I`m always wary when it comes to a remake of a classic on a new console. Especially on such a most loved, well known and one of the most successful games in the history of Gaming, Gears of War. The original Gears of War came out in November 2006 and was one of the most successful games in the term of sales, and awards, and is rated amongst many gamers in their top 3 all-time favourite games. It certainly was in mine for the 360. After seeing some franchises being released on a next gen console compared to their previous one and seeing them fail miserably, I was sceptical going into playing this. And do I think that Coalition have done well by releasing it on the Xbox One? Certainly, absolutely, and any other positive word you want to put.
The Ultimate Edition was announced at E3, back in June, and has only been out for a few weeks in Europe and America. Already, the game has been hitting similar sort of reviews the original did, and has been right up there in the way of Game sales. Priced at just under £30, you are given the original Gears of War, with a few extra missions, and with the power of Backwards Compatibility, you will be given Gears of War 2, 3 and Judgement from November 2015, when Backwards Compatibility rolls out to the public. So you get 4 games for the price of 1, and in modern day, not even at the price of a full retail game, it certainly is worth your money’s worth.
As soon as the game starts, we are shown a cut-scene of locusts attacking and blowing up a building, before swapping shots to our two most loved characters out of the Gears Series, Marcus Fenix and Dominic Santiago, before going into a prison to start off our gameplay adventure. We are offered two options to start our campaign off, by either going through a tutorial (recommended for the new players) or running straight into the action, and meeting our first pack of locusts. Every mission which at times fun, challenging and dynamic, and every cut-scene in this game has been recreated using new technology and motion capture work to bring the most dynamic experience, and to fully take advantage of the stunning graphic capability, that the Xbox One can provide. In my opinion, Gears of War is one of the first games to really take advantage of next-gen graphics, especially when it comes to cut-scenes. From researching a bit, I found out that Single player is capped at 30fps, but it`s when you go online that makes you think wow. 60fps in 1080p. One of the first games I think on the Xbox One to take full advantage of 1080p.
For those who had completed the story many a time on the Xbox 360, whether that was for the casual players, or the insane players who thrived to be tested, the story is very much the same. The addition that the Ultimate copy gives you is 5 extra levels, which were originally exclusive to PC. They add that extra element of surprise and fun to the game, and a few new extra creatures that you won`t have experienced before. But some of you love a good surprise, that’s an element in what makes a good game.
The movement and the feel of the gameplay is a bit more slick, and subtle. Players will spend the time jumping over barrages and crates, spending their time aiming down their sights taking out grunts and locust and hitting their Right bumper button to get an active reload. The game plays a lot better than the original game, and I think that this is something that I`ve noticed and seen improved in the gameplay over the last few additions to the Gears series. The players move and feel a lot better than the original. It`s something I noticed very much from Judgement, the latest instalment before this, and comparing that back to playing the first instalment on the 360, you can see a difference and feel a difference in the way the game plays.
Co-op was one of the big factors for me that made it so great on the Xbox 360. Being able to go through the campaign with a friend and have hours and hours of fun, was fantastic. That has carried over to the Xbox one, and I had the chance to try that with a friend of mine. My friend that I played with on the original back years ago on the 360, and it was brilliant to go round the corner, and find that someone other than the AI was watching your back. I used to find at times the AI were slightly unintelligent on the 360, but playing through the campaign on the One, I found them more intelligent, and being behind my back a bit more. However, at times I found they could get annoying. A bit too intelligent so to speak. Too many times I would find them running in the way and blocking off my shots. But compared to the original AI, it is a lot better.
Multiplayer on Gears of War was also massive when it came to the 360. Gears would attract thousands every night on their servers, and unlike most shooter games where you would associate snipers and small maps with, Gears offers something a bit more different. With over 20 multiplayer maps to get yourself stuck in the Ultimate Edition, there`s plenty on offer for the more experienced players who are returning to battle, or for the newbies, who are new to the entire series. You`ll find players who will run around, with their Hammersmith left right and centre, shooting away and running straight into the action, and perhaps the more experienced players who will pull things out the bag to pull off that satisfying kill. Nothing more players enjoy than running up to a player behind, pulling a chainsaw out and absolutely decimating them. I personally prefer running straight into the action as I`m not really a stealthy man, so I just run in there with my Hammersmith and shotgun, and look to wipe out my targets. The variety of game modes you are offered on the Multiplayer is also good and you have enough to get stuck into to keep you going for a few hours.
Overall, Gears of War, the much beloved game on the Xbox 360, has been a great release for the Xbox One. The upscaling and remastering with stupendous graphics, and the feel of the slick gameplay, has seen Coalition remaster a game that will attract a lot of fans. I think the timing of the release has been fantastic for this game, as I`d have feared that with this being the time of the year that games come left, right and centre, it may have gone missing and got lost amongst other new big releases coming, and it doesn’t deserve to. If you`ve played the 360 version of Gears, and you haven’t got the Ultimate Edition already for the Xbox One, get it. You`re missing out. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.
A huge thank you to XCN for supplying us with this review copy of Gears of War: Ultimate Edition.