Gears of War: Ultimate Edition for Windows 10
Gameplay 8
Graphics 9
Sound 8

The original Gears of War gets a nice visual update with this edition of the game, but everything else remains mostly intact. This means that the game still suffers from the shortcomings of the original and can even feel a bit dated by today’s standards. However, it’s still a great shooter and a good place to jump in if you have never tried the series before.

Gameplay: A little clunky at times, but overall quite fun.

Graphics: The updated visuals are definitely a big step up from the original.

Sound: Sounds just like the original, which is a good thing

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Gears of War: Ultimate Edition for Windows 10

Developer: The Coalition | Publisher: Microsoft | Release Date: 2016 | Genre: 3rd Person Shooter / Action | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Microsoft

The world was first introduced to Coalition of Ordered Government soldier turned convict, Marcus Fenix, in 2006. As the star of Gears of War, he was the face of the newly launched franchise and helped to put the Xbox 360 on the map. PC owners were not left in the lurch for too long either and the third-person shooter arrived on Windows systems the following year, complete with additional chapters. Since then the franchise saw a few more releases as well as Microsoft stepping in to acquire it from Epic Games. However, it wasn’t until the release of Gears of War: Ultimate Edition that console owners got to play the original game on Xbox One along with the previously exclusive chapters. Of course, being a re-mastered version, the Ultimate Edition also came with the expected visual improvements. This was then followed by a PC release as Microsoft tried to give computer owners more incentive to switch to Windows 10.

What this essentially means is that Gears of War: Ultimate Edition For Windows 10 is not just a port, but the port of a remaster that was based on the port of the original. Although the game had some teething problems when it was originally released, which didn’t do much to endear it to players who were already reluctant to switch to Windows 10, we didn’t encounter any technical issues. The game ran flawlessly and when playing in 4K with all the graphical options cranked up it puts the Xbox One version to shame.

For anyone who has played the original game, there’s not much that’s new here. The developers have opted to leave everything mostly untouched from a gameplay perspective and only focus on improving the visual assets. This means that the game looks better than it ever did before but still plays pretty much the same. The inclusion of the previously exclusive chapters is obviously also not such a big deal for this version as it was for Xbox One owners. However, having said all that, Gears of War is still a fun game to play. It’s a completely over the top action fest, but playing as big, muscled soldiers who stomp their way through levels like elephants on steroids rarely grows old. A lot of the things that players take for granted in third-person shooters were actually pioneered by the original Gears of War, which unfortunately does mean that the game doesn’t feel as fresh as it used to.

Shooting in GoW is very much cover-based and if you leave Marcus standing out in the option for too long he will quickly be shredded by his enemies. Instead, you need to stick to the conveniently spaced waist-high cover that is dotted around careful pick off your enemies. This can be done by either aiming carefully which is more accurate but puts you in harm’s way or by blind-firing. The latter is wildly inaccurate but can be useful for taking down foes who are trying to rush your cover. Speaking of enemies, the underground dwelling Locust Horde that serves as the antagonists comes in all shapes and sizes. Apart from the normal gun-wielding grunts, you’ll also face off against bat-like versions called the Kryll, the ant-lion-like Seeders, and the completely indestructible Berserkers. Then there’s the ceiling crawling Wretches and giant bosses like the spider-like Corpser. While the normal enemies can quickly be disposed of with a gun, you need to use different tactics on the larger and more unusual enemies, which adds some variety to the game.

In addition to playing the campaign on your own, you can also team up with a partner online for some co-op action. Doing so definitely makes the higher difficulty levels more enjoyable as your AI team members are still as dumb as rocks. We lost count of the number of times that they bumbled straight into our line of fire or got downed within seconds of starting a boss fight. In addition to co-op, this version of the game also has a couple of versus modes, which can be played in ranked, private or casual matches. Although these can be fun the number of active players seem to be thin on the ground and later versions of the game are a lot more refined in this regard in any case.

The visuals have been spruced up, but it looks like the original music and voice performances have been retained, which is a good thing. The game wouldn’t be the same without John DiMaggio grunting and growling at everyone and everything as Marcus Fenix. The soundtrack, which was composed by Kevin Riepl, also sounds as good as ever in this game. The controls worked well enough using a mouse and keyboard, although the game was clearly designed for controllers. The “active reload” system has been retained, which rewards you with quicker reloading if your timing is right. However, mess up the timing, and Marcus will fumble while reloading, which slows the process down. We had no issues with the cover system either except for a few instances where sprinting sometimes causes Marcus to stick to the wrong cover. This is more of an annoyance than anything else but did result in a few game over screens during the Brumak boss battle.

Overall, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition For Windows 10 is a nice nostalgic experience for players who still remember the original game as well as a nice entry point for anyone unfamiliar with the franchise. However, despite all of the visual gloss, it’s still the same game as the original, which is definitely something that modern players will notice. The levels are all very linear, although you are given the choice between a “left” and “right” path at some junctions. There are also a few vehicle sections to break up the action, but these are short and fairly uninspiring. Then there’s the small matter of only being allowed to carry three weapons at a time, which feels very restrictive.

Clearly, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition For Windows 10 is not without issues, but it is also still a very entertaining game. The visceral combat is still thrilling and there’s also plenty of tense chapters, like the one where you have to navigate the dark streets of a city while avoiding the Kryll that can instantly kill you in the dark. These sections give the game almost more of a horror feel than a straightforward shooter. Despite these and other sections, the game is still fairly short and even the extra incentive to hunt for hidden dog-tags to unlock comic book pages doesn’t pad out the playtime that much. For those who have never played the game, this is a great place to start. On the other hand, if you are a previous player the nostalgia alone might not be worth the price.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 10 version 10586.0 or higher, Windows 10 version 10586.0 or higher
  • Processor: x64
  • OS: Windows 10 version 10586.0 or higher, Windows 10 version 10586.0 or higher
  • Processor: OS: 64 bit Windows 10 – version 1511;Processor: Intel Core i5 @3.5GHz+ or AMD FX 6-core
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM (4 GB VRAM)
  • Graphics: GeForce GTX 970 or Radeon R9 290X
  • DirectX: Version 12
  • Hard Drive: 60 GB available space

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