Gears of War Ultimate Edition – Review

A technically flawed nostalgia hit.

In 2007, the original Gears of War made its way to PC one year after its exclusive release on Xbox  360. This was at the time when Microsoft was pushing the Games for Windows – Live digital platform on PC, and also saw the Windows Vista-restricted release of Halo 2 (three years after its release on the original Xbox).

Just another bug hunt

That extra year of development time for Gears of War allowed Epic Games to include additional content cut from the Xbox 360 version of the game, most notably an extended fifth act. Fastforward to today, and the PC version of Gears of War Ultimate Edition has released, essentially a prettier  version of that 2007 title.

For those unfamiliar, Gears of War is a sci-fi cover-based shooter that follows the exploits of gym-junky soldiers in their battle against a genocidal subterranean threat known as the Locust Horde. The original game particularly is light on noteworthy story, despite a frequently sombre tone, but what it lacks in narrative prowess, it makes up for in terms of honed third-person action. You’ll need a sizeable chunk of harddrive space to install Ultimate Edition: to the tune of 55GB-ish. Fair warning: this installation is completed through the Windows 10 Store, which means it’s treated as an app and will automatically install to your primary drive. Unlike Steam, Store doesn’t pre-allocate the full download space, so ensure you have the require space prior to installation.

It’s best to switch default save locations, so head into ‘System’, then ‘Storage’ to cycle the option for where ‘New apps will save to’. I had to restart my download halfway through because it didn’t pre-allocate the relevant space.

” Gears of War Ultimate Edition doesn’t even register under the GeForce Experience “

After an initial laborious load time, Ultimate Edition is a speedy performer, even when installed on an HDD.

Better still, it loads fast and looks as beautiful as a brown-rendered world can look on full settings. That said, there’s a lack of control over visual fidelity settings. At the time of writing, it’s impossible to disable VSync, which caps the total fps at your monitor’s refresh rate. Ultimate Edition still plays at a great newfound pace at 60fps (compared to the 30fps of old), but it’s an odd omission that appears to be part of Microsoft’s treatment of Windows 10 games as Universal Windows Apps (UWA).

Because of this treatment, third party programs such as Fraps and Shadow Play cannot be used to record screenshots, capture footage or, hell, even monitor the frame rate. For Nvidia owners, Gears of War Ultimate Edition doesn’t even register under the GeForce Experience games optimisation tab, which means video specifics are restricted to the limited in-game options of anti-aliasing, ambient occlusion, as well as toggles for motion blur, full screen and a locked frame rate.

This means you’re dependent on Windows 10’s in built Xbox game bar to capture video or screenshots, which I learnt the hard way. On top of this, if you start the game and there’s been an update, the game warns you to visit the Store and download the update, even if it’s already been automatically installed.


+ Missing out on the original release grinds your gears.

+ Limited graphical options makes PC gaming easier.

+ Matchmaking is better than dedicated servers.

+ Because ‘brown’ is a synonym for ‘realistic’.

+ Not wanting to choose between a chainsaw or assault rifle.


– Nostalgic Formula –

1. Use cover to flank enemies.
2. Chainsaw-bayonet the last grunt.
3. Jump on conveniently placed turret.

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