There were two moments in the Gears 5 campaign that really shocked me. The first one was for all the wrong reasons. The second left me literally gobsmacked and was a masterful moment in the series’ storytelling. In this article, we are going to talk about both of them. It’s safe to say that if you have not already completed the campaign of Gears 5, you shouldn’t carry on reading. Bookmark this page and come back to it once you have finished the game. If you have completed it, let’s talk about those moments.
FINAL WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
The first moment I want to talk about is my worst moment of the campaign. This happens in the first areas of Act II and is the way the developers handled the Oscar Diaz character. First of all, I have to ask, why did they change the voice actor?!? Jimmy Smits voiced the character for Gears of War 4 and he was perfect. He brought humour, gravitas, and empathy to the character. He helped to elevate him from just being the uncle of Kait to someone who always lit up the screen when he was around. The character had already secured a place in many fans hearts before he was taken by a snatcher. When he was shown to have survived at the end of the game, he was immortalised.
His pleasing survival at the end of Gears of War 4 made it an even bigger kick in the teeth when he met his demise in Act II of Gears 5. I was so happy when he showed up again and I was ready for more shenanigans. To then wipe him out so quickly and flippantly just felt wrong. I understand that it was done to have a bigger effect on Kait but they could have achieved that with another character. It would have been possible to introduce a character in Act I who Kait was close to that they then killed off. They didn’t have to kill Oscar! If it had to be him, couldn’t they have pulled off a miraculous escape for him again? It would have fitted with his character after the last game.
Oscar Diaz was my favourite character in the last game. I have even argued on this website before that he should be given his own standalone game. To get rid of such a great character in such an off-hand kind of way was extremely disappointing. I can only hope that they make up for it by adding some DLC or something that shows what happened to him between the games. And if that does happen, please, please, please get Jimmy Smits to voice the character once again.
So, what did I think was the best moment in the campaign? Well, it might have been the best but it was also the most poignant and shocking moment. Of course, I’m talking about the decision that you have to make in Act IV. That’s right, where you have to choose to save either Del or JD. I was genuinely shocked when I played it. I couldn’t believe that I was put in the situation where I had to kill off one of the main characters. Personally, I didn’t find the decision too hard. Del had always been a stand-up guy and we had earlier learned that JD had done wrong. And let’s be honest he also went on to become a bit of douche.
As much as I didn’t find the decision too hard it was still heart-breaking having to kill off one of the main characters. It was tougher because I knew how it was going to affect Marcus. To also have it be Kait’s Mum doing the killing, adds to the drama. I do wonder why she was giving Kait the choice in the first place and didn’t just kill two of her enemies rather than the one. However, when you start questioning the logic in a sci-fi game with chainsaws attached to assault rifles, you’re probably thinking too much about it.
I do think this was bold storytelling. The team at The Coalition could have played it safe and they would have still had a hit on their hands. It’s pleasing to see that they didn’t do this, though. Instead, they went for a bold choice and that is to be commended. It will be interesting to see how this choice works moving forward. Will Gears 6 make only one of the choices canon or will they find a way to make both options work within their narrative? How will it affect Marcus moving forward if JD is dead? How will it psychologically affect the survivor? Will Kait be tormented by choosing to kill one of her friends? These are all questions that need answering and I can’t wait to see where Rod Fergusson and the team take the story.
Don’t forget, you can check out our review of Gears 5 here.