Nearly nine years after the landmark original redefined console shooters and set the bar for HD gaming on Xbox 360, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition reintroduces the iconic game on Xbox One in 1080p, with a campaign and multiplayer experience that has been completely and painstakingly rebuilt from the ground up. Every aspect of the game, including lighting, environments, characters, and cinematic scenes has been beautifully recreated.
The game also includes five exhilarating campaign missions never available before on console, along with 60 fps multiplayer, modernized controls, dedicated multiplayer servers, LAN support, three newly added multiplayer modes, all-new Achievements worth 1,250 Gamerscore and 19 classic maps remastered for Xbox One.
For gamers who’ll be experiencing the heart-pounding adventure for the first time, we’ve put together a short primer below on the story and what this Xbox One-enhanced version of the game brings to the table.
We’ll stay light on spoilers here, because the best way to experience Gears is to play through it yourself. When it comes to the story, however, two words reign supreme: Emergence Day. That’s the fateful moment when the ravenous Locust emerged from their subterranean home and killed a quarter of Sera’s population in a single day, ushering in a period of constant warfare. Oh, and this is all just six weeks after Sera’s two superpowers, the Coalition of Ordered Governments and the Union of Independent Republics, signed a peace treaty ending their own 79-year war. One year after Emergence Day, the COG used its own weapon of mass destruction, the Hammer of Dawn, on its own cities in an attempt to eradicate the Locust threat. The humans now had a fighting chance… but at a heavy cost.
As the original Gears of War unfolds, it’s been 14 years since E-Day, and we join bandana-clad Marcus Fenix and his band of COG brothers from Delta Squad as they attempt to drive back the unrelenting Locust. John DiMaggio, probably best known for his work as foul-mouthed jokester Bender on “Futurama,” showed his range by infusing the war-weary Marcus with a sense of humanity.
Every action hero needs a trusted wingman, and Dom Santiago is as loyal as they come. His story is perhaps the most tragic of anyone in Delta Squad, as he’s seen tremendous loss ever since E-Day. Dom’s actions actively set the story in motion, so he’s actually as integral to the plot as Marcus.
Damon Baird, meanwhile, plays the role of squad skeptic and cynic, and he has his own rivalry of sorts with Marcus. Baird is almost symbolic of the before-and-after nature of Gears’ narrative: He grew up wealthy, but all that money doesn’t matter, now that the Locust have overrun the planet.
Finally, Augustus “Cole Train” Cole adds a bit of swagger and bravado to Delta Squad – and with good reason, considering he was a star in the sport of thrashball (think a more violent version of American football) before the Locust had their way with Sera.
So, what’s new in Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, and how will it draw in players both old and new? Well, you’ll find that The Coalition has remastered every art asset and completely reworked the cut-scenes with new motion-capture technology. While Marcus and Delta squad still look weather-beaten and weary from the horrors of combat, they’ve never looked better. Finally, The Coalition has brought over several late-game chapters that had previously been exclusive to the PC version of Gears.
You can see just how far Gears of War has come in Remastering Gears of War, an 8-part video series detailing how The Coalition re-Geared Delta Squad for a new generation. And today, a fan-favorite returns – also remastered: welcome back the Cole Train Rap.
And if you think you’ll be left in the dark as a series newcomer, don’t forget that if you purchase Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, you can unlock the entire Gears collection via Xbox One Backward Compatibility. Yep, that’s right: If you play Ultimate Edition on Xbox Live anytime between now and the end of 2015, you get the original Gears of War, Gears of War 2, Gears of War 3, and Gears of War: Judgment at no extra cost. Even if you’ve never chainsawed a single Locust, there’s still plenty of time to get acquainted with the series and become an E-Day expert when Gears of War 4 finally hits Xbox One next year.
In addition, gamers who pick up Gears of War: Ultimate Edition will receive early access to the Gears of War 4 multiplayer beta in 2016. Gears of War: Ultimate Edition and the Gears of War: Ultimate Edition Xbox One Bundle are available at select retailers today, including Microsoft stores and microsoftstore.com.
Join the battle for Sera and experience the adventure that launched one of the most celebrated sagas in gaming.