Reviews of Gears 5 are now live, and while it has received some predictably glowing reviews – including top marks from God is a Geek, along with several 9/10s – not every critic was smitten by the eagerly awaited blockbuster.

The Metro opted for a 7/10, claiming that “the open world areas are largely pointless” while describing the plot as weak. It seems the are in the minority, though, as many reviewers claim it’s a step forward for storytelling, more heartfelt and emotional than past Gears games. US Gamer went for an even more disappointing 3/5, meanwhile, billing the MP Escape mode “a mess”.

Nevertheless, it still stands proud with an 85% Metacritic currently. ”This game is to Gears of War and Xbox what 2018’s God of War was for Sony. It’s a bombastic yet heartfelt entry into a beloved series; it’s gorgeous, sounds great, plays brilliantly – it’s at once a showcase for the high-end hardware available, and for where Xbox could be heading with its next console and the games we’ll see on it,” said God is a Geek.

Plenty of other sites declared it the best Xbox One exclusive in a long, long, time too.

We’ve rounded up reviews below:  

10/10 – God is a Geek: If you didn’t think you needed another Gears of War, you were wrong. Gears 5 is a barnstorming success, and a triumphant return for the series. This is the essential first party game the Xbox One desperately needed.

90% – Gaming Trend: Gears 5 is an impressive evolution in the Gears of War series with a campaign that feels like a huge leap forward and a dizzying amount of excellent multiplayer modes. The story isn’t without its issues, especially the final act which I’m sure will draw controversy, but that does little to hold back this awesome next chapter in the Gears saga.

9/10 – TSA: Gears 5 is a brilliant experience which can be enjoyed alone or with friends in equal measure. It keeps much of the series’ core gameplay and feel, but also takes it in some new directions. It’s great to see Gears evolving, opening the door for even more positive changes in the future.

90/100 – VentureBeat: Gears 5 has a lot to offer, with multiplayer, co-op modes, and a single-player campaign with wide range of emotions, from humor and laughter to despair and tragedy. It leaves the fans with a bit of a cliffhanger ending, but that just means that fans will want Gears 6 to come soon.

8.5 – GameInformer: Gears 5 is exactly what it needs to be. This old war vet still packs a punch. The open-world exploration has issues, but that isn’t enough to steal away the thunder The Coalition expertly deploys on the battlefield. The campaign is a fun ride that concludes with a shocker moment and a hell of a setup for a sequel. I’m already looking forward to that follow-up.

4/5 – EGM: Gears 5 makes major strides in the series’ approach to storytelling. This is the most heartfelt Delta Squad has ever been, and The Coalition backs up that emotion with genuine improvements to gameplay. While its new co-op mode, Escape, is generally underwhelming, Arcade mixes up the competitive meta enough to keep things interesting. All told, Gears 5 is more Gears, but it’s also a bold statement for why this series is still relevant.

4/5 – GamesRadar: Gears 5 biggest changes don’t reinvent the series, but give the classic shooter more room to breathe. Let Gears be Gears.

The Verge – Gears 5 is unexpectedly phenomenal. It’s the best game Microsoft has published in many years, perhaps not counting anything with “Forza Horizon” in the title, and establishes The Coalition as a serious creative force. Even if you’ve never been interested in Gears of War, I’d recommend checking this one out on Xbox Game Pass at least — it’s about as good as blockbuster shooters get.

7/10 – The Metro: The attempts to innovate in terms of storytelling and structure feel superficial and ineffective, leaving Gears 5 to survive purely on its increasingly overfamiliar action

3/5 – US Gamer: Gears 5 survives on its solid cover shooting gameplay and a campaign that isn’t afraid to pose difficult questions about problematic topics. But the largely stagnant Horde mode and general mess of an Escape mode really pull the sequel back from being a bold step forward.

Gears 5’s Deluxe Edition is out Friday. The standard edition launches 10th September.