There’s a lot to say about Gears 5, but one of the most important things to mention: holy shit are the skiffs fun.
You’re introduced to the skiff in Gears‘s second act, almost immediately after the light spoilers Microsoft showed off earlier today.
Skiffs in the modern age are generally small rowboats or sailboats designed for racing. The Gears take on a skiff is more like paraskiing, with Kait steering from the read while Del mounts a turret at the front.
Every Gears game kicks off in a lobby, so if you’re playing co-op, someone else gets to shoot while someone drives, and vice versa. But if you have the choice, there’s only one you should make: drive, drive, drive.
The skiff is essential to Gears because it’s your primary form of travel once the game begins to open up. Gears 5 isn’t an open-world game, but the raw surface area you’ll travel is much larger. Think of it like Metro Exodus, a game split into multiple maps large enough that you had plenty of variety and opportunity on how to approach it. Gears isn’t quite that versatile — it’s still largely a linear point-to-point shooter, but the wider map has done a good job of making the world feel more expansive, while opening up room for side missions if you want more collectibles and components for Jack, your robotic sidekick.
We’ll have more thoughts on Gears 5 very soon, both from myself and our colleagues in the US. Long story short: it’s interesting, and I’m enjoying it so far. But the skiffs? Whoever put them together did a fantastic job, and probably had a hell of a lot of fun while they were at it.