In 2006 Epic Games released the first Gears of War, which went on to be one of the most iconic video games of the 360 era, and spawned a legion of fans, which I’m a part of. Nearly 10 years later The Coalition has taken this classic and spruced it up for the Xbox One, and I must say that the developer did a superb job remastering this game.
The visuals are vastly improved with cutscenes that feel like current-gen cinematics, and a new 7.1 remastered soundtrack that takes the game’s sound design to new heights. The inclusion of various Gears of War 3 gameplay tropes also help to make Gears Ultimate feel like a modern title even though it’s almost 10 years old, not to mention the massive amount of multiplayer maps, and of course the five new chapters from the PC version of Gears of War, which are now playable on a console for the first time.
Head on down below to check out the full review. The script is embedded after it for your reading pleasure. Gears of War: Ultimate Edition hits the Xbox One on August 25, 2015.
Hey there COG lovers Matt Heywood here for EntertainmentBuddha.com to bring you a video review of The Coalition’s Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, which is a remaster of the original Gears first created by Epic Games for the Xbox 360.
First things first, since this is a remaster of an existing video game I’m not going to touch on aspects of the game that people already know such as the story, characters, and gameplay. I want to discuss the changes to the game’s visuals and audio, the new campaign chapters, and the expansive multiplayer mode, which now features 19 maps!
With that being said I do have to say that the gameplay in general still suffers from repetitive tropes such as moving from one checkpoint to the next with pop and cover gunfights in between, as well as brain dead AI teammates, but considering how much I, and probably most of you who will buy this game loved the original, I’m sure its outdated gameplay model can be forgiven. Plus, many of the campaign and co-op campaign improvements featured in Gears 3 carry over to Gears Ultimate, so in general the gameplay feels a little more fresh and modern than it did in 2006.
Alright, let’s get down to the good stuff, the game’s new 1080p visuals, overhauled cutscenes, and the remastered audio, which is now available in 7.1 surround sound for the first time.
As soon as you fire Gears of War: Ultimate up it will smack your eyes in their retinas thanks to the very noticeable graphical improvements, which easily rival the work 343 achieved with its Halo 1 and Halo 2 remasters. In fact, the visuals look so much better than the original that I wished The Coalition included a toggle feature between the old and new graphics like 343 did with its Halo remasters, just to see how staggering the upgrades are.
Everything has been improved upon visually. The environments feel much more alive thanks to the increased lighting and highly detailed background textures. The characters are more defined, especially in their faces, and don’t appear as Hulk-like as before. You can even notice subtle differences in their armor such as coloring, trinkets, and battle damage, making them all appear to be unique armor sets.
The most noticeable visual improvements outside of the in-game environments are the completely overhauled cutscenes, which look very similar to the level of graphics you’d expect in a game released in 2015. You can’t even tell that this game is almost 10 years old when you watch the new cutscenes. They have a much more cinematic feel, which helps to flesh out the game’s story even better than before.
The remastered audio is also quite noticeable, so if you have a 7.1 surround sound system, or a killer headset, prepare to have your ear drums entertained with multiple channels of audio goodness. I can’t really portray the sound well in a video review, so you’ll just have to take my word for it, because that’s what Marcus Fenix would want you to do.
The highly improved visuals help to flesh out the game’s characters a bit more this time around, but the inclusion of 5 new chapters in the game’s fifth act, which were previously only available in the PC version of Gears of War, really do help to detail the game’s plot a bit more, especially the tension between Baird and Marcus, as well as Marcus and His dad. You get to witness some contentious exchanges between Baird and Marcus which weren’t present in the first console version that do explain why Baird was such a dick to Marcus in Gears 1.
I thoroughly enjoyed these moments, and feel the 5 new chapters make the game’s campaign even better than before, if not more thorough in terms of its narrative. The Brumack fight is pretty radical too, and definitely adds a new formidable challenge towards the end of the campaign.
Unfortunately, having Gears Ultimate early meant that getting into multiplayer matches was nearly impossible, but I did play some split screen local to check out a few of the maps to take in their visual improvements, and I can tell you they all look as impressive as the campaign’s environments. I also played heavily in the beta, and can tell you that playing Gears multiplayer matches in 1080p at 60fps is a thing of beauty, just like it was in the Halo: Master Chief Collection.
Let’s be real with ourselves gamers, if you love the Gears of War franchise you will enjoy what The Coalition did with Gears Ultimate. It truly is the Ultimate Gears of War 1 experience thanks to the visual, audio, and gameplay improvements, as well as the staggering amount of multiplayer content, and the new unlockable Gears of War digital comics.
While it still suffers from a few core gameplay issues from the original, Gears of War Ultimate is a fantastic remaster, and very deserving of an Entertainment Buddha 98/100 rating. It’s well worth the $39.99 asking price, which also gets you into the Gears 4 multiplayer beta. Just don’t get wrapped up in buying all of the cosmetic DLC, which like Gears 3 is plentiful.
What are you waiting for soldier? There are E-holes that need closing, so get your asses to the nearest video game store to relive one of the greatest video games from the Xbox 360 era!
Thanks for watching, this is Matt Heywood for EntertainmentBuddha.com signing off to fight the good fight! DOn’t forget to hit up the site on a daily basis to make yourself a better geek, one post at a time!
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Review Statement: The author of this review received a code from the publisher for the purposes of this review.