Tag Archives: gears of war

The Horde rises in the next Gears 4 patch

Coming June 6, Gears of War 4 is getting its largest patch to date, Rise of the Horde, which includes a free 10 hour trial so you will have no excuse not to give it a go. The trial is available from June 9-15 and includes the entire first Act, full access to Horde and multiplayer, so fill you boots with 10 hours of free Gears of War 4 goriness.

The main focus of the patch is to give Horde mode a bit of a shakeup. Each soldier class will have access to three new level 6 skills – I’d imagine TiX’s Editor in Chief will like the magic bullet buff to the Sniper class, which increases headshot damage – meanwhile all existing skills can be buffed to the new level 6 cap. To help you on your path to collecting these new skill cards boss waves will drop a single random Horde Skill if you can defeat them. Harder difficulties increase the chance of a rare drop.

After a prolonged first run of the campaign on insane difficulty with Greg, the next piece of patch news doesn’t fill me with much joy – Inconceivable and Ironman difficulties – available for both Campaign and Horde. Inconceivable ramps up the toughness of the Swarm while making the COG weaker while Ironman pits you against the Swarm with just one life. Feeling brave? Take on Inconceivable with Iron Man active, but the best part of the patch… new maps. Gears of War 2 favourite Avalanche returns alongside Gears of War 3 map Rust Lung.

Rounding off the Rise of the Horde patch is a special ‘The Gear With The Golden Gun’ event. Armed with just one bullet in a Boltok, you must hit your opponent by hip-firing, land the shot and the bullet returns to the barrel, miss and you need to dig in for the longest reload animation of your Gears career. Finally, Season Pass holders will get a little something extra with a Horde Expert Pack and an exclusive Gear Pack that contains 5 of the new Horde skills.

For more information on balancing and the new ‘Wings’ re-up level, check out the official website.

HDR Gaming on Xbox One

One of the most lauded features of the 4K revolution, HDR (or High Dynamic Range), has hit Gears of War 4 this week, joining Forza Horizon 3, NBA 2K17, and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.

Whilst typically associated with UHD Blu-ray titles, HDR enables your TV to go beyond conventional 8-bit processing into 10-bit. Those conventional 8-bit images we’ve been enjoying up to now can deliver 256 values across each of the channels in the RGB spectrum—that’s around 16 million colours. So what do those two extra bits give you? Well, a whopping 64-times more colours, hitting just over a billion. It’s kind of a big deal, on paper at least.

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In practice, this means more gradations of colours, more details in bright and dark scenes, and more lifelike, realistic image reproduction. Scenes featuring complex, wide-ranging, diverse images can show off HDR in a particularly striking way.

Players of Gears of War 4 will of course be familiar with its beautiful visual effects, crazy weather, and bombastic action. As games go, there’s perhaps nothing better to show off HDR than this.

The following is a series of Gears of War 4 images captured offscreen in both standard and HDR mode on Xbox One S. Bear in mind however, you’re reading this on an 8-bit display. Due to the nature of HDR and its increased ability to deliver localised luminosity, these images should be interpreted as a typical approximation.
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As you can see here, the standard image suffers quite badly from bloom originating from the sun behind the mountains. As a result, the entire image is overly illuminated in an unrealistic way. With HDR, the display is able to reproduce both the peak brightness of the sun, along with the more subtle, realistic darker details of the wall. Light sources fall across the environment more realistically too, with the facing wall remaining dark whilst retaining detail.

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Even more noticeable here, the sun completely blows out the standard image. On HDR, the brightness and luminosity is retained but localised, with the sun bleeding through the clouds without sacrificing detail elsewhere in the image.

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Multiplayer effects are unsurprisingly more subtle, perhaps a nod by the developers to level the playing field a bit. Environmental details and surfaces continue to deal with light sources in a more realistic way, creating a more natural and striking image.

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Here, HDR gives us a furious sky with blinding brights and moody blacks, as surfaces like the bricks on the left and the metal cog on the right react to light sources more realistically. Notice the shadows under the brown-bricked building’s ledge and the architecture of the building to its right—depth is far more noticeable.

All in all, it’s clear HDR can add tremendous value to a game’s immersion and its ability to reproduce what the artists intended more truthfully. There are some caveats, however. Due to the increased range of colour and luminosity produced by the source, the resulting effect is an image that often appears to be slightly dimmer than its 8-bit equivalent, in order for your television to display the wider range it receives. Whilst this isn’t a problem for gamers in dark rooms, those playing in bright conditions may find HDR to be relatively redundant.


HDR is a new technology for consumers and it’s unsurprisingly riddled with complications. As is often the case with newer standards, there are several formats to choose from—and many of the most popular televisions can only reproduce HDR in certain conditions, with some only supporting the technology on one HDMI port. A bigger red flag for gamers though, is that some televisions don’t support HDR in Game Mode, ultimately sacrificing input latency for 10-bit images. The Samsung we tested HDR gaming on had no problems delivering HDR with Game Mode. Whilst we noticed an extremely minimal increase in input latency through a high-speed camera, it’s completely unnoticeable during gameplay.

In the consumer space, HDR is in its infancy. Just like any other case of early adopter syndrome, it feels like developers, platform makers, and players are all maturing with it together—and with 4K gaming just around the corner, it certainly feels like we’re about to embark on the next big generational leap. Colour me excited.

Gears of War 4 locked and loaded for October release

Gears of War 4’s release date has been revealed! Choosing to announce the news via Entertainment Weekly, The Coalition have also shown off the cover artwork for the next entry into the Gears series, which is set 25 years after Gears of War 3.


Gears of Wars 4 is revving up for a worldwide launch on October 11, but if you can’t wait until then, you can check out the multiplayer beta kicking off later this month – that is if you bought and played Gears of War Ultimate Edition!

Check out the full interview with Rod Fergusson over at Entertainment Weekly.

Backwards compatible Gears of War collection codes are being sent out

If you signed in to your Xbox One last night you may have been greeted by two messages from Xbox Live. The messages contained codes to download Xbox 360 backwards compatible digital versions of the Gears of War collection.

The first message contained codes for Gears of War and Gears of War 2 and the second message, which arrived several hours later, contained Gears of War 3 and Gears of War Judgment.

If you are yet to purchase Gears of War Ultimate Edition, but want the entire Xbox 360 Gears of War catalogue, then make sure you play (purchase) the Ultimate Edition on your Xbox Live account before December 31, 2015 to be eligible to receive the codes.


Gears of War gets a Xbox One special edition bundle

gears of war console

Coming this November to stores is the newly announced special edition Xbox One console bundled with Gears of War. The white console comes with a digital copy of Gears of War Ultimate Edition, Superstar Cole  multiplayer skin and early access to the Gears of War 4 beta when it rolls out next year.

Purchasing the bundle will land you a digital copy of all the original Gears of War games at no additional cost.

gears collection

You can check out our Gears of War review here!


Gears of War Ultimate Edition review


Gears and Halo have a lot in common, and I don’t mean in terms of gameplay. Both titles made huge waves on the Xbox, which defined the console as something for shooter fans; they both garnered a huge fan base and even grabbed the limelight in the eSports scene. Halo has had its turn to ‘shine’ on Xbox One with the Master Chief Collection – now it’s Gears’ turn.

With the Gears of War license firmly in Microsoft’s hands, Black Tusk Studios were given the series and consequently rebranded as The Coalition. Former Epic Games’ Rod Fergusson heads the studio and in his hands one would hope that the future of Gears is a bright one.

The Master Chief Collection was plagued with problems so it’s no wonder that the much-rumoured Marcus Fenix Collection hasn’t been released. Instead The Coalition has lovingly recreated the first title in the series, with the help of independent UK Studio Splash Damage. Rather than just remaster Gears of War with a spit of HD polish, the Ultimate Edition includes reworked cutscenes, the missing chapters that were cut from the Xbox 360 version, and refined gameplay mechanics.


Pick up the game between launch and December 31, and you will be able to download the full Gears of War back catalogue, via the Xbox One’s new backwards compatibility feature. You will also get early access to the Spring 2016 Gears of War 4 beta – surely this alone is enough to justify purchasing the Ultimate Edition, which can be bought digitally for £29.99/$39.99/€39.99.

Running at 60 fps and in 1080p, the Ultimate Edition looks absolutely stunning, you would be forgiven for thinking this was a brand new title for the Xbox One. However, I did suffer some minor texture pop that I caught out of the corner of my eye. I also witnessed several character glitches while playing campaign, with AI squad mates getting stuck in doorways, getting in my way or shooting at nothing.

They are also rather ineffectual at taking down the Locust (when they actually hit them), although equally, the Locust were often no better, paying me little to no attention as they walked up behind and straight past. For returning fans, it’s worth noting that the Normal difficulty is now the old Casual setting, so it’s a breeze to play, and the new Casual setting is somewhat laughable.


It’s great to step back into the campaign of Gears of War and find that the emotion and tension of the game’s story still shines through even though I’ve played the original multiple times. The set pieces still deliver excitement, panic and sheer euphoria at beating them, and yes the Berserker encounter is still as dramatic as you remember. This in part is down to the stunning remastered Dolby 7.1 surround sound – making full use of my ASTRO A50s – the Corpser in particular sounds so much more intimidating.

The part I was most excited to play was the extra missions that were cut from the Xbox 360 release, which continue the story of the Brumak that rocked up at the end of Chapter IV. This totals around 90 minutes of extra Gears campaign goodness and it really cements the creature’s purpose as it gives chase to your escaping APC, rather than being resigned to a mere cutscene.


