Hands On: Gears of War Ultimate Edition (Xbox One)

For those that don’t know, Gears of War Ultimate Edition is a remastered version of the very first Gears of War game which was released for Xbox 360 back on November 7, 2006. For its time it’s graphics were stellar and it introduced an entirely new cover system that felt so smooth and natural that many gamers wondered why something like this had never been developed before. That and the incredible story of a shamed marine working to save the planet while mourning the loss of his father and trying to find the wife of his best friend, made for a great game.

I had a chance to play the Gears of War Ultimate Edition multiplayer beta in the week of E3, and as a huge gears fan I was hoping to see some serious improvements now that horsepower is no longer an issue with Xbox One. What I saw and played left me with a lot of excitement.

The multiplayer beta impressed me for many reasons and the first was the server strength. I’ve played many betas throughout my career and what I’ve mostly experienced was lag, server kicks and lowered resolution. I saw none of this with Gears of War Ultimate Edition. The frame rate ran smoothly, the resolution never dropped once and the time in which the maps loaded and the game started were minimal compared to other multiplayer betas.

The coalition, the studio responsible for the gears brand going forward following Microsoft’s acquisition of the brand, did a neat thing by introducing maps to the beta one at a time; day one featured only Gridlock, while Canals, War Machine, Courtyard and Goldrush were subsequently introduced throughout the week-long beta. As far as game types go only Team Deathmatch and King of the Hill were available, but that was fine with me because of those are the two modes I normally play anyway.

Jumping back into the series after not having played since Gears of War: Judgment back in 2013 took me a couple of minutes to get used to. Gears has always had a pretty unique control scheme and it felt a little awkward at first. After about five minutes the ol’ muscle memory kicked in and I felt like I had never put the game down.

Based on my experience with the beta, the hype (and Cole) train has grabbed me and coupled with the great price point of $39.99, this one is a can’t miss and if you live in the NY area, you just might see me in line when Gears of War Ultimate Edition releases on August 25, 2015.