Gears of War: Ultimate Edition (XB1) Review

Justin Celani

Grinding gears in all the right ways.

Gears of War defined the Xbox 360 for a lot of players. Focusing on Marcus Fenix and his rage tag Delta Squad crew, set in this unique and gritty post apocalypse world. There is no doubt while years after and 3 sequels later, we have a remaster of the one that started it all. It was filled with fantastic third person gameplay and world filled with dread. We now have a completely remade version by the new GEARS teams The Coalition and folks are wondering if it’s worth pulling the chainsaw lancer back out from the closet. Two words, hell yes!

For those unfamiliar with the franchise, Gears of War is set on the fictional planet of Sera, a planet that was harboring a threat they never saw coming, right under their noses. The Locust Horde attacked the planet suddenly and in the battle to stop them, humanity and the planet itself suffered immensely. Mass exodus of human life and a war torn world, with buildings only holding preserved memories of what once was. Luckily there is still some hope, and with that the Delta Squad rescues Marcus Fenix from confinement. Can he along with Delta Squad stop the horde?

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MSRP: $39.99
Platforms: XB1
Price I’d Pay: $39.99
Multiplayer: 2 player co-op, 8 competitive
How long to beat: 10+ Hours

The crew and story that transpires is very fondly remembered and players will get to re-experience those memories again. With remakes that are done properly, this can be something that truly makes the experience feel new and fresh, even though the source material is the same. Gears of War Ultimate definitely falls within that category. Environments, textures, characters and more have all been redone and looks fantastic. Having just seen only screenshots prior to release, some might expect the visuals to look very familiar, yet take a closer look. The jump in quality is extremely high and the amount of work to get this accomplished must have been daunting.

The Ultimate version looks like a next generation game, with all the bells and whistles of new effects. It’s a shame that GEARS 2 and 3 won’t receive the same remake treatment but that thought only comes across because of how well done this version has turned out.

The original game was extremely tight in design and gameplay. Nothing is lost in the transition here and if anything it feels as if it’s even more refined, if that’s possible. Players can even issue out basic squad commends such as fire and regroup now. Sound design is as excellent as ever with a fantastic soundtrack and great audio cues from the gun effects and chainsaw revs. Another new addition is the inclusion of redone cut scenes. These scenes are shot better, have more detail in them, and generally make the story even more presentable then in the first game. The amount of detail and certain shots just add an even more cinematic feel to the game then prior. The only concern is during some cut scenes, it seems as if it’s loading at the start which can cause some stuttering at the beginning, otherwise they run just fine.

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Multiplayer returns as a fan favorite and considering Gears of War 1 was a lot of players first huge multiplayer experience, it’s important to get this right. Thankfully it seems nothing was lost in the transition and now it runs at 60fps. The matches I had ran smoothly but how well it runs once the servers go live is anyone’s guess. As long as it holds up as it does now, players jumping back into Gears for the multiplayer, will have nothing to worry about. Also included are new modes like team death match and king of the hill. Overall, it’s got more features in both the single player and the multiplayer modes.

Gears of War defined my personally Xbox 360 experience and many others. A franchise that is loved dearly by its many fans. Which makes it painfully obvious that The Coalition has just as much love for the series as we do and that it’s in good hands. The remake is a fantastic trip down memory lane, bringing arguable the best Gears of War game back and better than ever. If you already own an Xbox One and enjoyed the franchise, this is a must have title. I expect some will be jumping on board in purchasing the system just for this title alone, and I wouldn’t blame them in the slightest.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Good

  • Love letter to the original
  • Improved graphically
  • New features
  • 60fps Multiplayer

Bad

  • Cut scene stutter
9.5

Excellent

Justin Celani

Justin is a long time passionate fan of games, not gaming drama. He loves anything horror related, archaeology inspired adventures, RPG goodness, Dr Pepper, and of course his family. When it comes to crunch time, he is a beast, yet rabies free we promise.

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