Remember back when the original Gears of War came blasting on to consoles and PCs? You’d stare in wonder and exhilaration as you kicked through doors and mow down enemies.
Oh, and that excellent cover mechanism! Remember playing the campaign multiple times with friends! And then taking on the same friends in the competitive multiplayer.
That was a good time. And the Gears of War franchise has only grown exponentially since then.
And now, it’s all back. And, gloriously so! Microsoft’s remake of the decade old classic brims with nostalgia. And, a macho-sense of action, that never lets up. And, thankfully so. The game, though set in a dark time with the very survival of the human race at stake, is a ton of fun. Be it playing solo, co-op or the frantic competitive modes.
Originally released in 2006, Gears of War popularized a then-new kind of action game, taking the over the shoulder camera of Resident Evil 4 and a cover mechanic inspired by the 2003 game Kill Switch, mixing it into something unique. In a period full of first person shooters borrowing from the likes of Halo and a pre-modern day Call of Duty, Gears of War went for something more intimate, and more brutal, all from third person.
But, lets get the story dealt with first.
Gears of War takes place over the course of 36 hours on the planet Sera, what was once a civilized human planet of cheerful sidewalk cafes and flower-filled parks. No more. The population did not know that underneath every major city, the Locust Horde was digging. Underground monsters, of superhuman size and strength, with filthy complexions that could rival the ugliest of teens, the Locust are fearsome creatures. And on a sunny Sera afternoon, the Locust emerged.
The loss of life was catastrophic, or so it appeared in the opening sequence. The soldiers of the Coalition of Ordered Governments, or COG, fought valiantly, but failed. As the battle slipped away, COG soldier Marcus Fenix defied orders to try and rescue his father. He was caught and imprisoned. Fourteen years passed, and the Locust have closed in. As alien creatures take over Marcus’s prison, an old friend opens the cell door, gives Marcus a gun, and asks him rejoin the fight.
And from there on it’s one hell of a ride!
With compelling action, exciting set pieces and tense boss battles thrill and terrify at the same time, Gears of War is the hallmark of an excellent shooter. And the Ultimate Edition gets it all right!
While the single player campaign is all kinds of gory goodness, it’s the multiplayer campaign that gets its hooks in you and doesn’t let go. It has all the elements that made the franchise a top choice for online multiplayer, and improves on it by adding the best from the series and tops it off with 1080p HD visuals running at slick-as-blood 60 fps. It’s truly the Ultimate way to play Gears of War! And with Microsoft aiming for the e-sports crowd, we can expect constant updates and hopefully new maps over time.
Every asset in the game has been rebuilt from the ground up, including the audio and even the cutscene. Everything comes to life with vibrant visuals and HD textures. Plus, the improved controls from Gears of War 3 and Gears of War Judgement have been incorporated here in the Ultimate Edition. The game also comes with additional story content including an epic boss fight previously available only on the PC version.
Verdict: If you had any reservations about getting an Xbox One or enlisting in the Gears, well, now is the time to dump those reservations. This is a must play. Take on the hordes alone, or in split-screen co-op, or via system link, or online co-op. And, when you clean up that mess, jump in to the online competitive modes and test your mettle. Just don’t flinch when blood sprays all over your screen as you rip apart foes with the chainsaw!
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