“Gears of War” is one of the Xbox’s most well-known series. The series launched on Nov. 7, 2006, for the Xbox 360. It takes place on the fictional planet Sera, in which there was a conflicted war between humans and the “Locust,” an underground race of humanoid beings led by their Queen Myrrah, who intend to take over the surface world. The Coalition of Ordered Governments, known in short as the COG, fight against the Locust Horde. The protagonists are COG soldiers Marcus Fenix and Dominic Santiago.

The first three games, along with series’ prequel “Gears of War: Judgement,” are set during the Locust War. The war ends in the third installment. “Gears of War 4” picks up 25 years after “Gears of War 3.” James Dominic Fenix, known as “JD,” served in the COG like his father, Marcus, but later defected. Alongside JD are his close friends, Del, a fellow defector of the COG, and Kait Diaz, a member of the “Outsiders” group which is against the COG. The three face “The Swarm,” a hive mind army connected to the “Locust,” whose forces are primarily made up of infected beings.

“Gear 5,” was released on Sept. 10 and continues as JD and Kait Diaz find out the origins and connections of the Locust and the Swarm. “Gears 5” also explains why JD and Del defected from the COG and reveals the mysterious origins of Kait. It is a story that will leave players on the edge of their seats.

“Gears 5” has expanded its story, gameplay and overall genre as a shooter. For one thing, the game introduces three-player story co-op, which is a first in the series. Aside from JD and Kait, two more players can play as Del or Jack. Jack is a robot who supported Marcus Fenix and Dominic Santiago during the Locust War. In previous games, Jack is unseen due to having a cloaking field rendering him completely invisible. He only uncloaks himself when the protagonists need his assistance to proceed.

In the sixth installation, Jack plays a much larger role. Not only does he get more screen time to showcase his personality, but he also enhances gameplay. Jack is equipped with upgradable abilities, such as stunning enemies, setting electric traps, providing short-term protection from enemy fire and environmental hazards and turning the player invisible with a cloaking field.

 Until “Gears 5” was released, the series followed a linear timeline, requiring the player go from point A to point B and so on. The newest addition offers a bit more freedom to the players. Eventually, players acquire a skiff, a vehicle that enables fast travel through harshly cold mountain ranges and arid deserts. The skiff is also used to store extra weapons to take on the go. In co-op, one player drives the skiff while the other player uses a sort of compass to detect happenings around them which lead to secondary missions. Completing these secondary objectives reward the player with upgrades. Adding an open world element to the game gives players more freedom to explore.

Another new gameplay element for this game is stealth. Players can sneak up on an enemy and take them out without alerting others. If players have Jack’s cloaking ability equipped, they can stealth take down all of the enemies.

Multiplayer has always been a staple for the “Gears of War” series. The game includes the classic Versus and Horde modes, as well as a new mode called Escape. In Escape mode, players are captured and taken to the Swarm hideout, which they must escape after setting a timed explosive. This mode is challenging and intense as players try to escape with many enemies chasing after them.

“Gears 5” is by far one of the best games to play on the Xbox One right now. It is also available for Windows. The story is immersive, answers a lot of lingering questions and will leave players on the edge of their seats. For players entirely new to the series, “Gears 5” offers two videos in the extras menu, both giving a recap of the events prior. “Gears 5” is a definite must-play for anyone who loves shooter games, an immersive and groundbreaking story and memorable characters. It is exciting to see where the series will go next.