Mobility Review – Gears Tactics

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Gears Tactics Accessibility

Individual scores

  • Keyboard and Mouse - 10
  • Remappable Controls - 10

Amongst my friend group, I am affectionately referred to as the one who “loathes strategy games.” While the turn-based mechanics are certainly beneficial for my disability, I often flounder at activating specific buttons to execute precise orders, on top of micromanaging a multitude of units and structures. Yet, I find myself enjoying Gears Tactics immensely. With an incredibly addictive campaign, coupled with accessibility features that are the epitome of perfection for physically disabled players, Gears Tactics is arguably among my top three favorite games of 2020.

Developed by Splash Damage and The Coalition, and published by Xbox Game Studios, Gears Tactics follows Gabe Diaz and Sid Redburn as they embark on a critical mission to eliminate the diabolical Locust scientist, Ukkon. In order to effectively combat the varying hordes of Grubs, Diaz and Redburn must recruit Gears, as well as collect weapons and armor upgrades throughout each excursion. In true Gears fashion, missions are filled with egregious amounts of violence, immense examples of bravado and an emotionally compelling campaign.

From a gameplay perspective, Gears Tactics employs mechanics like strategy titles such as XCOM. While certain missions restrict the use of soldiers, most levels allow players to control four Gears through turn-based actions. For the physically disabled, the unlimited time between turns is crucial for strategizing and conserving energy. As each mission features an overwhelming number of enemies, disabled individuals can take their time before committing to specific actions.

Thankfully, the physical accessibility behind Gears Tactics extends far beyond turn-based combat. As soon as new players activate the game, an accessibility menu featuring fully customizable controls is presented. Prior to even encountering a potential barrier within the first mission, Gears Tactics ensures that disabled individuals can enter the game with a control scheme that is beneficial for the completion of the game.

Demonstrating the ability to fully customize controls in the options menu.

To coincide with the capability to remap controls, Gears Tactics dramatically increases its overall physical accessibility through its ease of access. Every action, from equipping new gear and skills, to casting abilities and moving around the map can be completed with the left and right mouse buttons. Not only does this remove the necessity for complex controls, it also ensures that disabled players can tirelessly spend hours enjoying each gaming session without the need for breaks.

Demonstrating the ability to change equipment modifications with the mouse.
Demonstrating the ability to equip different abilities with just the mouse.
Demonstrating the ability to reposition characters in the overworld with the mouse.
Demonstrating the ability to perform character abilities with just the mouse.

I normally spend paragraphs delving into accessibility features, critiquing both the positives and negatives on a granular scale. But Gears Tactics doesn’t require an in-depth examination. It’s so simplistic in the best possible way, that I would rather not bog down a review with superfluous descriptions. This game is perfect. Enough said.

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Grant Stoner

Grant Stoner enjoys running in video game worlds because his legs won't let him do so in real life. You can follow his accessible thoughts and ramblings on Twitter @Super_Crip1994

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