This year, Microsoft is promising the strongest lineup of exclusive games in the history of Xbox, and a huge part of that equation is Gears of War: Ultimate Edition. This remastered version of the Xbox 360 classic boasts five campaign levels never before seen on consoles, improved graphics, and more multiplayer maps and modes than ever before.
While many Gears of War fanatics have likely already laid down the cash to pre-order Ultimate Edition, those that have been waiting to see if the game holds up first can now rest assured that the Ultimate Edition will be worth the price of admission when it releases tomorrow, if the reviews for the game are any indication.
Without further ado, let’s see what people have been saying about the remastered Gears of War for Xbox One:
Destructoid (Brett Makedonski)
Microsoft has a lot riding on the continued prosperity of Gears; after all, it is one of the publisher’s largest properties. Gears of War Ultimate Edition effectively reminds why that’s the case, just as it reminds why this is the game that partially influenced an entire generation of gaming. It just took a makeover to help us appreciate it again.
Game Informer (Matt Miller)
[…] players who are looking for a comprehensive visual overhaul of the original game should feel confident in their purchase. The campaign is beautiful, and includes levels drawn from the PC version, which have never been available on any Xbox platform. The multiplayer matches we’ve played feel true to the feel of the original albeit game, albeit with several new maps not present in that original version.
GameSpot (Mike Mahardy)
In returning to the game that sparked one of Microsoft’s more prevalent franchises, members of the Coalition kicked down their own proverbial childhood door. The return trip might have revealed a few more cracks than we remembered, but it also serves as a shield for our nostalgia. And as remakes go, that’s worth the journey home.
GamesRadar+ (David Houghton)
All that said though, the lows are vastly outweighed by the highs. The opportunity to revisit and remember the thrilling, affecting intelligence of Gears’ combat is more than enough reason to return to Sera on its own, but you also get to see more of it this time around. The ‘missing’ five chapters from Act Five, which previously only appeared in the PC version, are now seamlessly slotted into the game’s crescendo, greatly improving the overall pacing, and making a great deal more sense of the escalation to Gears’ climax. That they also deliver a final, grossly satisfying exploration of the combat’s potency by way of even more extravagant, multi-directional battlefields (sometimes masking several routes to hidden strategic solutions) just makes this version of Gears of War all the more complete and definitive.
Polygon (Arthur Gies)
Ultimate is the best possible demonstration of Gears of War‘s classic shooter bonafides. That describes Ultimate Edition just as well. But that decision doesn’t feel like a remnant or an old mistake. It feels like an intentional inclusion. The result is something that doesn’t feel new, exactly, but it does feel surprisingly relevant. Gears of War‘s campaign has some small particulars that could derail a worse game, and its flaws are more clear now than they were nine years ago. butGears of War‘s bonafides as a shooter classic feel less in dispute than ever — and Gears of War: Ultimate Edition is easily the best way to understand why that is.
Many establishments are holding off on their reviews for Gears of War: Ultimate Edition until they have a chance to test out the game’s multiplayer component. That’s understandable, considering the franchise’s focus on multiplayer, and perhaps it’s something that needs to be more universally applied. Maybe the numerous perfect reviews for Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain would have been a tad less enthusiastic if the reviewers addressed the multiplayer paywall plaguing that game.
Another thing to consider about Gears of War: Ultimate Edition that many reviews have not addressed is its additional value. Anyone that plays the game online between its release and the end of the year will receive all the other previous games in the series for free, thanks to the Xbox One’s backward compatibility with the Xbox 360. This vastly increases the value of the game, even though there’s no ETA on when these other Gears of War titles will be made available exactly.
All things considered, it looks like the general consensus is that Gears of War is still a fantastic co-op shooter experience, even though some aspects of the campaign haven’t aged well in the years since 2006. We’ll see more reviews coming in for the game over the next few days, after critics have had a chance to test out the multiplayer along with the general public.
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition will be available tomorrow for Xbox One. A PC release for the game will follow, coming at an undetermined later date.