In a bizarre move, The Coalition did not show off main story footage during the Xbox E3 2019 Briefing. Instead, they showed off a new mode called Escape. When I first saw the footage during the briefing, I was equal parts intrigued and confused. The game will launch in a few short months, and I assumed that the team would show off more of Kait’s struggles and how she continues to fight the new evil that we took on in Gears of War 4. They mentioned that more info about multiplayer and the campaign would come out during the summer, but I was still confused by the move.
My confusion eventually led to excitement once I went hands-on with the new Escape mode. In Escape, you play one of 3 new characters that are snatched from the main surface and taken to the center of the Hive. From there, you plant a bomb and make your way to safety. Sounds simple, right? It is anything but simple, and that is why I love it so much.
Escape keeps you on your toes at all times thanks to gameplay mechanics that keep you moving while being careful with your resources. The bomb itself releases a green gas that kills you if you are exposed for too long. Therefore, you must keep moving through the maze-like level at all times. Your minimap slowly reveals itself, so planning on where to go is a challenge at first. You will come across frequent dead ends or ammo rooms that offer no escape. I was very fortunate to work with teammates who already ran through the demo multiple times, so I had a good idea of which direction to go.
On top of everything else, you must fight against increasingly hard enemies with low ammo. Well placed shots are crucial to this game mode, and picking up the weapons of fallen enemies will increase your chances of survival. The fighting mechanics are what you would expect from the Gears series, except each character has a special ability that helps you a ton. The character you choose will either have a shield, an area effect that slowly refills ammo for those in the circle, and the sweat electro blade that was seen in the trailer. The character I played had the shield, which was useful towards the end of the level. Ultimately, you want to carefully use all 3 abilities as you try and escape the Hive.
If anything, my only hesitation about the mode will be the number of levels at launch. I can see players memorizing level paths and running through with ease. That being said, you can always increase the difficulty and give yourself a greater challenge. I do hope that Escape receives a lot of support because it is a blast to play. I can imagine Escape being a welcome break from the Story and tradition Multiplayer modes. Additional characters and abilities over time could also help improve the longevity of the Escape mode. As is, I am very hyped for Escape mode and can’t wait to play more when Gears of War 5 releases September 10th, 2019.
Let us know your thoughts on Escape mode in the comments!