Gears of War: Ultimate Edition (XBOX One) Review
Updated: Sep 13, 2020
Game Name: Gears of War
Developer: Epic Games
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Release Date: November 7th, 2006 (Original), August 25, 2015 (Ultimate Edition)
Platforms: XBOX 360, XBOX One, Microsoft Windows
In the last week or so, I decided to play the whole series of Gears of War. I figured since the whole collection is available on XBOX Game Pass, I thought that I would give it a shot.
I had played a small amount of this game when it first came out. However, for whatever reason, I never touched the series again.
So let us see if the original game still holds up.
You play the character of Marcus Fenix. You start the game in prison but due to a lack of resources, he gets out and gets assigned to the Delta Squad. He was in prison for 4 years for leaving his post during E-Day. Instead of fighting with the COG, he decided to try to save his father.
His other squad mates are composed of Dominic "Dom" Santiago, Augustus Cole and Damon Baird. Dominic seems to be your go to partner as the other 2 you meet later on in the game.
The game takes place 14 years after Emergence Day (E-Day) on the planet Sera. E-Day is when the locusts started attacking and taking over. People are mostly residing in the Jacinto Plateau which is where locusts cannot penetrate.
Your main mission is to obtain the resonator. This is a mapping type device that uses an electronic pulse try to map the locust tunnels. It is believed that the tunnels are finite and one blast would be enough to have the full map. Unfortunately, it is discovered that this is not true. The network of tunnels are much bigger than initially believed.
The next course of action is to obtain data codes to the Lightmass Bomb which is found in Marcus Fenix father's laboratory. In the end, they defeat General RAAM and detonate the Lightmass Bomb with the codes, to destroy the network of locust tunnels.
However, you do get an off camera speech from the Locust Queen advising that this is just beginning and that they (the locusts) will continue to fight until they cannot anymore.
This sets up the mood for a second game very nicely.
When you first play, you get 3 difficulties that you can choose from.
Casual: This is what I chose as I wanted to just play for the story.
Hardcore: This is more difficult but not impossible to complete.
Insane: This is only unlocked once you finish at the game at Casual or Hardcore.
During gameplay, you can obtain a variety of guns that you can use. They are the following:
Longshot Sniper Rifle
Hammer of Dawn
Troika Gun Turret
The weapon of choice for most of the game will probably be the Lacer Rifle. This is the main gun of the COG and also has a Chainsaw. This is useful for when you are faced with an enemy at close range. It acts like your main melee weapon.
I also used the Hammerburst which is the main weapon of the Locust Drones. It is not as powerful as the Lancer Rifle, but it does come in handy.
The Gnasher Shotgun although powerful, it is slow to reload. This means that it packs quite a punch but when there are a lot of enemies around it can be cumbersome.
The Hammer of Dawn is the most powerful weapon in the game. It uses a satellite system for aiming and it shoots a big laser from the sky to your enemy. Although, it is the most powerful weapon in the game, it does have a lot of drawbacks. You cannot just use it anywhere. You need to use it outdoors. Even if you are outdoors, the satellite needs to be aligned properly. If it is not then, it will just not work.
The Longshot Sniper rifle is the game's long range weapon. Like most typical sniper rifles in other games, you can only shoot once before reloading. It can cause quite a bit of damage. It does sound good on paper, however I rarely used it. I only fired it to try it out.
The frag grenade has helped me throughout the game. You only get to pack a maximum of 4. This adds an element of strategy of when to use it or not.
The last weapon that I really used was the Boltok Pistol. It is the equivalent to revolver pistols in other games. It is limited with amount of ammo that you can shoot at any one time. However, it is powerful and can take out most enemies in 2 head shots and some weaker enemies with 1. I took this by mistake and I was forced to use it for a while. This is the only reason that I used it.
As for the rest of the weapons, I did not use them a ton so it is hard for me to judge them. However, in the end, other than the Lancer Rifle, which should be everyone's go to, the rest is entirely up to you. It does not really matter what weapon you use as in Casual or Normal difficulty, there will always be enough ammo that you find scattered on each level.
Like in Doom, it is not an open world but it does somewhat challenge you to wander around as you can pick up COG Tags of fallen soldiers. Each tag found unlocks a comic book entry in the Extras.
The controls are easy to pick up and play. The standard buttons apply to shoot and to aim. One of the most recognizable elements of a Gear of War game is the cover mechanics and you can use it by pressing the A button. After running through the tutorial you are pretty good to start the game and the learning curve for any player is not too steep.
Gears of War - Sample Gameplay
So, is this game as good as people make it out to be? I think that it is a good to above average good game. I do not think that it is quite as satisfying as a Doom 2016 or Doom Eternal. I understand those games came out much later, but I am playing the games now and not back in 2006. My opinions might have been different if that was the case.
If you are looking for an open world, this is not for you. However, if you are looking for an action packed game, this one will be right up your alley. It is a great game to stream.
Let us get into the details of the game, starting with the graphics. As I mentioned above, I played the Ultimate Edition, so this came with some graphical enhancements and it looks great. The lighting is awesome. The characters look polished. It looked really good on my XBOX One S.
The voice acting I think was very strong as well. As most people, I enjoyed the voice of Marcus Fenix (voiced by John DiMaggio). It just fits the character so well. It is very well done. Everyone else was also voiced well and I think it is one of the strongest aspects of the game.
The gameplay is easy to get into. There is a short tutorial at the beginning for newcomers and it does the job. It is not too long and it teaches you the basics that you will use during the rest of the game.
I found the story a little weak. Although, I understand this was an introduction, I still found the story did not have as much meat on the bone as I would have liked. In the game you see General RAAM a few times and I found the end a little rushed. Do not get me wrong, I enjoyed every minute of playing but I would have liked to get a little more into the background of the enemies.
This leads to my other point. In this particular installment, I wanted to feel more for the guys in my team and the COG in general. However, I just felt that they were there because they had to be. May be it is just me, but I liked Marcus Fenix and you get a little bit of his backstory, but I wanted to know more about everyone else. Again, this is only my opinion.
I really enjoyed the level design. Each section is just long enough and it never feels like it is dragged along. If you die, usually it is the players fault and not due to the game's bad design.
I found the AI to be weak in this game. There were times where my squad mates would jump in my line of fire for no reason. There were other times where the enemies would be very bad at covering or they would stand in front of Marcus Fenix while be was reloading and just standing there. Again, I am aware that this came out in 2006 but it has to be said, the artificial intelligence has not aged very well.
In the end though this is a good title. I would recommend anyone to play this at least once. There is no reason not to as it is offered on GamePass and it is well worth the money. It is a great game to stream as there is always action and it is not too long of a game. You can get this game completed in about 10 to 12 hours.
I did not play the co-op or multiplayer as I am not a huge fans of those modes which it is a personal preference. Probably hinders the replay-ability a little but I do not mind.
Have you played this game? What did you think of it. Let us know at the coordinates below.