Also available on Xbox Series X and Windows
Hivebusters is a short story-based DLC for Gears 5 that tells the story of Scorpio Squad, a secret squad with the also secret Hivebuster program. Their mission is to destroy a Swarm hive underneath a fairly remote island. Success could mean saving not only the people of the island but Sera itself.
Let’s start with the bad parts of Hivebusters to get it out of the way because I really did enjoy this DLC, and I want to end the review on a positive note. First and foremost, it’s too expensive. If you have Game Pass, you’re good to go, and if you buy Gears 5 as the Game of the Year edition, it’s included, so you’re solid there. If you’ve had Gears 5 since well before this DLC, though, you’ve got to cough up $20 for it, and that brings me to my second complaint; it’s too short. Hivebusters is AWESOME, but it’s only about three hours long, and I can’t help but feel like $20 is too steep for that little content. The characters you play as are fantastic, and a bit more content could have really fleshed out who they are and their motivations and their relationships with one another really well not to mention actually justifying the $20 cost of entry. Granted, Gears 5 itself isn’t a terribly long game, but even so, you got a roughly twelve-hour campaign plus a handful of different multiplayer modes for $60 vs a three-hour campaign here for $20. It’s just a bit steep.
With that said, while there isn’t a lot of content in terms of how long the campaign lasts, what content the DLC does give you is truly fantastic. It may not feature Del or JD or Marcus, but it’s definitely pure Gears of War, and the characters that do feature in the game are written and acted beautifully. I know it’s very unlikely to happen for Gears 5, but I’d love to see more of them maybe in Gears 6 or as a Gears 6 DLC. Not only does Hivebusters star characters for you to get to know, but it also sheds some light on a little of the politics within the COG beyond Chairman Prescott and First Minister Jinn. For someone who loves not only the action that Gears of War provides but also the lore and world that the series has built, this was a major selling point for me.
Gears 5: Hivebusters is an absolute must-play if you have Game Pass since it’s included, and if you have or are planning to get the GOTY edition of Gears 5, then obviously, you need to play it when you finish the main Gears 5 story. If you have Gears 5 normally, though, and would need to buy the DLC separately as I did, it’s a tougher sell. It’s definitely a fun experience, and if you’re a big Gears fan like I am, then it’s definitely worth the money. If you’re just an average fan of the series but not super into, though, that $20 asking price is definitely kind of high for how short it is. Maybe throw it on a wishlist and wait for it to go on sale. If you do end up playing it, though, it’s a hell of a good time.