Gears Tactics is a turn-based strategy game set in the Gears of War universe. Here’s our guide to help you out with combat mechanics, side objectives, and all those loot chests on the map.
Gears Tactics combat guide: Battle basics
Spawns and Emergence Holes
Locust enemies will periodically spawn during missions. Some are dropped by flying Reavers while others come from underground via Emergence Holes (E-Holes). You can’t prevent spawns from the air, but you can anticipate the ones from tunnels.
Closed tunnels will open after a turn, but you can overwatch to kill anything that comes out. Throw a grenade to close that tunnel for good or enemies will continue to spew forth from the depths.
Alternatively, if an E-Hole is still closed, you can turn your frag grenade into a mine and plant it on top of the opening. Move away and end your turn. The spawning mobs will cause your mine to explode and collapse the tunnel.
Note: If you need help with the mobs you’ll encounter, head over to our Locust Horde enemy units guide.
Overwatch, tac-mode, and action points
You can press “R” to turn on tactical mode showing you the accuracy of your shots. Be forewarned, however, that even a success rate of 70-80% can lead to ridiculous misses or partial hits (even close-range shotgun blasts).
As for overwatch, it takes all your remaining action points (AP) into consideration, so you can fire multiple times while defending. But, because you can’t cancel the overwatch command, it’s better to wait and see what else your characters can do during a turn and use it as your last move to establish a firing line.
You can decimate the Locust Horde on their turn via crossfire. Of course, hostiles can also do the same thing to you. If you try to use any action that triggers the enemy’s overwatch, it can lead to that skill getting canceled out and wasted. You can interrupt an enemy’s overwatch by:
- firing your Snub Pistol’s special attack
- causing an explosion near the enemy
- any effect that causes the enemy to move
- using certain class skills
Note: One of the more effective skills is “Intimidate” which is a Vanguard ability. Check out our classes and abilities guide for tips.
Executions and opportunity attacks
It won’t be a Gears of War game without bloody and gory executions. These (including bayonet charges or chainsaw kills) can restore AP to your character or to your teammates. It’s possible to use bayonets or chainsaws on certain enemies (ie. Hammerburst Drones, Sniper Drones, or Theron Guard) or others that are already at low health. However, remember that these skills have a cooldown. You’ll also want to watch out for “opportunity attacks” that some mobs have which let them slice or shoot you when you get too close (ie. Grenadiers, Wretches, or Zealots).
For plain executions, you’ll need to down an enemy first by depleting their health bar and causing them to drop to their knees. Unlike bayonet or chainsaw kills, executions don’t have a cooldown. Likewise, since enemies are in a downed state, their opportunity attacks are nullified. Just remember that (a) mobs can get revived by their allies, and (b) they’ll automatically die if not revived within a couple of turns.
Combined with the overwatch mechanic, you can create ridiculous chain reactions. For instance, multiple allies on overwatch can cause an enemy to get pushed out of cover. This can be followed on your turn by a well-placed shot and then moving in for an execution. Your allies will get additional AP, allowing them to use more abilities or advance further.
Revives, wounds, and checkpoints
Soldiers who are downed can be revived via stim grenades, the revive action, or certain class abilities. Characters also have a “heroic” skill to self-revive once per battle.
Getting downed and being revived will cause a pip of the health bar to be “locked” for the remainder of the mission, preventing them from healing to full. Likewise, recently revived soldiers will incur the “wounded” status. They can’t be deployed for a number of missions (depending on their wounds). The exceptions would be heroes or unique characters (ie. Gabe Diaz or Mikayla Dorn). Even if they were wounded in a previous fight, they can still be used in main missions that require them to participate.
Lastly, Gears Tactics uses an auto-save system via mission checkpoints rather than per-turn. The only exception is when you have Ironman mode enabled (preventing you from reloading if you made mistakes).
Note: For a list of what you can expect during each fight, head over to our missions guide.
As for loot chests, most missions in Gears Tactics will have three of these found all over the map. The only exception would be Scavenger runs which will have around five. Since some are found in distant areas, you’ll have to decide whether they’re worth the risk or if it’s better to proceed to your objective quickly. Remember that you won’t actually find out their contents until the mission is over, so you might end up with something that’s far from useful.
Note: Head over to our items and mods guide to know what you should be looking out for.
Gears Tactics is available via Steam and Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass for Windows. For more information, check out our guides and features hub.