks like, represented in-game. For example, sliding the World Detail setting will show you how much on-screen debris and lighting you may be losing by turning it down, while also noting the impact on your hardware underneath.
Gears Tactics also gives you some truly crazy control over how the game presents. You can control virtually every graphics aspect you could ever want to, without having to dive into config files or use external tools. Tweak the length of time dynamic objects such as corpses remain on screen, adjust depth of field and motion blur, drill down into the quality of all different types of textures. It even lets you adjust the style of the bloom lighting. It also comes with a robust benchmarking tool if you want to put your PC through its paces.
Tactics also does a great job with accessibility features upfront, rather than as an afterthought, with colorblindness modes, caption sizing, and even a text narrator, which is something I'm not sure I've actually seen in a game before. You can adjust every keybind too, both on your keyboard or gamepad, which naturally supports things like the Xbox Adaptive Controller for users with additional needs.
PC devs: more of this please
Whether you're into Gears Tactics or not, this level of customization is something I think everybody would appreciate to see more often in PC games. I expect that it requires a bit of extra development time to create a GUI for configuration on this level, sure, but for larger publishers, there's not as much of an excuse, particularly when it comes to accessibility features.
Either way, it shows Microsoft is serious about making its games and services feel more at home on PC, which is something a lot of AAA publishers often treat as a bit of an afterthought, after porting their games across from console. Microsoft has very arguably neglected its PC gaming community in recent years, but this level of detail, coupled with solid new apps like the Xbox Game Bar and Xbox Game Pass for PC, the company is starting to turn it around.
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Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!