It’s been nine years since the original Gears of War title launched and revolutionised how third-person action games were produced. A lot has changed since then but Microsoft have decided to go back to where it all began and have completely remastered the original Gears of War as well as improved some aspects of it. The result is a game that both feels modern and stands up to today’s standards but held back by its legacy problems.
If you played Gears of War like I did 9 years ago, it was all about the multiplayer. The multiplayer in Gears of War Ultimate Edition has been brought forward from the original but also includes some improvements from older games. Spotting and smoother feeling gunplay from the later titles have been brought in but omissions like cover vaulting to a kick is missed.
The competitive multiplayer includes all maps that were released for the original game including DLC and PC only maps. The maps have all been visually touched up and looks rather nice but the key aspect is the fact that the multiplayer runs at 1080p 60 frames a second. Although some people do not care about frame rates, the added frames to Gears of War Ultimate Editions multiplayer allows it to be a different beast entirely, feeling much more fluid and fast-paced than the original was.
Everything feels great and the fact that the game now has levelling, there’s a real incentive to playing competitive as it yields more XP. Levelling up unlocks characters and skins to further customise your character. It was an excellent competitive multiplayer back in 2006 and although there are a few omissions from the better sequels that came after, it still is a great multiplayer well-worth jumping into.
The campaign, although has seen a lot of it touched up from the assets all the way to the cut-scenes have been crafted with care but its brought with it the 9 year old warts. The campaign very much feels like a first entry from a team of developers and it just makes you realise how far the team came in just five years. It’s a more claustrophobic experience with elements of horror. The flow of combat is less varied than later games and some sections can be frustrating and dull. The Ultimate Edition does include a 5 deleted levels from the 360 version that later made its way to the PC version but it doesn’t change things much.
Although not available until November, Gears of War Ultimate Edition includes ass four previous Gears titles on Xbox One through backwards compatibility. This means for a bargain price you get every Gears of War title ever released on Xbox One.
The multipleyer is honestly still incredibly fun, even if the gnasher shotgun is still overpowered. Hearing a head pop from the enemy is still as satisfying as ever and the modes from later games included is fun. The only disappointing thing in this package is the campaign that doesn’t hold up today like the multiplayer does. Still, for the next couple of months, this may be all you need for an awesome online shooter.