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How to kill the Gears 5 matriarch

The matriarch is one of the toughest bosses in Gears 5. Here’s how you put her down.

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retro lancer gears 5 matriarch

The matriarch is one of the toughest bosses in Gears 5. Here’s how you put her down.

The second chapter of Gears 5 – don’t worry, there won’t be any spoilers – sees our heroes exploring a semi-open world environment, like the jeep in Uncharted 4, or the boat in God of War. They’re looking for a specific location by searching for radio signals, but there are also a bunch of other optional objectives to explore.

When you find the main objective, the game warns you that you won’t be able to proceed, then you’re funnelled into a more traditional Gears of War locale. In short, the open area is switched for an enclosed one, full of corridors and waist-high walls.

At the end of that sequence, which also features a lot of exposition, you’ll have to fight your way out. (It may be a thoroughly modern Gears game, but it’s still a Gears game.)

The majority of the enemies are standard swarm drones, combined with some of the frightening, Predator-like sires we’ve seen before in Gears of War 2. To do this, you’ll have some of the retro COG equipment, including the first-generation Lancer (with a traditional bayonet and no chainsaw attachment), the gnasher shotgun, and a metal pipe. Yes, a pipe. You’ll also be treated to a new heavy weapon, the cryo cannon. This is especially handy for freezing the speedy sires and slowing their approach.

Then comes the matriarch. She’s a big beast, somewhere in the region of 3-4 metres tall, and probably weight as much as half a tonne. She’s an analogue of the berserker from earlier games. Like the berserker, the matriarch is blind, so she locates enemies by sound or smell. And when she finds you? She charges and attempts to pummel you to death. Which she does, with so many one-hit kills.

You’re going to have to kill the matriarch if you want to complete chapter 2 and progress the story in Gears 5. Here’s how you do it.

Killing the Gears 5 matriarch – first phase

When you first run into the matriarch in Gears 5, she’s introduced of being vulnerable to cold. Then when she bursts through the wall into a confined atrium for the final confrontation, she steps onto an icy pond, falls through the surface, and freezes solid. Temporarily, at least. That’s clue number one.

She’s also heavily armoured, covered from head to toe in solid spikes and spines. A head-on attack will do no good here. But you get your second clue when she turns around – she has one of those glowing red blisters in the middle of her back.

In the first phase, that’s all you really need to know. Stand across the opposite side of an icy pond – there are three in the arena – then when the matriarch charges, shoot the ice beneath her feet to plunge her into the frigid waters. She’ll freeze solid for 5-10 seconds, so hotfoot it behind her and unload everything you’ve got onto that glowing red weak spot.

When she unfreezes, she’ll charge, so get ready to dive out of the way, then position yourself on the opposite side of a pond again. If you’ve been quiet, she’ll be disoriented and unable to locate you. You can take an opportunity to ping her once on the weak spot with a high-powered weapon – like a oneshot or boltok if you have one – to deal a little extra damage. But really, this is to encourage the matriarch to run back over the pond again, so be ready to shoot that ice.

Once you’ve dealt enough damage, and chiselled her health down by about a third, she’ll disappear into the distance and exercise some telepathic powers to interfere with Kait’s vision. The tactic remains the same – wait for the matriarch to approach, shoot the ice – but your visibility is significantly reduced. It’s here that playing co-op with a human Del really comes in handy.

Drop her back in the ice, hit her again, then you’re onto the second phase.

Killing the Gears 5 matriarch – second phase

During the second phase, the matriarch will have picked up a couple of new tricks. The first is a piercing scream, which can temporarily phase and incapacitate players. The second is a ranged attack, where she rips one of the spikes from her back and throws it at one of our heroes.

For the most part, you’ll be repeating the ice pond/shoot the weak spot strategy from the first phase. But when you hear a loud crack – of the matriarch pulling a spike from her back – get ready to dodge. The thrown projectiles home in a little bit, which doesn’t seem very fair, and immediately knock down the target. You’ll have to remove the spike by mashing the ‘B’ button, before either the spike kills you, or the matriarch flattens you while you can’t move away.

