It is a sound I know all too well. The sound of a chainsaw revving up. Sometimes it is a distant sound that makes you check your corners and do a 360 scan of your surroundings. Other times, it sounds as if it was right behind you and it makes you experience a brief moment of panic and paranoia. This is one of the many reasons I enjoyed Gears of War multiplayer as I spent countless evenings logging hours into the team-based multiplayer shooter. Yet, it has been nearly 10 years since Gears of War first made its appearance on the Xbox. I entered my first multiplayer match in Gears of War: Ultimate Edition hoping to rekindle some of the excitement I had felt years before.
One of the first things I review about any multiplayer experience is the connectivity. If you can’t connect you can’t play. Connecting to Gears of War matches has never been much of a problem for me and this remains true in the Ultimate Edition. Finding a multiplayer match was quick and easy. Each game mode has its own dedicated servers which means I spent less time waiting and more time curb-stomping my enemies into oblivion. I had some issues connecting with friends early on but it seemed to resolve itself. This could have been impacted by incompatible NAT settings. Lastly, while in-game I did not experience any lag and I did not lose connection to a single match.
The Ultimate Edition is more than just a pretty face. Yes, the game runs on 1080p and the character designs look heavily polished for Xbox One. The overall look of the game is further complimented by the frame rate.
The frame rate is locked at 60 frames per second and the impact that had on my multiplayer experience can not be overstated. Gears of War has always felt like a bulky shooter to me. It never felt as “fast” as its contemporaries of the time. However, the smoothness of the gameplay and fluidity of combat can be sensed through every encounter.
The gameplay in multiplayer still revolves around the same philosophy: charging head first into the opposition will get you killed. Gears of War does not subscribe to the “spray and pray” tactics used in other shooters. Your success in the game relies heavily on your ability to weave in and out of cover while jostling for position with your opponent. Teamwork is also very critical. The use of smoke grenades and suppressing fire continues to punish eager players as it did in the old version of the game.
My biggest fear going into the Ultimate Edition’s multiplayer was that the game would have aged over the years and not had been as entertaining as I had remembered. This was not the case. The added polish to the game and the quick frame rate remind me that it was never about the way the game looked. It was about how it played and the way it felt at its most tense moments of multiplayer mayhem. If you passed up Gears of War the first time around or you are a seasoned veteran, there is something in this game for everyone.