Console games aren’t typically known for robust options menus. Sure, you usually can set the brightness, change a few things, and possibly remap your controls, but overall the choices available for tailoring your experience aren’t there. There’s a ton of reasons for this, especially the fact that consoles are meant to be a more standardized experience as opposed to PC where you can usually fine-tune things to an almost ridiculous degree. But every once in a while a developer puts that extra effort in. And almost all of them have been topped with the work The Coalition put in for Gears 5.
Things started off great with one of the best brightness and contrast menus I’ve ever seen. Loading immediately upon first startup of Gears 5, the HDR-focused brightness options were fantastic, letting players set individual levels for regular brightness and HDR, along with contrast. This isn’t totally unique, with many games starting by forcing players to set their brightness options. But this goes even further by showing different images in different lighting settings, showing you how your choices impact dark, light, and visually busy scenes. It also explicitly tells you things to watch out for as you shift the sliders, such as fine detail in clouds.
Moving into the game proper didn’t diminish my respect for the technical work put in for Gears 5. The Dolby Atmos logo that met me upon first starting up promised exceptional audio, but the final product blew me away. But that was just a prelude to what the team managed in terms of options and accessibility. It’s clear that a ton of work went into this as well, with many organizations already citing the game as one of the best for gamers with disabilities or other considerations.
But even if that isn’t a concern, there’s surely something here that you’ve wanted to see in other games. Font size too small? Change it. Want more descriptive subtitles for when you are playing late into the night? That’s there. Don’t like gore in your M rated monster-killing action games? Turn it off. The Coalition has basically brought a PC mentality to this AAA console release and it’s fantastic to see in action.
Does all of this have a direct impact on my experience with the game? Not in significant ways, but for others it very easily might. And at the end of the day, it’s just nice to see a developer put this much effort into making sure that every player gets to enjoy their game how they want. To check out what we thought about Gears 5 as a whole, be sure to read our review.