Gears of War Ultimate Edition beta impressions

While Gears of War Ultimate Edition might not have been the best kept secret prior to E3, it was nice to still be surprised by the announcement that the beta for the game was going live this week. I?ve spent a few hours with the game so far, and had some real quick impressions to jot down.

Canals-XboxOne-jpgFirst and foremost, visually, this a hell of an upgrade. It still has a bit of work to be done with ground and environment textures, but it?s a marked improvement over the original game. It also seems to run buttery smooth, no technical issues so far, and the framerate has been really steady throughout. Character models stand out the most here, with the various Locust and Cog skins you can use in multiplayer looking really sharp.

So far the beta has focused on two multiplayer modes, King of the Hill and Team Deathmatch. There?s been two maps featured, Canals and Gridlock, both of which will be instantly recognizable despite their visual upgrades. The layouts seem largely unchanged from the original game, and I think most players will find whatever tactics they used to use in GoW 1?s multiplayer will carry over just fine here.

Emb2-XboxOne-jpgFor me, that?s the most surprising aspect of Gears of War Ultimate Edition so far, in that it feels identical to how I remember original Gears MP to be. I?m probably glossing over things a bit, but playing this definitely takes me back to one of the more significant shooter experiences I had on the original 360. While I hope that the overall package is a bit more comprehensive than just visual upgrades, I do appreciate the fact that a bunch of Gears 2 and 3 features haven?t just been shoehorned into this. It does run the risk of putting off those that really enjoyed the sequels and can?t see themselves going back to the original mechanics. But there?s also a sort of purity to this snippet of the overall experience so far, and I find myself enjoying it the more and more I play.