Over the past few years, and more specifically the past few months if you’ve been watching this space, you will have already seen how “remasters” are taking over. What is really meant by this is that we are (supposedly) getting less triple A new IP’s and instalments of games in favour of game developers “re-doing” older games with a bit better graphics and slight changes here and there. For the most part, it’s seen as a bit of a shady practice and just a way of getting older games that people love onto the newer system, then charging them again to play the same game. This is mainly why I don’t partake in these sorts of games. However, The Coalition look like they are set to redefine and hopefully push other developers into making these experiences feel fresh and, at times, even completely different. Let’s get into why the Gears of War Ultimate Edition gives us what we want from a remaster.
I’d firstly like to start out by saying that a huge portion of the community was expecting a “Master Chief Collection” style re-release of the Gears series, with each game and their respective multi-players all being on one disc with the ability to play each at the push of a button. It was then revealed that only the first game in the series would receive a full remaster leaving many fans upset and feeling slightly mislead. I think the changes you will see to the first game that I outline below will change your mind, and hey, you’re going to be able to play Gears 2, 3 and Judgement on Xbox’s backwards compatibility this fall.
We’ll start with one of the biggest issues I have with remasters, which The Coalition has carefully made sure to improve upon and that is redesigns of levels. When a game is released for a last generation console, there are obviously going to be things that make the graphics not as refined as what can be achieved on the newer systems. Lower polygon counts and more anti-aliasing are a few words I will throw around that perhaps only the graphical snobs like myself will understand, but a quick Google search will tell you all you need to know. The thing about porting a last generation title to a new console is that you can’t improve on these lower polygon counts as effectively as you could if you completely rebuilt the game from the ground up, much like The Coalition has with this game, even changing the way the level plays in some situations giving the game a really new personality.
This also extends to character design and models, and the way that the characters interact with the world and with each other. Enhanced facial movements make the characters look and feel like real people and different camera angles purveying the scene in a new way, making an intense action scene feel more like that of a survival horror sequence, for example.
In addition to the completely re-styled terrain, better quality surroundings and environmental effects have been added, including things like rich fog and stunning reflections within the lighting engine.
Along with these changes to existing content, The Coalition are setting new trends in the remaster market, adding whole new story experiences with a brand new chapter with more missions pertaining to the original campaign. These missions are said to add to the main story of the game, without changing anything to do with the base game and really seem to just be a bonus for returning players to flesh out the lore of the game some.
As a bonus, The Coalition seem to really be pushing the multi-player scene in this game, with the game running at 1080p and 60 frames per second for lightning fast response times, dedicated servers most likely supplied by the Microsoft Cloud which is an absolute must for competitive games and new game types including a new 2v2 mode. This looks to be one of the best multi-player experiences we’ve seen in a while.
If just me saying these things doesn’t sway you on how great this game looks while running on the Xbox One, the screenshots you will see intermittently throughout this article will make you look at this game in a whole new way, and make new and old players want to hop into the world of Gears, which ultimately is The Coalition’s goal with this remaster.
I’m not a huge fan of remastered content, it just doesn’t sit right with me that the consumer pays twice for a game they own, just to be able to take older games with them to the newer, more powerful console. That said, however, The Coalition have done a fantastic job of swaying me about these types of re-done games and have shown us that remasters don’t have to be poorly done ports of popular games, for the sake of a quick cash grab.
Is the Gears Ultimate Edition going to be a big hit? Have The Coalition done enough to make you want to re-buy the first game in the series? Let us know in the comments below!