Gears of War Ultimate Edition is coming out later this month. Approximately a week ago Microsoft invited Gaming Target to take an early look at how it was shaping up. Gears of War fans will be happy to hear that it is looking really nice and it appears that The Coalition has done a great job here. This isn’t just a simple remaster or a port of the Xbox 360 version. They took the whole game and put some serious work into it. Gears of War was rebuilt in 1080p will run at 30 frames per second for the campaign to really get that nice amount of detail that you expect as well as 60 frames per second for the multiplayer suite so everything runs silky smooth. Additionally Microsoft has revealed that if you purchase and play Gears of War Ultimate Edition between launch (August 25) and December 31, 2015 you will receive the entire franchise for free via backwards compatibility. That means that you will receive the original Gears of War 1, Gears of War 2, Gears of War 3 and Gears of War: Judgment for free. It does need to be noted though that you will not have access to these backwards compatible titles on August 25 when Gears of War Ultimate Edition launches. You will have to wait until a little later in the year for the backwards compatibility functionality to be available for everyone and then you will receive your free Gears of War games, assuming you qualified.
Gears of War Ultimate Edition has completely reconstructed cinematics meaning it is going to look a lot better than the Xbox 360 version which already looked amazing when it was first released. The controls have been modernized a bit as it has been almost ten years since Gears of War first came out but I am happy to say that everything feels great. During my time with the game the controls were responsive and everything just felt right. In addition to that a new difficulty level has been added to the game to make it feel more accessible to everyone. One advantage to having the original Gears of War be almost a decade old is that the team at The Coalition can use lessons they have learned from more recent tiles. Keeping that in mind we were told that Gears of War Ultimate Edition was rebuilt with tech and ideas from Gears of War 3.
Gears of War was originally released on only the Xbox 360, however, it eventually saw a PC release as well. The PC version had a whole other act that Xbox 360 gamers never got to experience, until now. Speaking with Rod Fergusson at the event he confirmed that act is indeed in this version of the game, essentially giving console gamers some brand new content that they have never seen. If you have gone through any of the Gears of War games you are also no doubt familiar with the collectibles that were strewn around the environment to find. More specifically, there were cog tags that you needed to find as you went through the game and for the Xbox 360 version the only thing those cog tags were good for was unlocking achievements. That is another thing that has changed with the Ultimate Edition as not only do you get achievements for finding cog tags but you also will unlock digital comics so that there is a tangible reward that you will receive.
As far as multiplayer is concerned there has been improvements made in this area as well. The Gears of War Ultimate Edition multiplayer will run at 1080p and 60 frames per second. It will feature dedicated servers over Xbox Live and have 19 remastered maps. There will be three new modes for the Gears of War franchise including Team Deathmatch, King of the Hill and 2 vs. 2. You will be able to utilize enemy spotting and a “tac-com” to help out your teammates to try and prevent the enemy from getting the drop on you. There is also going to be a spectator mode so you can observe really good players to try and improve your own game. Gears of War Ultimate Edition is also going to feature skill based matchmaking and more. Additionally, those who purchase and play Gears of War Ultimate Edition will receive early access to the Gears of War 4 beta that is currently slated to take place in Spring 2016.
Gears of War Ultimate Edition seems to be a labor of love from The Coalition as it isn’t just a remaster or a port. A tremendous amount of work has been done here from the reconstructed cinematics, making the game more accessible to everyone via a new difficulty mode, completely new content that console gamers have never seen and more. Add that to the fact that you get the entire franchise for free via Xbox 360 backwards compatibility on Xbox One and this is shaping up to be a really nice package. What do you think of Gears of War Ultimate Edition? Will you be buying it when it launches this month? Check back later this month for our full review.