- Genre: Third person shooter, horror, action, adventure
- Platforms: Xbox Series X/S/One and PC.
- Developer | Publisher: The Coalition, Microsoft Game Studios
- Age Rating: PEGI 18 | ESRB M for Mature
- Price: UK £14.99 or free with Ultimate Game Pass
- Release Date: 15th of December
In the first story DLC for Gears 5, we witness the beginnings of Team Scorpio, from their formation to taking the fight straight to the Swarm.
If you haven’t read the Hivebusters comic, this DLC is the perfect introduction to the characters of Team Scorpio and how it came to fruition. We start off with our team in a Condor transport heading to the island of Pahanu, ignorant of what their mission is. This is where we are first introduced to Keegan, a member of the Onyx Guard serving at Azsura; if you played Gears 3, the background lore relating to this character will pique your interest. Secondly we have Lahni, whose personality, family and heritage we learn about over the course of the story. And finally Mac, the foul-mouthed Irishman, whose human side emerges as Team Scorpio develops.
One thing I will hand to the Gears games is the chemistry between all characters. It’s so perfect and believable, yet quite relatable. When the chips are down and backs against the wall, you find this resilience to overcome any challenge, even if the odds are heavily against you.
Three new arrivals join the cast to Gears 5. Fan favourite COL. Hoffman returns, and it’s about god damn time too. (See what I did there? No? Urrgggh, nevermind…) And Hana Cole, daughter of Augustus “Cole Train” Cole. She’s leading the science in this one and will no doubt give Baird a run for his technical know-how too. And lastly, Taka the pilot.
Without spoiling the story too much, Hivebusters is the origin story of Team Scorpio and the development of the venom to kill off the Swarm, spread over a roughly 3-hour campaign – though hunting down the 23 collectibles and upgrading all of your abilities will likely extend this by a fair amount. It’s an action-packed, story-driven plot that ties in nicely to the base game, making Escape (multiplayer) mode both more appealing and easier to understand.
Graphics, Sound, and Performance
Hivebusters DLC is actually quite remarkable looking. Throughout the course of the game you visit a variety of environments, from colourful island vistas to going underground, and even riding a eruption of lave from exploded volcano. It’s pure eye candy, and the Series X handles it like a wet dream.
The sound is top notch with its different type themes, especially being on a island. Not just when fighting against the Swarm, but the wildlife itself, other enemies and of course the new beast you encounter. If they don’t add the new beast as a boss in Horde or Escape, people should riot!
Performance was stable and fantastic throughout.
Just like any game, Hivebusters can get tough on the higher difficulty settings! Of course, you can play 3 player co-op the same as in the main campaign of Gears 5. Certain areas provide a greater challenge, such as one specific section that consists of defending against a wave of Swarm before moving to the next checkpoint. Insane difficulty should be a good ride, but don’t expect it to be a walk in the park.
Seeing as this is the first DLC for Gears 5, the Coalition have done a great job. Believe it or not, I find myself more inclined to pick Keegan, Lahni or Max in multiplayer going forward. Before I wasn’t that interested in them as characters, however the DLC has given us a great trio with rich background stories that you can’t help but relate to. Not only that but I also find myself wanting to play Escape mode more too. The DLC is so good, it leaves you wanting more and I really do hope the Hivebusters gets a further expansion or even a spin-off title of its own.
It’s the best piece of add on content that I have played for sometime. Gears 5 fell a little short after Act 2 in terms of its story, however Hivebusters was hands-down a phenomenal experience throughout.