“Hivebusters,” a new Gears 5 campaign DLC, released last week and Microsoft has said very little about it. The Scorpio Squad origin story was launched to little fanfare and it’s too bad…because it’s quite good.
Sure, it might be easy to relegate it to a “well, it’s basically free” status since it’s part of the greatest deal in gaming (read: Xbox Game Pass) but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be getting a bigger marketing push.
Just as the Gears series proper has managed to keep surprising me when it comes to finding new ways to keep a seemingly limited cover-based third-person shooter fresh, “Hivebusters” is no different.
As I mentioned before, the fact that it’s essentially “free” with Game Pass made me think that they just slapped some story on the side of “Escape,” the PvE mode introduced with Gears 5, and called it a day. But it’s actually a nice, bespoke campaign expansion that has you following Scorpio Squad’s antics as they go on their first Swarm Hive mission.
It’s not too long — probably about 3-4 hours based on how the six chapters are laid out — but it doesn’t waste time getting to the action as you start off with a daring drop from a plane on fire and it doesn’t let up from there. There’s great banter between the leads including some chuckle-worthy exchanges as you explore the completely new, beautiful jungle South Islands: Weilehi and Galangi.
“Hivebusters” kind of makes me want to get an Xbox Series X now too. I’m playing it on Xbox One S and, while it runs smoothly enough, you can tell the array of colors and assets being used throughout would benefit from a beefier machine. Between this and eery-looking Medium dropping next month, the next-gen box is starting to build quite a compelling library.
Halo Infinite would’ve sealed the deal for me, but given how the reaction to the half-baked Cyberpunk 2077 has been, it’s probably a good thing they pushed it to next fall for more time in the oven.
But I digress…go play “Hivebusters” already. It’s DLC tied to Gears 5 that comes free with Game Pass and $20 without. Microsoft should be doing a better job of promoting the crap out of it, for sure.