My first ever experience with the Gears of War franchise was when I bought the Gears of War 3 bundle back in 2012. I was pretty excited to get into the game and I played through the campaign. The graphics for its time were pretty mind-blowing and when a friend recommended I go back and play Gears of War 1 and 2, I didn’t hesitate to get into them as well.

I hated it, the gameplay was unintuitive. The graphics was horrible. Going from the high quality of the Gears of War 3 campaign and multiplayer to the ancient first version was probably a bad idea and I stopped playing pretty much immediately. So when Microsoft announced that they will be releasing a fully remade version of the game that started it all, I was sceptical and excited.

Graphics & Sound

Microsoft and The Coalition really went all out with this game. Like with what they did with the Halo 2 Anniversary everything was redone and remastered. The cut scenes were recaptured and they simply look stunning. Gone were the dull unsaturated scenes and horrendous pop-in graphics. The Coalition did however opt to brighten up the world by doing away with the dull de-saturated world. Like with the new Fallout, the world looks more engaging instead of depressing.

Little things like the tips of gun barrels glowing after firing off a few rounds was brought into the game. Marcus Fenix and his team look more human and their characters move more fluidly unlike the stiff movement of the original.

Aliasing is still an issue with console games these days and you can spot ‘jaggies’ in some scenes. The original was overly ‘blurred’ and it seemed to be like you were looking through steamed up glasses. Frame rate drops is minimal and so far during my experience I have not seen any that were noticeable or game breaking.

The Coalition also remastered all the voice acting and game sound effects to really give you that 7.1 Dolby Surround quality experience that is so lacking in todays remastered games.

Gameplay

When I was introduced to the Xbox 360 Gears of War 3, the game had enough time to mature and be improved from the original. Going back to Gears of War 1 (which is included in the Ultimate Edition) will make you realize how far we have come in gameplay dynamics over the years. Even though most of the keys are relatively the same, playing in the updated versions feel more responsive. Gears of War 1 which won numerous awards and started the third person cover based shooter, is meant to be played in the current Remake.

The multiplayer runs at a solid 1080p 60FPS, and runs through dedicated servers online and it shows. Multiplayer on the original games was choppy and unreliable and being able to chainsaw through a few Locusts on Gears of War will give you that warm feeling inside. There are several game modes in Multiplayer ie. Execution, King of The Hill, Assassination and 2v2 Gnasher. Hoard mode is glaringly absent in this game which was one of my favorite game modes on Gears of War 3. I’m not sure if it was available in Gears 1, but I would love to see it make it’s appearance on the Ultimate Edition.

The Ultimate Edition also includes Network play, which means you can hook up all your friends’ Xbox One consoles on the home network and play against each other until the sun comes up.

Verdict

Gears of War, like with the Halo Master Chief Collection set the standard for Remastered collections this generation. Nowhere will you get a game franchise collection that gives you this much content for such a low price. At $40 you will get the Gears of War Ultimate Edition with the Original Gears of War 1, 2 and 3 and Judgement via Backwards Compatibility.

The game certainly isn’t perfect and in some cases shows its age. But The Coalition did a bang up job with this game and it comes highly recommended to any person who breathes, owns an Xbox One or both.

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