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Gears of War: Ultimate Edition Review

It was inevitable, but will it be any good? These were the thoughts when Gears of War: Ultimate Edition was announced. I remember the first game well; a new game series that burst onto the scene back in 2007, its look and feel fitting perfectly with the market the Xbox 360 was aiming at and thus creating another franchise nearly as popular as the other long runner Halo. Games have however moved on quite a bit in the years since, especially the Gears games themselves, with the controls now tweaked to perfection and expanded greatly on the multiplayer aspect.

So what does Gears of War: Ultimate Edition offer? A return to where it all began, joining the roadie running hulk of a man Marcus Fenix as he takes on the locust horde with the aid of a few fellow brother and sisters in arms. For those that have played a Gears of War game you already know what you are getting into, but for newcomers you can expect an aggressive, explosive and very satisfying cover based shooter, a mechanic that many old reviews referred to as a glorified space invaders, though that felt a little harsh when in reality this is so intense and over the top, each sortie a desperate fight to find the best cover and use an impressive assortment of weapons to take out the invading Locusts in grisly fashion, especially when the weapon of choice is the Lancer, a machinegun infused with a chainsaw.

Be it alone or with a co-op friend the game never really lets up, the occasional quiet moment a mere breather before it all goes fubar once again, you and your compatriots relying on clever use of the cover and a few choice weapons to clear the room and then move onto the next area, yes in its simplest form it does sound repetitive but with each fight offering something different to contend with, be it Emergence Holes or a lumbering Berserker, it never gets stale.

With the original game looking so good even nearly eight years ago this Ultimate Edition manages to polish the visuals further, cleaning up the grainy camera filter (some would say this is a step back) and supporting all the new visual whistles and bell’s we all expect from our Xbox One titles. The controls have certainly been updated, Marcus feeling a lot more responsive than before but the cover mechanic that is the foundation of the gameplay does make the game play awkwardly sometimes as characters tend to magically slide around walls and debris in their set animations, a small complaint that exists through the whole Gears series. Back to the good and with the sound now remastered to 7.1, those with a decent surround set up are in for a treat. Add to that the additional campaign that was released on the PC edition and the main campaign is still worthwhile of your time, be it a trip down memory lane or a first time experience.

A big pull of the Gears games was in the online battles, the original was fun but flawed, but by the later games they were more important than the main campaign, some serious game time logged to get those elusive achievements. Each mode offering frag heavy arena battles of player versus player and whilst there have been many improvements in this Ultimate Edition, general lack of online players pre-release makes it very hard to comment other than offer the facts, with classics like Execution, King of the Hill and Team Deathmatch returning across a healthy selection of classic maps. Once the game has been on general release I will pop back and update this section of the review.

It would have been nice to bundle all of the Gears games through the Ultimate Edition treatment, especially considering the much better quality storytelling in Gears of War 2 was but who knows what will pop up in the future. With the excitement building for the next instalment this is a double edged Lancer, bringing new adopters to the fold but also lessening the anticipation of a new Gears game for the fans but any way you look at it, the production have done a sterling job in updating this classic title.

Word by Ash Buchanan.

(Version Tested: Xbox One)


+ Greatly improved visuals, sounds and controls
+ The Lancer
+ Co-op though the whole campaign


- Unable to comment on online play at present

Edited On 23 Aug, 2015

( 3 )
spaceninjaUK's avatar
spaceninjaUK 1 year ago
looking forward to this
 TruDarkAssassin's avatar
TruDarkAssassin 1 year ago
Yeah looking forward to playing this again this week , and with until dawn, then metal gear and mad max arriving sat then my next few weeks are sorted :)
Anonymous user's avatar
GARY 1 year ago
It does look great and is one of the best co op games around , MGS 5 looks brilliant and so does Mad Max an expensive time coming up

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