Tag Archives: gears

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.

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You can check out our Gears of War review here!

https://youtu.be/rwbYhvlrQbc

Gears of War Ultimate Edition review

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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https://youtu.be/rwbYhvlrQbc

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.

https://youtu.be/rwbYhvlrQbc

Go behind-the scenes of Gears of War Ultimate Edition

Gears of War Ultimate Edition has gone gold and it’s also available for pre-download should you wish to buy a digital copy of the game – doing so will also bag you an exclusive multiplayer skin – pre-order the standard edition and get access to Adam Fenix and Civilian Anya multiplayer skins and Animated Imulsion Weapon Skin, while the Deluxe edition includes 10 different Animated Weapon Skins and 36 standard Weapon Skins, and the Civilian Marcus Fenix and Aaron Griffin multiplayer characters.

 

The Coalition have also unveiled the opening cinematic of the Ultimate Edition, but wait before you jump to the video… there’s more. Starting today until launch, there will be a series of behind-the-scenes videos uploaded to GearsofWar.com – check out both videos below:

 

 

ThisisXbox Attends Gears of War: Judgment Day Event

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As many of you are probably aware, Microsoft held a small event in London recently showcasing some of their upcoming game Gears of war: Judgment. I was lucky enough to have been invited and get some time with the game hands-on, and on a far more personal level than I had before having only played two rounds at last year’s Eurogamer Expo being watched by crowds of people I don’t know. Within minutes it is easy to see that People Can Fly have paid a lot of attention to keeping the core elements of the Gears franchise we know and love in there, while adding a nice few tweaks to make the multiplayer and single player alike feel, well, a little different as opposed to essentially being a full price piece of DLC.

Thursday arrives and I make my way to Bond Street; I manage to arrive nice and early giving me extra time to have a hamburger and some fries from McDonald’s. It has to be said, Microsoft chose the right building for the job, from the tube station to the building of the event, shops, stalls, standard modern London buildings, then, nestled in between all of these, stands a Victorian building with two huge stone pillars outside and a very large wooden double door leading you in, the most “Sera-esque” building I’ve seen in a while, and I do live in London.

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I am let inside and led to the basement where the mood was instantly set. There I met some Twitter winners and some people from other Xbox news sites attending this special event, and had a brief wander around at the impressive setup and decor until we were all told to sit down for our introduction.

Led by none other than AceyBongos (XBOX EMEA Social Marketing Manager), we were all told we would be spending two hours with the game, 40 minutes on a single player level and the rest on multiplayer. We were given a small rundown of the campaign level and the multiplayer mode we would be playing, and off we went. I’ll treat this the same way we were treated and split this up into two parts, single player and multiplayer, so enough about my trip and what the place looked like, the important part, gameplay!

Campaign: Sadly, campaign was to be played alone which was a new experience for me, even as a fan of the franchise since Gears of War came out in 2006, I had never played campaign without a co-op buddy, but it did not matter. The scene was set with a lot of COGs gearing for war (heh, gearing… For war) and discussing a rumour of a high ranking officer becoming a war criminal in a matter of a week – Enter Baird and his squad being escorted from a Raven to what looks like a courthouse in a much less wore torn version of Sera we have ever seen without it being a flashback. This sets the tone for the mission, I can’t say the same for the rest of the game but the mission I played was entirely narrated by Baird while on trial giving a much more story-esque feel to everything. I have no intention of going into any detail of the story I witnessed, so I’ll focus on new gameplay elements that make campaign feel different as I previously mentioned.

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First thing you’ll notice is the Gears of War emblem spray-painted onto walls around Sera, you can get close and activate it! With this it’s time to switch things up; complete an area in a specific amount of time before Hammer of Dawn strikes hit, or work though an area only using Locust weapons – every emblem you activate has a different completion requirement that additionally gives you a nice score multiplier. Next and most important for replay-ability, is the new “SSS” or “smart spawn system” that is in place. I can’t say if it’s a rotation of different mixes or completely random every time as I only replayed and area once, but both times I was greeted by completely different classes of Grubs, along with different weapons and changing spawn points giving every area a new feel for at least a few playthroughs. A mini version of horde mode is also present in the campaign; you will be told to fortify and hold down a specific area for a while until help arrives or people are moved. You have the ability to pick up a few auto turrets lying around and you need to place them where you see fit, but rather than being destroyed through a wave these turrets will simply run out of ammo, giving you the chance to go and refill them or take on the horde without the help.

