Gears Tactics Beginner's Guide — 5 Tips to Defeat the Locust Horde
Gears Tactics is a gnarly take on the turn-based tactical strategy genre, and I don't just mean the chainsaw executions. This game can be tough, and on the higher difficulties it's downright punishing, but we're here to help with five of the best tips to help you conquer Gears Tactics' challenging gameplay.
Below, go over how to use and abuse downtime, why you should always be recruiting, how to get tricky with overwatches, how to easily deal with E-Holes, and tricks for prioritizing action points (and the best to look out for in each class).
#1: Use and Abuse Downtime
The first tip we have for you is to make use of your downtime.
After clearing areas of grubs, you’re often given a short period of respite to reach the next objective, such as opening a gate or regrouping at an evac point.
During this downtime, you’re free to waste a few turns waiting for your important cooldowns to return. This is particularly useful with the Support’s healing grenades and abilities, as you can top up your squad without fear of retaliation.
Gears Tactics does eventually spawn enemy reinforcements to try and counteract this tactic, though, so don’t try this indefinitely.
You can usually get away with 2-3 turns without any issue, but you can also leave your units overwatching a large area to drastically reduce any threats.
#2: Always Be Recruiting
Recruits will usually have multiple weapon mods, often better than the ones you’ve found yourself. These can be swapped over to your Heroes to boost your primary team’s power level.
For instance, I didn’t have any mods to give Mikayla when she joined my party, but by recruiting a rookie Sniper at the same time, I was able to pass all of their upgrades onto her, immediately making her a bigger threat.
If you see multiple recruits with the “leaves after 1 mission” text but have limited spaces, you can always recruit each troop individually, remove their gear, dismiss them, and then repeat this cycle with each available troop.
Once you’re in the final act, this tactic isn’t as useful as you’ll have acquired some rarer mods, but you will frequently run into new recruits that are a higher level than your existing team members, so make sure to update your roster regularly.
#3: Get Tricky with Overwatches
Enemy overwatch cones can be a real menace, but there are some helpful tools to get around them.
First, make use of Waypoints.
Waypoints allow you to fine-tune your movement to sneak past overwatch cones while still being efficient with your actions. By default, these are set to "CTRL + MB1," or "LT + A" on controller.
Next, know that Gears Tactics has friendly fire.
You can abuse this by walking through an enemy's overwatch cone that is lined with another enemy. If you’re careful with your alignment, you can often trigger the overwatch and watch as a Locust drone shoots its friend in the back instead of you.
This goes both ways, though, never stack your own overwatch cones over an ally!
Finally, there’s a little trick that can help you avoid overwatch shots on a rare occasion.
If you absolutely have to activate an enemy’s overwatch, try running your soldier over the outside corner of the cone, as this seems to be the least accurate area of their vision. This sometimes lets you escape without a scratch, but it’s a last-gasp tactic.
#4: Emergency E-Hole Repellent
Gears Tactics makes it pretty clear in the first mission that you can close Emergence Holes with a grenade toss, right? But what if your grenade is on cooldown, or your unit is out of range?
Well, there are a few extra ways to stop E-Holes from ruining your day. The first is pretty simple: layer the opening with Overwatches.
This will usually clear out any surfacing enemies, but you often have a swarm of existing Locust enemies on the map that you can’t afford to ignore, so what else can we do?
Boomshots and Torque Bow shots can also close E-Holes safely from a distance, which is often your best bet if you’ve managed to pick up one of these powerful weapons.
The final method of stopping E-Holes is by using the Grenade Plant ability before the hole opens. This closes the hole as soon as it opens, preventing any enemies from funneling through.
It also doesn’t go on cooldown if you’ve thrown a grenade recently, which is incredibly useful. Just make sure to plant the grenade and then run away, that explosion will likely kill your soldier instantly.
#5: Prioritize Action Skills
There’s one universal tip when it comes to deciding which skills you should unlock for your soldiers: always pick skills that give you free actions.
Getting free actions in a turn-based strategy game is like having free draws in a card game, or free turns in a tabletop game — it accelerates what you can accomplish in a single turn drastically.
Some key skills to look out for are Teamwork and Empower in the Support’s skill tree, Chain Shot and Ultimate Shot in the Sniper’s skill tree, and Breach for the Vanguard.
These skills, especially when used in combination, can seriously change the outlook of a battle. Sure, Snipers can be built to take down big enemies in a single shot, but clearing out five units and repositioning in one turn is almost always better in my book.
Those are some of our best tips and tricks for getting started in Gears Tactics on the right foot. Do you have any tips and tricks other players should know about? Let us know in the comments below.
For more on Gears Tactics, why not check out our review?