Remaking a game can be difficult. How much do you change and how much do you leave the same? For The Coalition, it’s mainly about leaving everything as it was, while adjusting some values to make it the smoothest experience possible. Gears of War: Ultimate Edition contains basically the same gameplay we’ve come to love from the nine year old release, but with significantly overhauled visuals, looking his like a modern game released in 2015. Alongside our review, we decided to compare the differences between both games.
It’s amazing how much detail The Coalition has gone into to recreate Gears of War. Every single piece of content has been reworked from the ground up. This includes redoing all of the textures, models, lighting and overall every asset. The game runs at a steady 30 fps in the main campaign (although we did run into a couple of instances where the frame rate hitched up for a split second, as seen in the video when Marcus and Dom slide down the slope) while the multiplayer rocks a smooth frame rate of 60. The original 2006 game had a staggeringly poor frame rate when it came to cutscenes, running well below what we consider acceptable today. How The Coalition addresses this is by rendering all them beforehand. This allows for them to not hold back, adding the most flair possible in the forty-one minutes they have recreated. While everything in-game is more-or-less where it should be, the cutscenes have been redone with new camera angles and adjustments to what goes on in the foreground and in the background. Sometimes it’s little touches of comedy, such as Cole poking at a deceased Berserker or throwing his hands up when Dom uses him and Baird as collateral.
As stated, the visuals in-game have been redone completely, and it’s significantly better from a technical standpoint. Artistically it can be up for debate in a couple of situations. Lighting makes everything better, but there are some textures that have been reworked to look a little plainer. For example, the 10th screenshot comparison below (literally the halfway mark) where Marcus is looking at buildings in the distance, the tileset is completely different if you take a look at the ground. The Xbox One version has simple concrete blocks for the flooring while the Xbox 360 version is stylized pavers. The second comparison below also has far less going on in the environment, although it definitely looks a lot less cluttered. Other than that, though, most of the game’s artistic visuals are much better. For example comparisons 5-7 that take place during Act 3’s Downpour chapter, and you can see much further in the distance, with little details added to enhance the scene.
As one would expect, this is a huge upgrade from the original release, containing not only a much improved frame rate, but slick visuals that are up to date with modern standards. We not only compare the 2006 and 2015 release in video form above, but we’ve also captured twenty screenshots for a more direct comparison below. Because the Ultimate Edition runs at 1080p and the Xbox 360 version at 720p, you may want to scale these images appropriately.
On the left is the Xbox One version and on the right is Xbox 360: