Gears of War Ultimate Edition Xbox One Review

August 24, 2015

Gears of War was one of the original gaming juggernauts to propel the Xbox 360 to fame nearly a decade ago. The Epic-developed game was one of the very first titles to wow audiences with high-definition visuals and show the graphical prowess of Microsoft’s second gaming console. Joining a host of other remasters, Gears of War has now debuted on Xbox One in an aptly titled Ultimate Edition. Featuring a number of improvements from newly appointed Gears of War developers the Coalition, does this remake of the classic shooter warrant purchasing it all over again? In one word, yes.

It’s a shame that the Gears of War trilogy hasn’t been entirely remade for the current Xbox hardware, similar to last year’s Halo: The Master Chief Collection. However, The Coalition’s Rod Fergusson has addressed this point, noting the considering time and effort invested in remaking one game, let alone three. Indeed, Gears of War Ultimate Edition is a proper remake in every sense of the word, so the exclusion of the second and third games isn’t so disappointing. Furthermore, the budget price makes the Ultimate Edition even easier to recommend.

Outside of the 1080P resolution, all of the game’s assets, environments and lighting have been completely remade. The result is an astonishing visual overhaul that makes the game looks like it was made for the Xbox One’s hardware. The breathtaking level of detail in Gears of War‘s graphics left me stunned in 2006 and it carries across on a whole new level in the Ultimate Edition. The stunning visuals immerse players on a level that few titles can brag about. The campaign runs at a constant 30 frames per second, with only a few instances of slowdown evident in our playthrough. The game’s cinematics have also been completely remade, providing action-packed breaks in between chapters. Overhauled facial animations also result in more authentic characters exchanges during cinematics.


Gears of War‘s genre-defining third-person cover-based gameplay is just as entertaining as ever. Reliving my first encounters with the Locust was a fantastic burst of nostalgia, and likewise, returning fans shall be appeased by the same frenzied combat and challenging enemies. The translation of the very first Gears of War‘s gameplay to Xbox One holds up well. However, but it doesn’t quite reach the same apex of refinement from Gears of War 3 with player manoeuvrability and snapping to cover with complete accuracy. Nevertheless, the Ultimate Edition has still received a number of the series’ later improvements, including the ability to revive teammates while in cover and toggle weapons while roadie running. Ultimately, players will be right at home using the Xbox One controller popping in of out of cover while laying waste to enemy Locust.

Experiencing the snarly banter between Marcus and Baird while Cole whoops at advancing enemies provides a golden trip down memory lane for longtime Gears of War fans. The final boss fight is an especially nostalgic moment, especially when played with a friend. The Ultimate Edition also includes five extra chapters, starring a Brumak, that never made it into from the Xbox 360 version, but was in the later PC version. The campaign length is about on par with most other games these days, but collectibles, new Xbox Live achievements and higher difficulty levels provide a great enticement to play more than once. Coupled with improved checkpoints and the seamless co-operative drop-in and drop-out system, this remaster can rightfully claim to be the ultimate edition of Epic’s classic epic. For players who have never experienced Gears of War, the remake is the perfect entry point into the series.

For many Gears of War aficionados, the multiplayer inclusion shall be justification enough for buying the game again. Whereas the campaign only reaches 30 frames, multiplayer runs a smooth 60 frames per second. The level of visual fidelity isn’t quiet as high in the multiplayer, obviously being the concession for the higher frame count. Nevertheless, the remastered multiplayer maps are a significant upgrade from their Xbox 360 predecessors. Most importantly, the third-person gameplay is just as fun in multiplayer and has received the same finetuning as the single-player.


A total of 19 maps have been included in the Ultimate Edition – all original and downloadable maps from the Xbox 360 version and three new maps from the PC version. Classic modes such as warzone, assassination, execution and annex return, while the Coalition have also added team deathmatch, king of the kill and a special 2 versus 2 community mode to the mix. The multiplayer runs on dedicated servers and also features LAN support.

While my hands-on time with the multiplayer was limited due to the pre-release state of the game, all of the matches I participated in ran smoothly. Despite being absent from Gears of War‘s online mode since I transitioned to Xbox One, I was soon once again reliving my multiplayer glory days, sitting on the edge of my seat engrossed in battle with other players. The best way to convey my time with the Ultimate Edition multiplayer is to say it shall absolutely resonate with veteran Gears fans. Multiplayer retains the same classic Gears of War gameplay, while being prettier and running smoother than ever. Furthermore, the very generous offering of modes and maps shall keep players occupied for hours.

Gears of War Ultimate Edition joins the Halo 2 remaster as another flawless remake on Xbox One. The overhauled assets and remastered visuals superbly compliment the classic Gears gameplay. Longtime Gears of War fans are taken on a memorable trip back in time, immersed in a world of destroyed beauty that looks like it was made for a new generation of hardware. In addition, a fully featured multiplayer mode shall keeps players occupied long after the campaign credits roll. It should be noted that copies of the Ultimate Edition purchased on or near release also include a free copy of the Gears of War trilogy and Judgement via the Xbox One’s upcoming backwards compatibility, so you essentially have four games for one budget price. Gears of War Ultimate Edition is ultimately a perfect package for both veteran and new Gears of War players alike.


Complete Remake | Multiplayer Maps & Modes | Budget Price


No Gears 2 or 3 Remake

Overall Score: