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gears of war

CONTEST photo
Courtesy of Xbox and The Coalition
The original Gears of War is back almost nine years to the day on Xbox One with the HD soul-patched Gears of War Ultimate Edition. To celebrate, Xbox and The Coalition are giving away a custom Xbox One designed by The Coaliti...

So, how's Gears of War's multiplayer at launch?

Aug 25 // Brett Makedonski
Between last night and this afternoon, I have a fair sample size of matches under my belt. I'm maybe one percent of the way toward the "Seriously..." Achievement, which doesn't sound like much, but it is. The only issue I've encountered was about five seconds of lag at the beginning of one match. Otherwise, everything's been silky smooth. There's one non-performance issue that I have a problem with, however. The War Journal offers multiplayer statistics, but not on how close you are to earning the different Achievements. (If I'm not mistaken, this is a feature that Gears of War 3 implemented quite nicely.) Likewise, Xbox One's "snap an app" feature doesn't track that progress either. The sole indicator is a counter that pops up after a match in which you've hit a milestone toward that Achievement. Hopefully a fix is coming for that. That one insignificant complaint aside, this game holds up its end of the bargain with regard to multiplayer. After the Halo: The Master Chief Collection snafu (that may still be on-going to some degree), it was important for Microsoft to emphatically stick the landing on this one. Fortunately, it lives up to the excellent standard set by the rest of Gears of War Ultimate Edition.
Gears of War photo
Silky smooth so far
I have a novel concept for you: What if a major video game releases and its multiplayer component just works? Like, there isn't a bunch of drama and patches and updates and apologies; instead, you get to play the game immedia...

Review: Gears of War Ultimate Edition

Aug 24 // Brett Makedonski
Gears of War Ultimate Edition (PC, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: The CoalitionPublisher: Microsoft StudiosRelease: August 25, 2015 (Xbox One), TBA (PC)MSRP: $39.99  The developers of Gears of War Ultimate Edition have called this "the first at its best." Turns out they aren't wrong, but they also aren't quite precise enough. This is Gears of War -- entire franchise included -- at its best. Gameplay at a steady 60 frames-per-second does wonders for the naturally clunky movement. These soldiers now feel less like the tanks they resemble. That's not exactly the case in the campaign, however. Multiplayer over Xbox Live runs at 60FPS, but solo and cooperative play is locked in at 30. Regardless, it's a vast improvement over previous installments. It's immediately noticeable as soon as you pick the controller up. The Ultimate Edition is running on a mature version of Unreal Engine 3 -- the same engine the original Gears of War was built upon -- so this improvement can likely be chalked up to optimization and more powerful hardware in the Xbox One. This newfound fluidity makes everything less frustrating. Cover-based shooting works as it always has, but moving from spot to spot isn't as likely to end up with your character stuck to a wall you didn't intend. Navigating the game's many battlefields is quicker and more enjoyable. [embed]306974:60086:0[/embed] While a slicker movement system is easy to appreciate, it's the combat -- the actual shooting of guns -- that's the real meat of Gears of War. Almost everything about it is perfectly intact. As many bullets as the enemies can soak up, there's resounding satisfaction anytime an enemy gets tagged with a torque bow or a pistol takes a head clean off. Hip-shooting with the Gnasher is still a frustratingly inaccurate prospect, as it seems like things work out in your favor about half the time. But, the greatest compliment you can give Gears of War (and it holds true in Ultimate Edition) is that it makes fighting fun. That shouldn't necessarily be the case for a game that features pop-up shooting gallery one after another, but it is. Active reload is one of the better game mechanics of the past decade in that it constantly keeps the player's attention during a process that they'd otherwise be uninvolved in. The Lancer (a/k/a "chainsaw gun") is iconic and unironically cool. It's on the back of the combat that the rest of Gears of War gets by. A lot of the level design feels dated now. Settings are distinct through the game's five acts, but they're all used the exact same way. Rarely is there clever subversion to keep the player on their toes. More often than not, it's predictable what lies just ahead. To be fair, there are attempts to break this mold; the second act holds two examples. A large swath of this part of the game asks the player to pathfind by blowing up propane tanks in order to illuminate the road. When mixed with fighting, these are some of the best moments in Gears of War, as it adds a puzzle-like element. Conversely, the end of this act dedicates a chapter to vehicle driving. It's poorly executed, and it comes off as a forced and transparent bid at shaking up monotony. Gears of War can be linear to a fault, but that's a trade-off for its cinematic nature. Chapter length is generally short, and a new cutscene is always just around the corner. Setpieces come about fairly frequently, but they're somewhat subdued when compared to other installments in the series. Rather, this Gears of War is the game that set the tone for the over-the-top action to follow. Despite all the cinematics, Gears of War is notably light on narrative. The story details the human struggle against the invading Locust on the planet of Sera. Things are bleak. Humanity has its back against the wall. Everything feels so down and out. This coalition of well-trained troops is the good guys' last chance. For those who actually care, Gears of War's plot can be effective yet simple. It lacks a lot of nuance, as does the dialogue. Most exchanges between characters are gruff one-liners, either overtly aggressive or sarcastic. To be blunt, the dialogue hasn't aged well but this was never the game's strong suit. The greatest disconnect comes from the superb gameplay and the subpar narrative. It's not only the disparity between the two that rings obvious, but also how they fail to work hand-in-hand. Gameplay often feels less like a means of accomplishing a story-specific goal, but more like a means to trigger a cutscene to advance the plot. Pacing is also an issue, as stakes are high and chaotic at all times. There are plenty of faults, but Gears of War's greatest trick is that you don't notice them while you're playing. It's just a good time from start to finish. On a personal note: my roommate and I played through the entirety of the campaign cooperatively on Insane difficulty in two sittings in one day. I couldn't tell you the last time I dedicated that much of a day to a game. That speaks volumes. For anyone looking to boil the Gears of War experience down to its purest and (arguably) most enjoyable form, competitive multiplayer again serves a big role. There are 19 maps and nine modes (including newcomers team deathmatch, king of the hill, and two-on-two with shotguns). It's undeniably quite the large offering. Again, Gears of War is fantastic when it's just unadulterated combat. By today's standards, eight-person multiplayer should seem tiny, but it really doesn't. There's always plenty of fray to be found. Maps are designed in a nice, symmetric way so that everything's balanced. Although, the majority of weapons are immediately disregarded by most people in favor of constant use of the Gnasher, which feels like the way to go at almost all times. Whether the campaign or multiplayer, Gears of War undoubtedly succeeds in constantly entertaining. The Ultimate Edition takes that to a new level through optimized gameplay, smoother controls, and updated visuals. Most importantly, it makes this classic relevant again. 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. [Editor's note: At time of writing, the multiplayer component wasn't live for the general public. A handful of multiplayer games were played in a private room hosted by the developer. We'll report on the state of online play at launch and thereafter. If this aspect of the game sees significant problems in the weeks following release, we'll cover those issues.] [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Gears of War review photo
At its best
For better and for worse, Gears of War helped shape the past generation of gaming. Bursting onto the scene in 2006, it helped solidify now-common tropes like chest-high walls, brown and gray shooters, and muscle-bound sp...

The Shattering photo
The Shattering

Is this Bleszinski's next game?


Nexon opens teaser website
Aug 24
// Vikki Blake
A new teaser website has dropped tantalising clues about Gears of War creator Cliff Bleszinski's upcoming game. A new mini-website at Nexon.net, called The Shattering, offers a brief glimpse of a coastal city in ruins, t...

Gears of War photo
Gears of War

Gears of War also redid its Mad World trailer for the re-release


We all knew this would happen
Aug 17
// Brett Makedonski
Microsoft is putting the finishing touches on Gears of War Ultimate Edition, an upgraded remake of the 2006 title. It's extending those duties a bit beyond the game, though. It's also recreating some of the original marketin...
Backward compatibility photo
Backward compatibility

Shadow Complex playable on Xbox One for preview members


As is Gears of War
Aug 03
// Jordan Devore
I'm using my Xbox One more than ever now that Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise is playable by way of Rare Replay. Gotta catch 'em all. Backward compatibility is a huge deal for people like me who have an extensive Xbox...
Ultimate Edition photo
Ultimate Edition

Entire 'Gears of War Collection' unlocked on Xbox One by playing Ultimate Edition


Gears 1-4
Aug 03
// Chris Carter
Microsoft has announced that if you purchase Gears of War: Ultimate Edition, you'll be able to unlock the entire Gears Collection by way of backward compatibility, and now we have a few concrete details on the matter. If...

Gears of War HD is fine, but why wasn't active reload its legacy?

Aug 03 // Steven Hansen
[embed]297093:59771:0[/embed] Fergusson calls Ultimate Edition "the first at its best." The team didn't want to update the gameplay to reflect every change brought about by the second and third sequel. It's a "balance between modernization and breaking Gears 1." You still can't move while downed, for instance, but you can spot enemies. Still, the ten-year-old game could use some cleaning up. Fergusson has talked about the slapdash putting together of the original. He noted that, "When you look at Gilligan's Island today, it's a terrible show that should never be watched." That it isn't really funny, "but Mary Ann was hot." This comparison doesn't make a ton of sense because Gears of War: Ultimate Edition is a tech overhaul. It's a shot for shot, line for line remake, like that Psycho with Vince Vaughn. An HD, visually remastered Gilligan's Island would still be Gilligan's Island. I played some Gears Ultimate last week in San Francisco. For shock value, they had Xbox 360s set up to play one round of multiplayer in the original. It is gritty and monotone. Characters feel appropriately like tanks and I struggle to discern between human and alien bug ground monster. This problem didn't go away completely when we switched over to Xbox One, but we can chalk that up to me being not particularly great. I think my team only lost one round, though the win piles were not me carrying folks. Here's a more important question: why is the gruff marine third-person cover shooter the thing that feels most copied from Gears and not active reload? Active reload is still so fucking good. It engages the player when they'd otherwise be waiting for an animation to finish, it has practical advantages, more button presses (in repeatable timing instances) makes for more rhythmic and fluid play. Why didn't everyone do this? The rest of it is still fun, too. The insult of walking patiently up behind a sniper and casually chainsawing them dead. The hulking movement and exploding heads. That one level with a killer train in between halves. And there are new additions like TDM, differing "competitive" and "social" matchmaking, 4K displays if you buy it on PC, additional content if you never played the original PC release. Playing Gears Ultimate will net you the previous Gears games when Xbox One sorts out its backwards compatibility, too, and you of course get early access to Gears 4 down the line.
Hands-on preview photo
Hands-on with the rebuilt Gears of War
Gears of War was not alone in ushering in an era of grimdark, of repetitive third-person cover-based shooting, but it ground our faces deepest into the dirt and grit. At one point an officer yells at prison-broke Marcus Fenix...

Gamer Prom photo
Gamer Prom

Which gaming personality would you ask to prom and why?


There is only one dev for me...
Aug 01
// Jed Whitaker
Picture this: It is two weeks till prom and you have to ask a gaming personality to be your date. Who would you ask and why?  I'd ask the game dev formerly known as "CliffyB," Cliff Bleszinski, because he encompasse...
Gears of War photo
Gears of War

Devs 'aren't trying to fix gameplay' with Gears of War remaster


But things are being smoothed out
Jul 29
// Brett Makedonski
Even though it'll release almost nine years after the original, Gears of War players won't feel a lot of difference between 2006's game and the remaster. Sure, they'll notice a ton of differences, but they won't feel&nb...
The Coalition photo
The Coalition

Gears of War 4 dev canceling its original game for Gears a 'no-brainer'


Job security, I guess
Jul 29
// Steven Hansen
After Microsoft acquired the Gears of War rights, Black Tusk studio was doomed. It was rebranded as The Coalition, a less discrete and more boring name, and will be to Gears of War what 343 is to Halo. Black Tusk had been wo...
Gears of War photo
Gears of War

Gears of War has more weapon skins to sell us


You can pre-load the game on Xbox One
Jul 23
// Jordan Devore
I don't think I ever bought a weapon skin for Gears of War 3, but plenty of folks did. Good job, old me -- you were prone to buying stuff like that in those days but you held strong. Anyway, the skins are back for Gears of Wa...
Gears of War photo
Gears of War

PC players will have to wait a bit for Gears of War: Ultimate Edition


No exact date given
Jul 22
// Brett Makedonski
It was only a month ago that The Coalition boss Rod Fergusson took the floor at the PC Gaming show at E3 to announce that Gears of War: Ultimate Edition would release on Windows 10. That's still true, but it wo...
GoW: UE for free photo
GoW: UE for free

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition to come bundled with Xbox One


Curb stomp for the low price of free
Jul 09
// Jed Whitaker
Rod Fergusson, head of The Coalition, announced today at the Gears of War panel at San Diego Comic-Con that the base model of Xbox One will come bundled with Gears of War: Ultimate Edition. The bundle includes a 500GB Xbox On...
Gears of War photo
Gears of War

Yeah, the 'Seriously...' Achievement is back in the Gears of War remaster


And 'THIS! IS! ANNEX!'
Jul 08
// Brett Makedonski
Gears of War is getting a remaster for Xbox One and PC, and of course it's bringing its most iconic Achievement with it. Whether you're gibbing people up close with the Gnasher or tearing them apart with the Lancer's cha...
Gears of War remaster photo
Gears of War remaster

Expect this stuff to be fixed in Gears of War: Ultimate Edition


Feedback from the beta is in
Jul 02
// Jordan Devore
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition is creeping up on me with that August 25 release date. I missed the beta for this Xbox One remaster, but plenty of you didn't. A million matches were logged in a week and, somehow, a single pers...
Gears remaster photo
Gears remaster

Peek at Gears of War: Ultimate Edition's touched-up cinematics


Comparison screenshots, too
Jun 24
// Jordan Devore
I've mostly avoided the remaster trend, but Gears of War: Ultimate Edition might be one of the few to pull me in. Not so much for the campaign, whose revamped cutscenes are briefly shown here, but as a way to get back into t...
Destructoid on Twitch photo
Destructoid on Twitch

Destructoid Live: Gears of War beta, Kameo on Xbox One, and a revised controller


3.5mm and new bumpers
Jun 22
// Jed Whitaker
[Update: The live stream is over, but check out the replay below if you so wish.] Did you know that the Gears of War: Ultimate Edition beta is going on Xbox One right now? Do you care? Either way I'm going to be liv...
Gears 4's Kait photo
Gears 4's Kait

The woman in Gears 4 is Kait and it's not called Gears 4


Holiday 2016
Jun 17
// Steven Hansen
I had an appointment with Microsoft about Gears today, but it ended up being mostly about Gears of War Ultimate, the remake of the original game. I did get one piece of news about Gears 4: the woman's name is Kait. We already...

Marcus Fenix's default Gears of War face is a permanent scowl

Jun 17 // Steven Hansen
Before Gears became the big bad brolf of Microsoft franchises, it was a bit more scrappy. Fergusson was excited to be able to go back and completely change Gears' cinematics. "Back then we were under such time constraints we called them Frankenscenes," he said. Motion capture was re-used and stitched together. The dialogue in cinematics remains intact, but there are all sorts of new camera angles, zooms. Fergusson and company went back to assess, "what were we trying to convey, what did we successfully or not successfully convey," in terms of tone. The five chapters left out of Gears' 2006 360 release (they later made it into the 2007 PC release) are also being included in Ultimate. The "casual" difficulty has become the new normal and a truer "casual" setting has been added. There's still local split-screen on and offline (take notes, Halo 5) with a pillar box look to give both players a view closer to 16:9. And, as folks might be seeing in the online beta, there are dedicated servers, a spectator mode, LAN support, 19 maps, Team Death Match, King of the Hill, community designed Gnashers 2v2, and 1080p, 60fps online play. Unless you're playing on PC and want to crank it up to 4K or whatever.
Gears Ultimate photo
And more on Gears of War Ultimate
Microsoft announced a 60fps, 1080p remake of the first Gears, Gears of War Ultimate, a couple days back. I sat down with Rod Fergusson for a meeting about the remake, which has completely replaced every single art asset, adde...