Lather, rinse and repeat, until you’ve knocked another third off the Matriarch’s health, and she’ll wield those telepathic powers again. Be patient, ping the ice when she gets close, then you’re onto the third phase.

Killing the Gears 5 matriarch – third phase

In the third phase, the matriarch mixes things up a bit, and changes the patterns we’ve grown familiar with. (A bit unfairly, we might argue.)

For starters, that single thrown projectile has turned into a fan of spikes that fire in every direction. That means she can hit any and all of the players on the field at once.

What’s more concerning, however, is that consistent, direct running approach has been swapped for a jumping aerial attack. This means you can’t rely on dropping her into the ice so easily, just by positioning a pond directly between you and her current position. One of the best techniques we found was to stand yourself in the middle of a pond, then let the thrown projectile hit you. When you hammer ‘B’ to remove the projectile, she’ll set for an aerial attack, as she can hear you struggling with the spike. That should give you just enough time to remove the spike and roll out of the way; then she should be standing on some fragile ice and you can drop her in as normal.

When the matriarch is whittled down to low health, then she’ll use that telepathic power to impact Kait’s vision again. This time, it’ll stay that way until the end of the fight. Again, this is a scenario where it’s incredibly useful to have a human playing as Del. When you’ve dealt enough damage in this final phase, the matriarch will be down, and you’re free to progress the story.

General tips for the Gears 5 matriarch fight

  • If you’re like us, you carry any heavy weapons you find with you, just in case. The only heavy weapon you’ll have for the Gears 5 matriarch fight is the cryo cannon, and it’s a bit of a red herring. Yes, you can technically use it to freeze her in place, but it takes a lot longer than dunking her in the icy water, and you’re far more vulnerable when lugging a heavy weapon around (as you’re unable to dodge and roll).
  • Likewise, don’t try to attack the matriarch when she freezes in the pond as part of her scripted entrance. That’s also a bit of a red herring. By the time you’ve run around behind her and unloaded a few rounds, you’ll be standing right in her path – she always leaves the icy waters in the same direction at the start of the fight – and it’s not worth the increased risk.
  • Jack is fairly useless in this fight, sadly. His upgraded shock ability – if you find all the cooling tech in the semi-open section – can deal some cold damage, but it’s not enough to freeze the matriarch in place. Meanwhile, he can’t help players who are downed by the spike projectiles, and pretty much any direct contact with the matriarch is an instant kill, so his revive abilities are also negated.
  • Stick with the retro lancer for this fight. There are a few other weapons dotted around, but the lancer is your best bet. It’s not as accurate and has stronger recoil than the modern version, but it’s still your easiest way to do damage in a short space of time. If you’re quick, you can almost unload two full clips into the matriarch’s weak spot before she breaks free of the ice and escapes. There are also ammo boxes dotted around the edges of the arena, if you need them.
  • How long the phases last, and how long this fight takes, is dictated by how quickly and how much damage you can inflict while the matriarch’s frozen in ice. If you work fast, you can get onto the second phase with just one dip in the ice. Don’t be greedy, though – if you’re still firing (and making noise) when she unfreezes, she might change direction and jump straight towards you.
  • As we mentioned before, it’s much more difficult to complete this section as a single player. AI Del is far less adept at following the plan – shoot the ice, run around the back, hit the weak spot – than a real player.
  • Thankfully, the cut scene at the start of the Gears 5 matriarch fight is mercifully short. You’ll probably be seeing it quite a few times.
  • It’s cool to drop the difficulty if you need to. Honestly, it is. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise.

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Tom is an itinerant freelance technology writer who found a home as an Editor with Thumbsticks. Powered by coffee, RPGs, and local co-op.

Guides

What are the Cyberpunk 2077 system requirements?

You’ll only need a (surprisingly) modest PC to play Cyberpunk 2077.

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Cyberpunk 2077 system requirements
CD Projekt Red

You’ll only need a modest cyberdeck PC to play Cyberpunk 2077.

Cyberpunk 2077 is… something, isn’t it?

