When Gears Tactics was first announced back at E3 2018, which feels like 10 years ago, I was excited. I had never thought about it until then, but Gears of War seemed like a perfect fit for a turn-based strategy game, similar to XCOM. It turns out I was right to be excited. Gears of War, with its big dudes and scary monsters, is a perfect match for this kind of game.
There is no way to talk about Gears Tactics without at least mentioning XCOM, one of the most beloved strategy game franchises of all time. XCOM is what all turn-based tactical strategy games must be compared to forever and ever. Them the rules. And yes, at first glance, Tactics has a lot in common with the popular alien invasion simulator. You move small squads of soldiers around different levels, one turn at a time, using cover and elevation to avoid or ambush enemies. You can put a soldier in overwatch, having them observe an area, ready to shoot when an enemy enters their line of sight. You can even customize soldiers in both games, naming them after friends and dressing them in different colored armor. You might mistake Tactics as a reskinning of XCOM.
But it is a much different game in a lot of interesting ways.