Released in 2006, one of my favorite series on the Xbox 360 was “Gears of War.” It defined what a quality third person shooter was and was copied by hundreds of games over the console generation. The new generation of consoles have been riddled with remakes and remasters of older games. Now Gears gets the upgrade treatment with “Gears of War: Ultimate Edition” on Xbox One. “Gears of War: Ultimate Edition” is not a collection like last holidays “Halo: Master Chief” collection, it only contains the first “Gears of War” game.
The original was not a bad looking game. It was graphically stunning when it first came out but compared to the new system it looks terrible so the graphical upgrade is welcome. It’s not the best looking game on the console but it was touched up enough to look modern. The sound also got an upgrade so it now has 7.1 surround and all the voices and incredible music really stands out. The gameplay hasn’t been updated much, it mainly has the editions that were put in “Gears 3” like the roadie run. One of the best parts about the new “Ultimate Edition” is the inclusion of all the DLC that came out since its original release including all the maps and modes. Some new content includes new missions that were not in the original Xbox 360 release.
If you never played the original “Gears of War,” it is a third person over-the-shoulder shooting game with innovative cover mechanics meaning you can hid behind things and shoot. Even though the action is paramount the story campaign is pretty good. You play as Marcus Fenix and his group of friends called the “Cogs” during their ongoing war with an alien species called the “Locust” that came up from the center of Sera, an Earth-like planet. Marcus and friends are huge, hulking soldiers and are the epitome of “bros” spouting out one liners and expletives as much as possible. They make the soldiers of “Call of Duty” look like a bunch of pansies.
The gameplay and controls are just as good as I remember, I have always loved the cover based shooting and especially the active reload system which is super handy once you get the hang of it. The enemy A.I is pretty sharp but your friends on the battlefield aren’t that bright which is annoying when you are on your own. It gives you a good reason to play with a friend. The original “Gears” was one of the first games I played through a story cooperatively with a friend and that feature is in the remake. I have only done the co-op mode with someone in the room but you can play online with a friend.
Even though the campaign is great, the real reason to play is the online multiplayer. The first thing you will notice playing online is the look, the frame rate was raised making everything look smoother and move faster. All of the original game modes are back and all of the DLC maps are included. There are a ton of unlockable skins and equipment from “Gears of War 3,” a nice edition.
Overall I had a good time with “Gears of War: Ultimate Edition.” If you played the original you might want to go back and check out the new content and go play some online matches. This game came out in 2006 so some of the gameplay does feel dated but it is still better than most games. If you have never played any of the Gears games, you need to play this classic series and the new “Gears of War: Ultimate Edition” is the one to play. There is an added bonus announced, if you buy the Ultimate edition: you get a free download of Gears 2, 3 and Judgement as Xbox 360 backward compatibility downloads.
Not only are you getting a great action shooter you are also getting four games for the price of one. “Gears of War: Ultimate Edition” doesn’t add that much for long-time fans but it is fun to go relive the events of the original with beautiful updated graphics.
Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail him at [email protected]
System: Xbox One,
PC Rated: M for Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
Publisher: Microsoft Developers: Epic Games, The Coalition