E3 2015: ‘Gears of War: Ultimate Edition’ Beta Footage and Brief Impressions

This past week at Microsoft’s E3 press conference, both Gears of War: Ultimate Edition and Gears 4 were officially revealed.

A beta for Ultimate Edition was announced as well. Some Xbox Live members received invitations to the beta by message on their Xbox One, while other have been able to register for codes here.

Below is some footage we captured from the beta, which can be turned up to 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second to get a better idea of how it runs.

I admittedly never bothered with the original Gears of War’s multiplayer mainly because I didn’t have Xbox Live at the time, and by the time I got my first gold membership I moved on to other things. Good luck trying to find a match in the original as well.

However, I have played the campaign numerous time, and Ultimate Edition feels just like its original counterpart’s gameplay. It hasn’t aged badly at all, but it’s noticeably more heavy compared to its successors. They even the kept small touches such as the chainsaw revving immediately unlike later games where there is a slight startup to get it going. I also couldn’t stick grenades to the walls for traps, or wiggle around when I was downed.

Ultimate Edition does adopt a couple of its successor’s elements though. The targeting reticle moves for shot spread like most modern shooters, players can use the spotter and level up with experience points. Gears of War 3’s Team Deathmatch, where players share a pool of lives, is the only mode in the beta. These were welcoming additions without compromising the feel of the original too much.

Like the final product, the beta runs at 1080p resolutions and 60 frames per second. While the upgraded visuals of the soon-to-be nine-year-old game look sleek, it doesn’t really scream current generation visuals. I mainly bring this up because of how fantastic Halo 2 Anniversary looked. It’s a fine example of developers going the extra mile in production value despite being a remake.

Keep in mind the game is a work in progress. I certainly won’t complain either way since the visuals are far from the most important thing in any game, and it still doesn’t look bad by any means, but I’m hoping it will look a little better by the time it releases.

My only major problem in the beta was executions. It only worked about half the time no matter how hard or how many times I pressed the X button. This isn’t the first time this has happened in my general Gears experience, whether it was in multiplayer or working with teammates in Horde. Hopefully this will be the first game to relinquish this consistent problem.

I’m certainly looking forward to playing Gears of War: Ultimate Edition when it releases Aug. 25, 2015, especially the extra 90 minutes of campaign chapters that were only in the PC version.