Microsoft Studios has brought their iconic third-person cover-based shooter to the Xbox One, allowing fans to relive the story of the very first game in the franchise that won over the hearts of Xbox 360 players and made other console owners envious. Gears of War has been revived and modernized for the Xbox One with the Gears of War: Ultimate Edition.
Marcus Fenix, Cole, Baird, and Dom are on a mission to wipe their planet, Sera, free of the Locust infestation that lived in multitude underground. Surfacing through Emergence Holes, the underground tunnel system proves to be intricately utilized, eluding to a deeper sophistication of these beings.
Each of the main characters offer their own personality to the title that gives it its overall attitude. Fenix is a serious leader who is joined by his comrade, Domonic Santiago, known as Dom. The two are an unstoppable force with a strong bond. Damon Baird is the rebel who frequently debates with Fenix and his squad commands. Augustus Cole is the fun and outgoing squad mate, known as “Cole Train”. The cumulation of these particular characters proves to be a successful squad that gives Gears of War its personality.
As a personal opinion, Gears of War set the standard for third-person cover-based shooters. The running mechanics is one of the most memorable aspects of the gameplay. This has always been a feature that stood out, along with the weapons, and the COG soldier’s abnormally gargantuan-like physique.
The array of available weapons is the best part of combat. While the player can only carry three types of guns, there is an abundance of fierce, heavy artillery to choose from, that it is sometimes hard to leave any of them behind, in order to pick up another. Each has their own advantages and unique uses that it is sometimes in the player’s best interest to change them out. The Lancer is a predominant weapon of the series. Dubbed as the “Chainsaw Gun” by the fans, the Lancer allows the player to hack open the foes with the chainsaw part of the weapon. Another favorite for some close-range action is the Gnasher Shotgun that offers up the ultimate feeling of satisfaction when meleeing the enemies, aside from ripping them open with a Lancer, of course. The Hammer of Dawn is the mammoth weapon that relies on satellite transmissions that will shoot a laser from a satellite when aiming the gun at a more powerful enemy. Again, many insane weapons available to the player.
The game’s campaign can be played solo, or with another player via the split-screen mode or through a co-operative game. A player can either host or join an existing co-op game. The player who joins, assumes the role of Dom. The co-op mode offers seamless drop in and out abilities to allow for a quick join session.
Throughout the game, there are 33 COG TAGS left behind from soldiers of the COG military unit who have fallen before. As these are collected, War Journals are unlocked. The War Journals are displayed like comic books and are enjoyable to read. The player will want to ensure to collect all of the COG TAGS to get the entire story in each comic War Journal. Playing through the campaign will also unlock some extra cinematics.
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition has been built from the ground up and is now enhanced, allowing us to relive the Gears of War experience in 1080P on the Xbox One. The development teams, The Coalition and Splash Damage, promised beautifully recreated lighting, environments, characters, and cinematic scenes and successfully delivered.
Oddly enough, the game looks as we remember it back then. Fans will remember when we first popped Gears of War into our Xbox 360 and drooled over how gorgeous it looked. While playing Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, it looks just the way the original looked to us back then – stunning. When doing a comparison, that is when we realize just how far we’ve come in power and just how much better it truly looks.
The series is known for its iconic sounds from the weapons to the enemies, and everything in between, including the guitar riff that indicates the elimination of all of the enemies in a battle sequence. It is quite terrorizing to hear the sounds of the Locust coming through the speakers in every which way. It is great to be greeted, once again, by the iconic sounds of the series.
There were a handful of times in which sound popping was experienced. The sound would go out for a few seconds and occurred during the beginning of the game. This took a little away from the experience during those times, we can only hope that there is a patch coming out, upon the game’s release.
As a disclaimer, the game’s multiplayer mode was not able to be tested during the review time-frame, due to the lack of joinable rooms. However, the co-op game mode was tested through both local network games and online through Xbox LIVE and it worked seamlessly.
It is the perfect time to bring the game that started the series back in 1080P and includes a multiplayer that is promised to run at 60 frames per second. Being beautifully retold, the aesthetics bring the story back to life for fans and newcomers to the series alike. Not only does Gears of War: Ultimate Edition include the original Gears of War game, but also all-new campaign content that meshes perfectly into the original story of the game and some additions to the multiplayer action, including plenty of multiplayer maps.
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition will be released on August 25th. It can be purchased for $39.99 or in an Xbox One bundle for $349.99. Picking up the game will open up access to the upcoming Gears of War 4 multiplayer beta, as well. The price point alone, is a great deal for the rebuilt title, access to the Gears of War 4 multiplayer beta, and the extra content. However, for those who pick up the game between launch and December 31st, will also be able to access Gears of War, Gears of War 2, Gears of War 3 and Gears of War: Judgment in Backward Compatibility, when the service launches in the fall. Plus, we are now able to utilize the Xbox One functions, such as broadcasting and game streaming on the titles.
The price can’t be beat for the experience it offers the player, whether it is being relived or played for very the first time.