- Publisher: Microsoft Studios
- Developer: The Coaliton
- MSRP: $40 For Standard – $60 Deluxe
- Rated: M
- Release Date: August 25th, 2015
- Platform: Xbox One
- Rating: ★★★★☆
To start off with what Microsoft calls their best fall lineup ever in the history of Xbox, we start with Gears of War Ultimate Edition. It was almost 9 years ago since the original Gears of War launched; it changed how a lot of people game and certainly was a system seller for the Xbox 360. Graphics, gameplay, and a new IP from Microsoft certainly paid off and spawned a Gears Nation. Now 9 years later, 2 sequels to the original and 1 prequel, we are treated to a full remaster of the title from Microsoft’s still new studio The Coalition. For handling the remaster from the ground up, The Coalition has proved what they can do and do in a tight time-table. These factors make me excited for what The Coalition can bring to the series when they launch the next Gears of War in 2016. For all of the successes of this remaster, it still does come with its own problems.
For those who haven’t played Gears of War before, this is a third person shooter with an interesting and easy to use cover mechanic. The planet of Sera is under attack and has been for 14 years from an underground enemy called the locust who are hell-bent on destroying the human race. Using weapons such as a shotgun called the gnasher with a wide-spread that can obliterate enemies, to an assault rifle with the trademark chainsaw bayonet to slice your enemies in half, you lead a squad as Marcus Fenix. Marcus was a prisoner who has been brought back into the fight with the help of longtime friend Dominic Santiago who breaks you out of prison to help stop the locust horde. Your objective is given from your superiors and the military to detonate a bomb that will stop the locust horde once and for all. Set pieces and locations are done beautifully with great looking disaster pieces. Bombing out buildings and more really make you realize how much the war has taken a toll on your squad, the characters, and the planet itself.
The Gears Of War Ultimate Edition is the ultimate treat for long time Gears of War fans; it is especially good for those who are new to the series. In addition to the game itself, when Microsoft launches their backwards compatibility this fall players of the Ultimate Edition will also get versions of Gears of War 1, 2, 3, and the prequel Gears of War Judgement to play on Xbox One. That already makes it an enticing package, but every aspect of the game has been redone from the cinematics, to set pieces, and even character models. The story is obviously the same with the addition of a few extra chapters to play from the PC release of the game. Other additions from the PC version include the PC exclusive maps which have all been redone as well. All the multiplayer maps have been redone and splendidly so. 60FPS with 1080p visuals can make for a jarring experience for longtime players at first, but one that I now prefer.
Throughout the campaign there were a few game breaking bugs that occurred which were the same from the 360 version. From holes in the floor on the bullet train level in the final act, to even what I called the elevator wretch who would fall to the floor then fly all the way to the ceiling and back down, it was frustrating that they hadn’t fixed these glitches.
Playing in Co-Op throughout the campaign on insane made me realize one thing, though, that this game is way better to play in Co-Op. As I was playing through the game in Co-Op, on the side I would occasionally play it by myself to see how my A.I Partner Dom would act. Dom would sometimes just run out into gunfire or wouldn’t follow me when I needed him to. These problems could cause problems for myself having to revive my teammate on just idiotic mistakes on several occasions. I would highly recommend playing this Co-Op as the A.I can sometimes be completely broken.
Packed in is the mode that was tested among millions was the multiplayer. Multiplayer is thankfully perfected in this package. 60 FPS, dedicated servers, and plenty of new modes along with classic favorites. Team Deathmatch has been added in and is a great addition to the roster. In private matches, a two person spectator mode has been added to watch matches as they unfold. This will be perfect for e-sports matches and competitive play. A total of 20 maps are included and have all been fully redone from the ground up in terms of visuals. In general, the quality of matches continue to get better and better the more I have played. When playing in a 2v2 gnasher execution playlist I could only blame my partner and I for our defeat, because their was no lag, no issues of any kind I could find. This is Gears multiplayer at it’s finest. New characters have been added for multiplayer including the female leads from Gears of War 3. Weapon skins for customization including animated skins for the lancer and gnasher are included in the package. Some can be purchased from the Xbox store if you don’t have deluxe version, but if skins are not your thing then I recommend that you stick with the $40 standard version to get the main experience.
To round out the complete package, the Ultimate Edition also includes digital comic books to highlight the Gears Of War lore from past events before the locust emerged. Concept art, and videos to see of the whole Gears of War experience is the cherry on top of this collection.
Gears of War Ultimate Edition is a fantastic remaster. They rebuilt the game from the ground up and this is exactly how Gears should be with cinematography and multiplayer all redone. Despite a few bugs here and there, Microsoft and The Coalition know how to start off a beginning of what is the fall of Xbox with this great remaster of one of the best games ever made.