It’s everything people love about CD Projekt Red roleplaying games – expansive, detailed, mature – combined with plenty of not very good things about gaming. (Including pretending an incredibly political thing like Cyberpunk isn’t political to not put off your “gamer” audience, cultural appropriation, transphobia, racial stereotypes, more transphobia…)

But it is coming and, in spite of (perhaps because of, in some cases?) all these questionable elements, people are still excited for Cyberpunk 2077.

How powerful a cyberdeck PC will you need to play Cyberpunk 2077, though?

Minimum Cyberpunk 2077 system requirements

  • OS: Windows 7 or 10 (64-bit)
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-3579K or AMD FX-8310
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • GPU: Nvidia GTX 780 3 GB or AMD Radeon RX 470
  • DirectX: 12
  • Storage: 70 GB

Recommended Cyberpunk 2077 system requirements

  • OS: Windows 10 (64-bit)
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-4790 or AMD Ryzen 3 3200G
  • RAM: 12 GB
  • GPU: Nvidia GTX 1060 6GB or AMD Radeon R9 Fury
  • DirectX: 12
  • Storage: 70 GB SSD

Right. OK. There’s quite a bit to unpack there, reading more between the lines at what’s not said than what is included in the Cyberpunk 2077 system requirements.

First of all, we don’t know what those minimum and recommended Cyberpunk 2077 system requirements are targeting. It’s helpful – like Ubisoft did, with Watch Dogs Legion – when system requirements are published alongside the target resolution and frame rates you can hope to achieve.

Because, er, the Cyberpunk 2077 system requirements look pretty low, don’t they? The GTX 780 was a top-of-the-line graphics card… in 2013, while the RX 470 occupied the middle of the road when it released in 2016.

Even the recommended specs – which we would expect to target 1080p on High, at least – mention the relatively modest GTX 1060, a 4-year-old card which doesn’t feature more-recent technology like Nvidia’s real-time ray tracing, only available on its RTX-series cards.

There’s a little more “wait and see” in these system requirements than we’d normally like, but at least it will mean Cyberpunk 2077 runs on a wider array of lower-powered PCs. For better and for worse.

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What are the Watch Dogs Legion system requirements?

Smartphone? Check. 3D-printed taser? Check. Massive, impractical drone? Check. But what are the Watch Dogs Legion system requirements?

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Watch Dogs Legion system requirements
Ubisoft

Smartphone? Check. 3D-printed taser? Check. Massive, impractical drone? Check. But what are the Watch Dogs Legion system requirements?

Watch Dogs Legion launches on a bunch of systems over the next two months.

First, it’ll launch on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Google Stadia (yeah, remember that?) on October 29, 2020. Then a fortnight later, it’s a launch title for the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, on November 10. Then (if you’re in the right country) it’ll be a launch title on PlayStation 5 on November 12. Then, a week later, it’ll become available when the PS5 does, in the less fortunate countries.

That’s a lot of ways to play Watch Dogs Legion and, in practice, will mean a lot of different experiences between the generations. (Yeah, we’ve got a lot of that to look forward to over the next couple of years.)

The experience is not too dissimilar to PC gaming, where the performance any individual will receive is dependent on what hardware they have. Thankfully, Ubisoft has done a thoroughly comprehensive job of breaking down the Watch Dogs Legion system requirements based on target resolutions and settings. There’s even a section on Ray Tracing, a feature (currently) only available on Nvidia’s RTX series of cards.

But what are the Watch Dogs Legion system requirements?

Watch Dogs Legion system requirements

1080p / Low Settings

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-4460 / AMD Ryzen 5 1400
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 or AMD Radeon R9 290X
  • VRAM: 4 GB
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Storage: 45 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

1080p / High Settings

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-4790 / AMD Ryzen 5 1600
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 480
  • VRAM: 6 GB
  • RAM: 8 GB (Dual-channel setup)
  • Storage: 45 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

1440p / High Settings

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-7700K / AMD Ryzen 5 2600
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060S or AMD Radeon RX 5700
  • VRAM: 8GB
  • RAM: 16 GB (Dual-channel setup)
  • Storage: 45 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

4K / Ultra Settings

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-9700K / AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti or AMD Radeon VII
  • VRAM: 11 GB
  • RAM: 16 GB (Dual-channel setup)
  • Storage: 45 GB (+ 20 GB HD Textures Pack)
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

1080p / High Settings (with Ray Tracing)

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-9600K / AMD Ryzen 5 3600
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
  • VRAM: 8 GB
  • RAM: 16 GB (Dual-channel setup)
  • Storage: 45 GB
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

4K / Ultra Settings (with Ray Tracing)

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-9700K / AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
  • VRAM: 11 GB
  • RAM: 16 GB (Dual-channel setup)
  • Storage: 45GB (+20 GB HD Textures Pack)
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (x64)

Pre-order Watch Dogs Legion on Amazon, or shop for Nvidia RTX-series graphics cards if your system needs a boost.