COG tags are also given more purpose in the game, collecting them reveals pages in one of five Gears of War comics. Each of the five comics – Unseen, They Also Serve, Unsaid, Promise Me, and Harper’s Story – can be zoomed into and read just like any digital comic.

The biggest change to the gameplay though is the inclusion of Gears of War 3’s movement, cover and Tac-Com. Not only does the Tac-Com allow you to give orders to your AI teammates in campaign, but you can also tag enemy positions, which is carried into the multiplayer, great for teamwork, but I’m sure some Gears fans will accuse this of cheapening their beloved game.

The pressure from the Gears faithful has always been my problem with playing online – it felt very elitist – and something that was hard to get into. Multiplayer is focused on one-life combat, and if you are the weakest link, boy did you know about it – making online feel quite unwelcoming to newcomers, and with the absence of bot matches to practice on, my Gears career was resigned to campaign and co-op.


I first began to gel with multiplayer when the second game released and I really hit my stride with the third title, so for me, bringing Gears of War 3’s movement and cover system into the Ultimate Edition makes it far more accessible than I ever found the original title. Don’t worry if you are a Gears purist, you can still wall bounce around the map and run circles around weaker players like myself, but for folk like me, you will find a far more accessible game – although there still aren’t any options for bot matches.

If you do need to pick up some tips, then you can join a match in one of the two spectator slots and cycle through the map or player cams. Spectators can’t communicate with players until they are dead, so unless you use party chat, there’s no advantage in having a friendly spectator onboard.

Even with the tweaks to multiplayer, Gears is still a tough game so don’t expect to be able to go in and rack up huge kill counts. The one-life team modes are certainly where veterans of the series will be lurking, but for those that prefer multiple spawns, there are a whole host of modes to choose from including the new fast-paced Blitz mode – an adaptation of King of the Hill.


The beauty of Gears’ multiplayer though is the intense shotgun battles, which also have their own 2v2 mode that was created in conjunction with the Gears of War community. Get into a one-on-one fight and it will certainly be an adrenaline-filled battle.

Playing online has been the most intense multiplayer experience I’ve played in any competitive shooter – when you are the last man standing and triumph over three enemy players to win the match, boy what a great feeling, and something that no other game has ever come close to instilling in me.

The multiplayer of the Ultimate Edition is topped off with dedicated servers and all the original and DLC multiplayer maps. Similar to Titanfall, you can choose which server you play on, so no more blaming lag or accusing players of having host advantage – it’s buttery smooth and so much fun – it will certainly feature regularly in my online gaming sessions.


I have fond memories of Gears, and I’m glad to see that the campaign not only stands the test of time, but the multiplayer is now something I can really get into – is this the Ultimate Edition? I would have to answer with a resounding “Shit yeah!”

With Halo and Gears set to battle it out for supremacy as the console’s lead title, it’s now over to Halo as it launches its first full Xbox One title. We will have to wait until next year for the first full Gears title on Xbox One, but the Ultimate Edition has already signed an eSports deal with ESL so the pressure is on Halo 5 to redeem the mistakes made with the Master Chief Collection… your move 343!

Thanks to Xbox for their support

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Gears of War Mad World trailer gets remastered

Remember the iconic Mad World trailer for Gears of War? It has been a long time since it launched, so I will forgive you if you don’t! How about you refresh your memory with this refreshed take on the trailer, featuring additional scenes and remastered goodness.

Lock and load soldier because Gears will be with us soon – launching August 25.


Xbox kisses goodbye to the Call of Duty Championships


Back when several of us pointed to the possibility that Call of Duty would be switching allegiance to PlayStation, we were shunned – told we knew nothing and that this would never happen, mainly because of how deep-seeded the eSports scene was with Xbox and the Call of Duty Championships.

Treyarch’s David Vonderhaar has now confirmed that the Pro scene will indeed be switching to PlayStation and while there’s no denying the success of Call of Duty, is this such a loss to Xbox? Personally I’ve enjoyed the multiplayer less and less with each iteration and with Halo looking to make a huge comeback this year and Gears of War looking like it could be something rather special, will we see a resurgence of Halo and Gears on the Pro scene? Halo has already made quite the bold statement at gamescom, announcing the Halo Championships.

Regardless of your stance, I’m pretty happy that Xbox can stand strong on the back of two very successful exclusive multiplayer games, meanwhile Sony has to buy theirs… let the arguments commence!

While speaking with GameSpot, Phil Spencer had this to say:

So, they don’t “gobble” the deals up. They buy them. You know, I read the same things you do, and I know some people think it’s somehow less expensive to sign third-party exclusives if you have a bigger market-share. I can tell you, it has nothing to do with market share

…so, about that Tomb Raider and Titanfall deal Phil?