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You've Been Playing Gears Tactics All Wrong

Gears Tactics, the fast-paced and aggressive turn-based strategy game set in the Gears of War universe, released in late April 2020. It's chock full of systems and ideas that make it a complex yet fascinating game. If you've already settled into a routine playing through it, you may have developed some bad habits that are handicapping you as you progress. After all, this isn't a shooter. It requires more than simple brawn.

Think you know it all because you've played X-COM? Think again. If you haven't been using some of the most helpful strategies to advance, you're placing yourself at a disadvantage. Brainpower, wielded at high speed along with your weapons, is what's going to get you through this title in one piece.

It's easy to make missteps in Gears Tactics, and a wrong move can upend your whole strategy. If you're looking to up your body count and reduce your team's errors, you'll want to use these tips to turn things around.

Not using your checkpoints frequently

Gears Tactics has shown that it can be pretty brutal to your characters and your peace of mind. Given that, one of the best and easiest strategies you can utilize as you make your way through is to make use of the generous checkpoints the game provides.

While the game auto-saves for you at the end of every mission, it also provides mid-mission checkpoints. If one of your heroes gets wiped, your play won't get set back more than 10 or 15 minutes. And you'll get checkpoints in the middle of boss fights as well. There's also a button in the menu that allows you to restart an entire act, so make liberal use of these saves if you need to — but don't expect any manual saves.

The nice thing about these checkpoints is that they allow you to experiment — to a significant degree. So, why not play this feature to its full potential and have a little fun with it?

Not taking advantage of Overwatch

Both you and your enemies can use Overwatch in Gears Tactics. This mechanic lets you establish an ambush zone across a cone-shaped sector. You can then monitor the area, shooting anything that comes into range during the other team's turn. It works well when your enemies are too distant to target directly or are hiding under heavy cover. It also keeps their troops from moving into more advantageous attack positions if used properly.

In this title, you are allowed to use any actions that your soldiers have left over at the end of a turn, which can help you fine-tune a strategy to trap your enemies. Additionally, you can turn the fact that each class's weapon allows a different field of vision to your advantage. For example, the sniper's cone is long and thin while the Scout's is wide and short, giving them different levels of utility that you can deploy for different purposes. You can really get creative using different tools to get the most out of Overwatch while reducing your enemy's Overwatch abilities at the same time.

Not getting the most out of your executions

Dramatic executions are a staple of the Gears of Wars franchise. The animation changes depending on which weapon the character uses, so these are a satisfying part of your Gears Tactics experience. Even better, executions provide each member of the executioner's team with an extra action point to be used during the current turn. You should know, though, that the character actually performing the execution does not get the power-up — which means that even this action requires some strategy.

When you decide to execute a fallen enemy, don't expose your soldier or spend more actions than you'll gain, and make sure your character has enough support. You can actually toggle Tac-Com to see how many turns until your downed enemy bleeds out, which allows you to gauge when an execution would be most effective. Timing can be everything here, so be smart about this. 

Additionally, you should consider how many units you have in the region and how many baddies are available for execution so you can determine how to spread the action points around most effectively. Using executions properly can make or break your game, so choose wisely!

Not keeping a slot open for an extra team member

As you get further into the game, you're going to get more space for recruiting additional troops, and you're probably going to want to fill all your slots up. Don't. If you can keep at least one spot open on your character roster, you'll have it available for when you need a soldier from a particular class. Or, the game may introduce you to a randomly customized unit that's overpowered and at a high level. Rather than leaving a man behind that you've become attached to, you can seamlessly incorporate the new unit into your team without making any sacrifices.

Keeping that extra spot will also help you "clone" one of your troops if you need to. Once one of your recruits is killed, you can recruit someone of the same class and customize the unit with the old character's supplies, which will reappear in your own inventory. Then you can tweak their skill tree and customize their look to resemble the old.

As you enter the later acts, you'll be sent on side missions that you need to approach carefully when it comes to choosing your soldiers, so you're definitely going to want to have the best people on hand.

Not upgrading all your units as much as possible

Don't just focus on upgrading your Heroes. You'll also want to rotate your units around, especially on side missions, so that everyone is getting leveled up. Your better characters could easily get wiped out, leaving you with underperforming troops and no way to get through a particular adventure.

As you look at the five classes you have available to you — sniper, support, scout, heavy and vanguard — you'll need to build them up and help them specialize through their four-pronged skill trees (choosing one pathway at a time is helpful). Decide early on what skills work with your playstyle and work on making those better. If you have issues, use a reset token and start over. One of Gears Tactics' strengths is the depth of customization it offers, so take advantage of that to complement your strengths.

Just remember, this game is not easy. But the open gameplay and cinematic storytelling will wow you, and to experience that you're going to need all the help you can get!