As impressive as the new additions to campaign are, as always with Gears, multiplayer is where it’s at. I believe the mode we were playing was called “Overrun”, this is what beast mode SHOULD have been back when Gears of War 3 was released. As usual, two teams, one COG one Locust. The COG team are tasked with defending a power generator, set up fences like in horde and hunker down. You’re using classes this time so no running to grab a weapon before everyone else. Each class has different weapons and class specific gadgets, from healing grenades and ammo boxes to repair tools, bear in mind though, repair tools cannot rebuild a broken fence or turret, it can only repair broken ones. COGs spawn with low ammo so a team-mate with an ammo box is a must. You will have about 5 or 6 minutes depending on the map to defend the generator, if you fail the round ends, or on some maps moves on to the next generator in a different area in a way that reminds me heavily of Battlefield’s “Rush” mode. On the Locust side of things it is basically beast mode with slightly less grubs to pick. No Berserkers which may upset some at first, but when the round is over and you’re running as a COG, you’ll be pleased. That isn’t to say the Locust don’t have some heavy hitters, I didn’t test them all out but I had a LOT of fun playing as a Corpser, which can even add a slight stealth element if you do it right, the burrow ability gives you the chance to get behind enemy lines, under fences and pop up to hit some weak points for massive damage. Maulers have a new “shield spin” ability though I can’t say I saw a specific use for it. As expected you have the Kantus as medic, Tickers for living bombs and Wretches to stun enemies and stop them from being able to fire for a couple of seconds giving your team mates an advantage.

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There are a few other classes, the ones you would expect like a Serepede and standard Drone, but I didn’t use them so I can’t talk much about them. All the firepower you get as a Locust may leave you wondering how the hell they manage to balance that out. Ammo guys being able to drop supply boxes at will and them having a Boomshot with potentially unlimited ammo really evens the odds, a medic near the said supply box to keep the healing grenades going and you have a force that even the most deadly Grub would be scared to face. The teams were mixed up every game (which usually consisted of two rounds, sometimes three) and my team never lost a single game taking the generator out within a minute and a half in one round as the Locust, while holding the horde off for the full time every round as COG, proving the combined strength of so many big, ugly locust can still be pushed back by a good team working together.

After a while the consoles were switched off and we were given our phones back to take some pictures now no screens were on (did I mention they took our phones away from us so we couldn’t sneakily record any footage? Well they did, I felt naked). Some photos of the setup and our surroundings were taken and were sent back outside to the cold streets of London, ever more hyped for next month when the world will finally be able to do what I’m sure many have wanted to do since beast mode was announced, play as some of the more dangerous Locust, and own some real people.

Get excited people. This is NOT to be seen as Gears of War 3.5 with a new campaign. Gears of War Judgment will make many Gears fans very happy.

GAME and IGN Host First Look Events For Gears of War Judgment

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UK retailers GAME and IGN, have today revealed that they will host a “First Look” event for the Xbox 360 exclusive, Gears of War: Judgment .

First Look gives gamers who have pre-ordered with GAME a chance to receive the VIP treatment – 40 lucky winners will be invited to a store along with two friends to get started on Gears of War: Judgment ahead of its midnight launch with the opportunity to cloud save their progress and enjoy free food and drink.  Winners will beat the queues outside and be the first to pick up a copy of the game at midnight – for free!
The Gears of War: Judgment First Look takes place at 10 stores across the country from 9pm on Thursday, 21st March – ahead of GAME’s midnight opening for the prequel to the franchise that has sold over 19 million copies worldwide.  Locations are listed below.

  • London – Stratford Westfield
  • Manchester – Trafford Centre
  • Glasgow – Glasgow Fort
  • Birmingham – Bullring
  • Liverpool – Lord Street
  • Sheffield – Fargate
  • Bristol – Cribbs Causeway
  • Leeds – White Rose
  • Edinburgh – Ocean Terminal
  • Newcastle – Metro Centre

As well as being entered into the First Look draw, all fans who pre-order Gears of War: Judgment at GAME will receive the classic Hammerburst weapon in-game, providing a competitive advantage in the multiplayer experience.  GAME is also offering exclusive downloadable content for pre-order customers – with the Emergence Day Young Marcus Fenix character skin not available elsewhere.

ThisisXbox events reporter: Chris Gardner will be attending a special Gears event this week – look out for our write up in the coming days and expect our review in the very near future…