We may receive a small commission on purchases made from online stores.

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Where are the secret tapes in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2?

Finding all the Secret Tapes in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 doesn’t have to be as difficult as finding an IRL VHS in 2020.

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Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes Guide
Activision / Thumbsticks

Finding all the Secret Tapes in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 doesn’t have to be as difficult as finding an IRL VHS in 2020.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 is good. We have a review that says just that. Here’s a different review, if you need a second opinion. See? It’s good.

Additionally, you can find an in-depth feature on the impact the soundtrack had for the featured bands here. If you want to find every tape from the first game, click here. But if you’re looking for the tapes from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 read on.

Hangar

From the starting ramp, skate down into the section with the half-pipe and plane. Use the ramp on the far left to enter the area with the helicopter. Then, use the ramp to boost onto the helicopter and grind along its blades. This will cause the helicopter to take off, crashing through the wall and out of the hangar. Make the same exit, to find the Secret Tape suspended above the furthest ramp, which you can easily boost off to reach it.

School II

This one is a little more difficult. From the start, skate to the right and down the hallway to enter the courtyard. Skate forward to find a section with planters leading into ramps. Build up your special meter to gain speed, then boost off the leftmost ramp to get onto the awning. Wallride into a grind to access the rooftop, then make a hard stop. From here, you should see a ramp which you can ride off to reach a tape. But, be sure to line up your jump before you go or you may have to do this section all over again.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 school

New York

This one is pretty easy if you know what to do. (And a little tricky if your brightness settings are on the darker side.)

From the start, skate straight ahead until you see a pipe leaning against a fence. Grind up the pipe to reach New York’s second major area. Once you’re in, skate up the spiralling concrete ramp where you’ll see metal pipes leading most of the way to a floating Secret Tape. The trick here is to Ollie from the first pipe early and lean hard to the left to land on a second pipe which curves inward. Maintain your balance and you’ll easily get the tape.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 New York

Venice

This tape is deceptively easy to get. Skate forward from the start and look for the ramp above. Build up your special to gain some speed, then boost off the ramp, land, skate back toward the second table on the left. Ramp off it and you can pretty easily grab the tape.

Philadelphia

This one is straightforward. The Secret Tape is floating above the fountain on a wire. Follow the wire to its source, on an elevated planter nearby. Ollie up to the grass, then grind along the wire to grab the tape. If you keep going you can get the Vicarious Visions V, as well.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 Philadelphia

Missed our guide on the secret tape locations from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1? We’ve got a guide for that, too.

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Where are the secret tapes in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1?

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 brings back those pesky Secret Tapes. Here’s where to find them.

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Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes Guide
Activision / Thumbsticks

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 brings back those pesky Secret Tapes. Here’s where to find them.

The Tony Hawk games were always just really good 3D platformers — check out this video of Mario grinding all over Bo- Omb Battlefield if you don’t believe me. And, because they’re 3D platformers, each level has a ton of collectables hidden in hard-to-reach places. And in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, none is quite as elusive as the Secret Tape.

These glowing VHS tapes show up in every level, save the competitive stages like Burnside and Skate Park. If you’re anything like me, you’ll often see a tape and have no idea how to reach it. This guide is for you.

This article details how to find each tape in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. We’ll have a separate guide for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 later this week.

