When the Xbox 360 launched in 2005, I had no intention to purchase it until Halo 3 hit store shelves. Halo was, after all, the only reason why I had the original Xbox. That was until I was invited over to a friend’s house to play this new game called Gears of War. I was blown away by the insane multiplayer and the incredible weapons, most notably the chainsaw bayonetted Lancer. The gore, graphics, and cooperative campaign were a huge part of why I went home and began saving up for the 360. Now it’s nearly a decade later and the Xbox One’s remaster of Gears of War is here. Does Gears of War: Ultimate Edition recapture that same, bloody magic that made the original so special or is it just a subpar port with a new coat of paint?
I am pleased to announce that the Gears of War franchise has made a fairly good debut on the Xbox One with Gears of War: Ultimate Edition. Ultimate Edition is a complete remaster of the original Gears of War and retells the story of Delta Squad, led by Marcus Fenix. Taking place fourteen years after Emergence Day, the appearance of the evil Locust, Delta Squad is tasked with acquiring and using a lightmass bomb to defeat the Locust for good. In the pursuit of this, you’ll fight off hordes of Locusts in a very well-paced campaign that is identical to that of the original. While I still enjoyed the pacing of the campaign, the dialogue and story did feel a little dated. Sometimes I felt that the dialogue between Marcus, Dom, Cole, and Baird was cheesy and tried a little too hard to be funny and/or cool. Either way, it doesn’t really do much for the game other than create a very small annoyance.
As is the case of every remaster, Ultimate Edition has updated visuals that impressed me in every way, shape, and form. I often caught myself gazing at the surrounding environment, sometimes even admiring the visuals in the midst of combat. While the in game visuals look fantastic, the cutscenes look even better with improved detail in the environment, animation, and characters. It is really cool seeing a young Delta Squad looking as realistic as ever. Accompanying the fantastic graphics is a huge improvement in the game’s sound. The sound of a lancer firing or a grenade exploding is much improved over the original.
Multiplayer is still as fun, frantic, and infuriating as it has always been. Two-piecing is still present as well as ridiculous chainsaw counters. The inclusion of the 60 frames per second is awesome in multiplayer, and it feels and looks great, but it’s still a huge bummer that the single player campaign is only at 30. Overall though, multiplayer is still a lot of fun and is right at home on the Xbox One.
As far as the general gameplay is concerned, I did experience a few frame rate issues. This is incredibly disappointing in the campaign because it runs at just 30 frames per second. It’s also disappointing because the game runs at 60 frames per second in multiplayer and runs fairly well. I also felt that there was very little occurring in the game when the frame rate dropped. However, none of these issues were game-breaking at all.
As a whole, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition is a great game. Everything that made the original Gears of War great is still present and improved. The graphic quality and sound is much better and the multiplayer is still pretty good. The game does, however, suffer from a few frame rate drops and some dated dialogue. As stated before, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition is great and is well worth the $40 price tag for any Xbox One owner.
Final Score: 8.5/10