As I mentioned in the introduction, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition is my first serious contact with the series. I used to play with a friend in co-op mode in some installment, but it was a long time ago, so I don’t even remember which part it was. So it can be said that I sat down to play the game as something completely new to me, the more so as the subsequent stages did not bring back any memories. And what can I say – I am very positively surprised not only by the quality of the game, but also by other elements. During these few days I was reluctant to break away from this production.
Gears of War seen from the outside did not seem to me to be a very attractive game. Maybe it’s because of the style, because we deal here with huge, overly muscular types, which can be associated in various ways. I do not think I like a similar archetype, although in Vanquish similar characters did not bother me. Maybe because the main character is not such a “block”. Anyway, as soon as I started the game and started having fun, I stopped “worrying” about the size of the protagonists. Instead, I appreciated the fact that the creators perfectly conveyed the feeling that we are in control of someone really powerful – if only by adding sound to the steps.
Another thing that caught my eye a bit is the kind of heaviness of the character, which of course makes sense if you pay attention to Marcus’s size. I probably sounded like a disadvantage, but nothing could be further from the truth. There is no question of clumsy movement. The only thing I would complain about is the lack of a faster run – this one actually is, but more as a way to get to the next cover and rather inconvenient while exploring. At first I twisted my nose a bit when I noticed that I had to stick to the cover (for example a wall) first to be able to jump over it. Later, however, I appreciated it, because it turned out that the character would only do it on my explicit order.
I am aware that the Ultimate Edition has updated gameplay. However, I do not know how much and for this reason I am throwing ashes on my head. I know from experience that improvements don’t make much difference if the shaft is not well developed. Anyway, from what I saw in the “number two”, the renewed version of the 2006 hit does not stick out too much. Anyway, I want to say that Gears of War boasts a well-constructed shield system, which makes it difficult to make mistakes – such as sticking to the wrong surface or moving to the wrong surface. And when we are behind the cover and lean out, it is very rare (but with emphasis on this word) that the barricade itself blocks our view – which, unfortunately, was often the case in the Uncharted trilogy.
But it is tearing!
If that wasn’t enough, Gears of War has a great shooting model. Despite the fact that the opponents are relatively tough – which is not surprising, since they are powerful beasts from outer space – you can feel the power of the weapon very well. But I have to complain, because there is also zooming in when aiming with each weapon, which did not always turn out to be effective – especially when the enemy was close. I didn’t feel it very often, because I spent most of the shootings behind cover, but I wish it hadn’t been.
I also liked the reload mechanics that I previously saw in Star Wars: Battlefront II (2017). Implementing this meant that I was basically a little focused all the time, and the clashes took on a slightly more tactical character. This is another advantage that I must distinguish, because fights with different opponents required a different approach. With some mixtures of enemies, it was not possible to sit behind one barricade, so it was necessary to constantly move.
A chainsaw is an interesting idea, although in practice it is different. At first, I did not fully understand how it worked, because I thought that an attack with its use requires two keys – one to activate and the other to accelerate the blades. It turned out to be much simpler, but the normal level where I finished the game rarely prompted me to use this type of attack. Well, unless for the destruction of crates.
Stay out of the dark
Gears of War is not only about shooting, however. Fortunately, there is neither QTE nor poor platform sequences here. The first installment of the series is quite dark, and there are moments that some games of the horror genre could envy. I especially liked the moment when we were making our way through the city under the cover of night. Clusters of angry krill birds flew under the sky, tearing to tear anyone who entered the dimly lit area. So you had to illuminate the paths you traveled, which was associated with simple actions – such as shooting a gas canister, which then burned.
A simple idea, but it successfully diversified the gameplay and was memorable at the same time. Getting down at the controls of the vehicle was also a nice change, but unfortunately for a short time. I also appreciate the balance of clashes and exploration, because there is no room for boredom or a peculiar filling. It’s intense, but not too much. There is time for sightseeing, but not so much that it becomes boring. I did not do anything about this type of philosophy.
It is a pity, however, that there are also accretions from film suits – such as forcing people to walk while Marcus is talking to the command base. It always takes a short time, but the idea itself irritates me enough that I get nervous whenever I encounter a similar procedure. This is unnecessary, if only because during this time I cannot pick up the ammunition lying nearby, so the only thing left to do is wait. I have so much divisibility that I would have heard what the characters say in the dialogue anyway. And most of all: I prefer to decide myself when I will slow down.
This is not a trip, let’s go!
In addition to the atmosphere of Gears of War, I must praise the great design of the location, also in terms of art. First of all, there is a lot of diversity here, because we travel through various types of spots. Starting from the city and ending with abandoned slums or factories. Each location has something to hang your eye on, because the style is just great. I will remember the abandoned houses that reminded me of the estate from my favorite Resident Evil (2002).
The sound and soundtrack work great with all of this, although I would like the weapon to be louder. Music is nothing new, but it harmonizes enough with what is happening on the screen and sometimes gives you a rush of adrenaline, or a twinge of anxiety. Especially when combined with the screams of some monsters. There is also no room for emotional excitement here, because we play the role of a tough guy fighting with alien invaders. The character creations are at a high level and although I sometimes felt a bit of embarrassment from the next jokes, it fits perfectly with the adopted concept.
After all, Gears of War lands on my list of my favorite shooters. A phenomenal title and I am surprised that it seems a bit forgotten in the face of such Uncharted: Fortune Drake, which was just worse as a game. I look forward to the moment when I will sit for the “two” for good, but before that, I will go through “one” in co-op. If, on the other hand, you have not dealt with this game yet, I highly recommend it. Gamepass is an easy way to catch up on this classic.