Warehouse

From the starting section, take the right ramp down into the more open area below. Here, you’ll see a half-pipe with a glassed-in room jutting out from the wall above. Build up speed until you can jump to the glassed-in room – this is easier if you’ve upgraded your skater’s speed stats – where you’ll find this level’s secret tape.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes

School

From your start position on the green awning, drop down and to the right. From here, you’ll see a concrete ramp leading to the roof of the school. Skate up there, then turn around and skate back toward the other side of the roof. You’ll see a pipe leading diagonally from the roof to the other green awning. Grind down it, or transfer from the ramp, to reach the awning. Skate it until it ends, then jump to grab the secret tape.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes

Mall

After manoeuvring around the twisty ramps at the beginning of the level, emerge into the main mall. Skate straight ahead until you reach the ramp overlooking the two sets of pipes – one on the ground and one suspended from the ceiling. Grind along the top set of pipes until you reach the tape at the end.

Downtown

Skate out of the alley where the level begins, then turn right and head up toward the movie theatre. From here, you should see a semi-truck with a bed that’s suspiciously ramp-like. Roll up the ramp and through the glass then follow the hallway across the sky bridge to the rooftops. Here, you’ll find a wooden pool with gaps in the sides that provide a ramp across the street to other buildings. You want to use the one that’s on your left as you enter the pool.

But, before you make the jump, you’ll need to build up some speed. This will be easier if you’ve levelled up your skater’s speed, ollie and hangtime stats. Once you’ve built enough speed, make the jump to the rooftop across the street where you’ll find the secret tape.

Downhill Jam

This is one of the trickier secret tapes to get. That is, at least for me, who has fallen while attempting the gap dozens, if not hundreds, of times.

That said, here’s how you (theoretically) do it. From the start, skate until you reach the diagonal pipe immediately before the halfpipe. Grind up it, then skate down the incline on the right side of the halfpipe until you reach another pipe. Grind across, then jump the gap. From here, you should be able to see the secret tape in the centre of the toilet bowl. Circle around, then jump onto the platform where the tape rests.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes

Streets

From the start position, skate down the brick path to the pair of buildings that separate the street from the fountain. Use the ramp to boost up toward the roof, then grind along the roof when you reach the proper height. Immediately stop and turn around, then follow the ramp until you reach the top of the building. Here, you’ll find a large wooden ramp overlooking a squat building with a glass roof. Ramp off, and break through the glass to earn Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater’s final secret tape.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 Secret Tapes

Okay. Now that you’ve acquired every tape, check out Tom’s feature on the bands that defined the series’ iconic soundtracks. And for more on Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 check back in later this week for our full review.

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What are the Horizon Zero Dawn system requirements?

Now that Horizon Zero Dawn has made the trip from PS4 exclusive to PC, you’ll need to know if your machine can handle it.

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horizon zero dawn system requirements
Guerrilla Games

Now that Horizon Zero Dawn has made the trip from PS4 exclusive to PC, you’ll need to know if your machine can handle it.

Rumours swirled for a long time before Horizon Zero Dawn’s PC release was officially announced. The fact that Death Stranding – which uses the Decima Engine developed for Horizon Zero Dawn – was announced (and subsequently released) for PC seemed to only add fuel to that fire.

Then, earlier this year, Horizon Zero Dawn’s PC release was confirmed by Sony.

The release window we were given at the time was “summer 2020” which was, after a time, narrowed down to August 7, 2020. That’s just two days away. But if you’re thinking of picking it up for PC, you’re going to need to know if your machine can handle it.

Minimum Horizon Zero Dawn system requirements

  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core [email protected] or AMD FX [email protected]
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 (3 GB) or AMD Radeon R9 290 (4GB)
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Storage: 100 GB available space

Recommended Horizon Zero Dawn system requirements

  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Processor: Intel Core [email protected] or Ryzen 5 [email protected]
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 (6 GB) or AMD Radeon RX 580 (8GB)
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Storage: 100 GB available space

All told, those aren’t too onerous, but we don’t know what the target resolutions and frame rates are for the “minimum” and “recommended” specs.

And it is a sign of the times that even the minimum Horizon Zero Dawn system requirements require at least 3 or 4GB of VRAM on your graphics card. That rules out a bunch of lower-end systems and cut-down, mobile graphics cards. The requirement for DirectX 12 will also automatically exclude some older, lower-end systems that might otherwise get close to the specs.

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