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What Critics Are Saying About Gears 5: Hivebusters

The first single-player DLC for Gears 5, Hivebusters, has finally arrived. Critics have praised it for delivering a tight, focused playthrough, solid characters, and an entertaining expansion to the Gears of War universe.

At its core, Hivebusters serves as a one-off origin story for the Scorpio Squad. The Scorpio Squad is composed of Keegan, Lahni, and Mac, and was previously featured in the Gears 5 Escape multiplayer mode. The voice actors for each character reprised their roles, and IGN said that both the primary and supporting cast members "turn in great voice performances." These characters have also been the focus of the Gears of War: Hivebusters comic book series, although GamesRadar noted that prior knowledge of their exploits is not required as they "are easy characters to fall in line behind."

GamesRadar also praised the amount of character building developer The Coalition fit into a relatively short experience. Hivebuters is just six chapters long and clocks in at about three hours, although IGN counts the short playtime as a strength. Brian Barnett wrote, "This DLC expansion trims the fat and provides a laser-focused, linear experience, leaving me wanting more instead of overstaying its welcome." However, Barnett felt that the short length of the game undercut some of the story's team-building elements, stating that the group goes from "reluctant allies" to "we're a family" too quickly.

Both IGN and GamesRadar praised the combat and design of Hivebusters. IGN's review said, "Combat is as tight and responsive as ever." Likewise, GamesRadar stated, "Hivebusters feels like the greatest hits of Gears' encounter design." While many of the gameplay mechanics and enemies featured will be familiar to Gears 5 veterans, IGN's review highlighted a new avian creature that plays an essential role in Hivebusters and serves as a welcome contrast to the Swarm horde featured throughout the series. The most significant mechanical difference, IGN continued, was the elimination of the robotic companion, Jack, alongside his support abilities. In place of those are Ultimate Abilities for each squad member, such as a mobile energy shield and ammo regeneration.

Both IGN and GamesRadar reviewed the game on the Series X and delivered enthusiastic praise for the visuals. IGN's review noted that the game ran flawlessly at 60 FPS while GamesRadar called the game's locales "among the most impressive spaces you can expect to find on the Series X right now."

Overall, it sounds like The Coalition has landed another solid Gears entry with a short runtime balanced by solid gameplay, strong characters, and beautiful visuals.