Maybe I should go back to Judgment! I was recently going through the Gears campaigns for the first time, but I skipped Judgment and 4 based off what seemed like the critical consensus.
For me I’d rank them something like 2 >> 1 >= 5 >> 3.
I liked the atmosphere and the focused storytelling of Gears 1 though it did feel a bit basic; 2 was my favorite with its variety and bombast (though the emotional moments felt like reaches); I didn’t like 3 at all even though some people seemed to consider it the best: warzone mentality felt lost in the stream of things the game shouted at you (“shoot the pods!”/”Glowies!”/"Reavers!”), we got unmotivated objectives like “turn on the 3 machines” instead of the laser focus of the first two games, plus the setting felt indistinct.
5 I liked okay, more than you seemed to. Shooting felt great, some smart gameplay tweaks, bit too much of the mini-bosses, bit too much time in abandoned labs, open world parts felt designed more for coop play than single player. New (at least since 3) characters were decent, an over-reliance on cutscene storytelling. The first act was the best, 2nd had some decent atmosphere, and 3rd is where it started feeling repetitive.
It was interesting reading about some of the background of Judgment and 5.