Gears of War photo
Gears of War

Gears of War Ultimate Edition is coming to PC


And Xbox One of course
Jun 16
// Chris Carter
Another PC-centric announcement at the first ever PC Gaming Show at E3! The Coalition's Rod Fergusson took the stage to reveal that Gears of War Ultimate Edition, which was just unveiled yesterday for Xbox One, is coming...
Gears of War photo
Yep, it's Gears
At launch, Gears of War never really caught on in my circles. It was always second (or third) fiddle to Halo and Call of Duty, but I still played the campaign with my wife nonetheless, and dabbled in online play. N...

Gears of War 4 photo
Gears of War 4

Gears of War 4 announced, features new characters


Looks pretty spooky and stormy
Jun 15
// Jed Whitaker
Gears of War 4 has been announced by The Coalition at Microsoft's E3 press conference, and it looks spooky as hell. No familiar faces were in the trailer, as it looks like the game focuses on all new characters. Fans of the series will be happy to know that the Gnasher shotgun, Stub pistol, and Lancer are still here. Coming exclusively to Xbox One, the release date is still unannounced.
Gears of War photo
Gears of War

Gears of War Ultimate Edition coming August 25


Bring on the meat
Jun 15
// Zack Furniss
Looks like the Gears of War Ultimate Edition will be here in just a couple of months. If you're itching to get the chainsaw revving, you can play it when it releases August 25. I remember being 14 and thinking Gears of W...
Gears of War photo
Gears of War

Another day, another E3 leak -- this time it's about Gears of War


Releasing August 25, apparently
Jun 15
// Vikki Blake
We knew it was a possibility, but a Russian Gears of War website has revealed further details about a remastered Gears of War collection heading to the Xbox One. The leak -- which comes courtesy of Siliconera and Tmag.it...
Gears of War photo
Gears of War

Gears of War studio Black Tusk rebranded as The Coalition


We'll see the new game on June 15
Jun 03
// Jordan Devore
Black Tusk Studios has taken over development on the Gears of War franchise now that Microsoft owns the property. Previously, the studio was working on its own IP, which we caught a glimpse of during E3 2013. Sounds like we w...
Gears of War photo
Gears of War

Possible Gears of War remaster coming to Xbox One


Not quite the Marcus Fenix Collection
Apr 25
// Zack Furniss
According to Polygon, Gears of War is going to be the next in line for HD-ification on the Xbox One. This doesn't come as a huge surprise since Black Tusk Studios is hard at work on the next entry in the s...
Gears of War photo
Gears of War

Xbox uploaded a really old Gears of War video for some reason


Speculation inbound!
Apr 10
// Brett Makedonski
You probably don't need to bother watching this video; it's nearly four years old at this point. That's when Gears of War 3 launched -- almost four years ago. Time flies and all that, eh? But, Xbox just uploaded the vid...
Gears of War photo
Gears of War

No Marcus Fenix Collection, says Black Tusk


Maybe get on that
Mar 19
// Jordan Devore
Microsoft-owned Black Tusk Studios is heading up the future of Gears of War with a new game on Xbox One and, assuming that goes okay, more to come. Recent rumors have pointed to a series collection, which seems inevitable eve...
Gears of War photo
Gears of War

It's a good thing Gears of War: Tactics was canceled


Oh, Kinect
Sep 11
// Jordan Devore
A few years back, it was repeatedly rumored that Gears of War would get a spinoff game built around Kinect. The project never came to fruition and that's seemingly for the best, if this alpha footage of Gears of War: Tactics ...

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