Gears of War Ultimate Edition
Gears of War Ultimate Edition

Welcome back to the army, soldier.

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition is the remake of one of the best titles of the previous generation and it is now available in all the next-gen glory. Battle your way in the revamped planet of Sera. Incarnate “traitor” Marcus Michael Fenix, the legendary war hero. Kill huge beasts while enjoying amazing one-liners and, if Coalition of Ordered Governments orders are too easy for you, go and chainsaw your enemies in a competitive online match.

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition – Xbox One review

Developer: The Coalition
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Available on: Xbox One (tested), Microsoft Windows (tested)

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition

The population of planet Sera did not know that underneath every major city, the Locust Horde was digging. Horrible and powerful monsters planned to wipe everyone for good. The COG did the best they could, but failed. With just a breath of hope, Marcus Fenix defied orders to try to save his father’s life. He was caught and sent to prison. 14 years later, nightmarish race of creatures that surface from the depths of the planet are closer than ever and take over Marcus’s prison.

With just that little bit of background story, Gears of War decided it would leave a mark in gaming history by delivering amazing action and solid mechanics. By watching perfect cinematic sequences we get to know our missions: to get to an underground mine and deploy the Resonator, the last COG chance to win the battle.

With the help of Dom, Baird and Cole, you will fight back to back. Gears of War is an action game, but you can’t simply run into the open if you want to survive. Flanking your enemies is essential. Rescuing your teammates is vital. Mastering the dodge and cover system is a must. The game delivers a huge amount of action that you need to chew in tiny bits, slowly securing spots, closing underground holes to prevent enemies and eventually wiping them, only to get to the next battlefield: a gas station, a devastated city, an old mausoleum, you name it. The environments are huge and diverse. All of them are beautiful and repetitive buildings is something you won’t see.

Equally diverse are the weapons. They appear standard at a first glance until you realize the Lancer Assault Rifle is a fully-automatic rifle equipped with a lovely chainsaw to tear your enemies apart. But there is more: A few pistols, a shotgun, a Torque Bow able to shoot explosive bolts, you can even make your enemies swallow grenades and disintegrate them. But your most powerful friend is the Hammer of Dawn, a device able to shoot an energized satellite laser from space, but there is a catch: you need to be in the open to use it. And as you may have guessed it, you won’t be always in the open if your mission is to go to an underground mine.

Each weapon uses a really cool reloading mechanism. When you press the reload button, a sliding bar will appear near your ammo counter. If you hit reload again in the sweet spot, you will reload faster. If you hit the perfect spot, you will get a small damage boost. If you fail, you will jam your weapon. This is a really cool mini-game that seems easy, but in the middle of the action it will prove you wrong. Jamming your weapon when that little damage boost is your only chance to survive will make you restart from the last checkpoint more times than you will be proud to admit.

The original Gears of War singleplayer (or co-op) campaign had five acts with enough content to play between 8 and 10 hours. This new Ultimate Edition not only revamps every aspect of the game, including lighting, environments, characters, and cinematic scenes, but also includes five exhilarating campaign missions never available before on console. These missions follow Delta Squad as they battle their way to Timgad Station and face off against a terrifying Brumak, a huge creature and powerful creature you will and will not want fight at the same time.

This new version also features improved checkpoint placement, an additional difficulty level (Casual), for those who want a relaxed experience, and a modernized co-op experience that lets you join and quit seamlessly. You also get some improvements, some of them based on Gears of War 3, including the ability to revive teammates while in cover, you are now able to toggle weapons while running/evading, Improved sensitivity customization, improved situational awareness in multiplayer, and the list keeps going and going.

The multiplayer experience is also a gem not to be missed. It includes all original DLC maps and three new maps from the original “Gears of War” PC version, all of them running smoothly at 60 FPS. There is also a wide selection of modes to play: The old and missed Warzone, Assassination, Execution and Annex, and the new additions: Team Death Match, King of the Kill and a special 2v2 mode designed by the community. You can further customize your experience not only by using skins but also by unlocking 17 character, all of this in solid Xbox Live’s dedicated servers.

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition makes one of the best Xbox games even better. This new edition is gorgeous not only visually but in every aspect. Marcus and his team look AND sound completely badass. The combat is as bloody as before, but now in FULL HD with many, many improvements worth of a remastered edition. The multiplayer is fun, addictive and with several additions to further customize your experience.

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition – Windows 10 review

Just a few months after the Xbox One release, The Coalition and Microsoft decided it was time to take the masterpiece to the Windows 10 platform. And let’s get this out of the way quickly: no, it is not and it will not be on Steam or any other market other than the Windows Store. Microsoft has already published big titles in the Windows Store before, one of them being the much acclaimed Rise of the Tomb Raider from Square Enix, and now they one to make the next big step: to release PC titles here.

Now, your mileage may vary, but my experience was not as bad as reported all around the internet from some other fellow gamers. Using the Windows Store, at least for me, was as easy as to click on download and wait for it to be finished, just like I anyone would expect. The only surprise I had was not being able to pick my preferred language. All I had to do, tho, was to change my regional settings in my Windows Control Panel and I was ready to go. There is an issue I would like to see it fixed in the future, but nothing really serious: I was not able to select where to download the 50+gb beast, and I didn’t want to toy around with my Windows Registry.

With that being said, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition for Windows 10 is one of the most gorgeous games out there so far, featuring ultra-high definition graphics up to 4K resolution. If you do have the beast to run it, you can’t miss it. Microsoft was kind enough to list the ideal specs in the Windows Store: Processor: Intel Core i7 @4GHz+ / AMD FX 8-core, Memory: 16 GB RAM (6 GB VRAM), GPU: AMD R9 390X / NVIDIA GTX 980 Ti, HD Space: 60GB, DirectX 12. Yeah, it is not for everyone.

Now, as much as I would like to keep talking about the Windows 10 release, the reality is there isn’t much to talk about other than the improved graphics. The game just runs fine and smoothly without any weird glitches, it supports the Xbox Live platform with achievements and all 1.250 new Gamerscore, cloud saves and some other social features, etc. You also get the full single-player campaign as well as all of the bonus content that was limited before to PC, all of the multiplayer maps (Xbox DLC and former PC exclusives), 17 characters to unlock in multiplayer, and all of the old game modes like Warzone, Assassination, Execution, Amex, and the newly added like Team Death Match, King of the Hill, Blitz, and a new 2v2 Gnasher mode designed by the Gears of War community. And yes, both keyboard/ mouse and gamepad setups are fully supported.

As a closing note, if you are already enjoying this in your Xbox One, there is little justification to get this edition. If you didn’t get it before or if you don’t own an XO and want to play Gears of Wars in all its new glory, the Ultimate Edition is well worth it. Just make sure you are able to run it.

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