Gears Tactics has an effective guide: After the first mission, you should understand most of the tools at your disposal, like Overwatch, Frag Grenades, and the LANCER Rifle’s unbeatable chainsaw. It’s an easy game to dig into, but it also hides some complicated tactics and key differences from XCOM that weren’t apparent in the early hours. In Hindsight, these are the tips we wish we had received before we even started playing.
Overwatch works differently – Gears Tactics
Unlike XCOM, you can take as many photos in Overwatch as your character action points are still at the end of the turn. Overwatch also activates if the enemy has an attack without moving. Instead of snapping a low shot on an enemy in the cover, discourage them from moving or taking action by covering them or a keystroke with overlapping Overwatch fields from multiple units.
Note that some of Gears’ AI, especially explosive marking enemies, do a good job of avoiding Overwatch fields. Also, note that critical hits cannot be scored in Overwatch (an unlockable ability on Snipers is an exception to this).
Use Redeploy – Gears Tactics
Heavy are valuable defensive gunners. They were made to look down upon enemies advancing with the vast field of Overwatch flames. Upgrade their gear later so they carry tons of ammo, and the late-game extreme shot ability allows them to empty the entire mag until the enemy dies. Dodge that, buddy.
Heavy goods can move and shoot, but they are at their best when firing from a fixed position for as long as possible. With each shot, heaven builds a pile of anchors (accuracy +10% and damage +15%), turning them into hashes after the second or third photo. There are different, valid ways to build heavy, but for me, maintaining these stacks as you reposition is crucial: hit redeploy at the end of the round to move a heavy AP without loss anchor.
Reviving a downed character
When one of your squad bleeds during Gears tactics, you need to act fast to revive them as the grasshoppers will do them in a day or two. When you have another squad close by, it’s better to use the respawn ability to help get the equipment down to your feet. This will grant them all three actions they normally initiate one after the other.
Once per mission for lower difficulties can use self-heal to get up without help, but they will only have one action this way and it won’t be available if they are broken again. Save self-heal for dire situations, and use the ability to revive teammates whenever you can (also know that self-healing isn’t an option in the two harder difficulty levels).
Wait for cooldowns
Later in the campaign, many of the Gears tactics missions involve fighting your way to a portal or bridge, then opening it to progress to your second objective. Once you have cleared all the locusts in the area, wait a few times before entering the objective circle. This can help you refresh some long cooldown abilities like grenades, but don’t sit around for too long, we tried this trick a few times, and once the game dropped some new grasshoppers on me after I failed to set up for three turns. Take a gasp, not a nap.