It’s been almost a decade since Gears of War first chainsawed its way into our hearts. Released in 2006 and developed by Epic Games, Gears was for many, the first must-have exclusive for the Xbox 360.
After the release of last year’s Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Xbox owners had been clamouring for Gears to receive a similar collection ahead of Gears 4’s release in 2016. While a full remaster of the entire collection wasn't to be, The Coalition has remastered the original Gears of War for us to jump back into. With remasters being so common and hit or miss since the start of this generation, is Gears actually worth going back to?
Fans of the Gears franchise will immediately appreciate the new visuals, which haven’t been slap dashed in the slightest. Textures look very crisp and are made even better by the improved lightning. You’ll find yourself looking at pieces of the environment, trying to remember how much worse it looked in the original version of the game. Not only do the environments look great, but some visual effects now really stand out, such as enemies being blown apart. Even better is the hammer of dawn, which looks utterly devastating yet beautiful when used. All in all, the game looks very much at home on the Xbox One.
|Sera has never looked so good|
As with most remasters, the gameplay itself has been left relatively untouched. The only additions to the gameplay that have been incorporated from Gears of War 3 are incredibly minor (sensitivity customisation and enemy spotting). A more notable addition is the inclusion of five chapters in act 5 that take place prior to Delta Squad’s arrival at the train station for the game’s climax. These additional chapters were a part of the PC version of the game and are especially great to play through for Gears fans that haven’t experienced them previously.
One of the real highlights of Gears Of War: Ultimate Edition is the cutscenes. Every cutscene in the game has been redone and they all look sensational. They’re a genuine pleasure to watch and they go a long way in helping to keep you engrossed in the story. General RAAM’s memorable introduction is particularly amazing to watch again in all its remastered glory.
On the flip side, playing through Gears’ campaign again has reminded me of just how dire the AI can be. I lost count of the amount of times Dom, Baird and Cole would get in one another other’s way, resulting in them standing still until I pushed them out of each other’s way. There were even a couple of times where Dom would just stand still for no particular reason, resulting in a few unnecessary checkpoint reloads. If you want to avoid this, just play through the campaign in co-op…it’ll save you a fair amount of problems.
Multiplayer is exactly what Gears fans are used to, with additions (once again) from Gears of War 3. From characters to a levelling system to game types such as Team Deathmatch and King of the Hill, the developers have smartly incorporated the necessary features from previous games. A brand new mode has even been included; 2v2 Gnasher Execution, which is rather excellent for those that like the sound of a tag team shotgun standoff.
It’s common among many to think that with the amount of remasters being released now that there may not be much point in picking up a remaster if you already own the original. In the case of Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, you really should. Not only because it’s been almost a decade since it came out, but because this is a remaster that you can tell has had a good amount of effort put into it. It’ll help remind gamers why they fell in love with Gears in the first place.
What did you think of Gears of War: Ultimate Edition? Agree with the article? Let us know in the comments or hit me up on twitter - @KingKicks
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