Thoughts on Gears of War Ultimate Edition


Most of you who have been reading this blog for any length of time will know my gaming origins, and realize that I’m primarily a PC gamer these days, despite loving the Playstation consoles. I’ve been pretty clear that I don’t really understand the need for a Microsoft console when I have a PC running windows, and that I have no love for the Xbox or its controller. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t play the games on those systems, particularly if they are console exclusive (which really makes no sense when that console basically runs windows, so why have exclusives at all?). For instance, you might recall that I hadn’t ever really played Halo until a recent experience of running through the Master Chief Edition at a friend’s house. I still haven’t beaten all of the games (we ran though Halo 1 & 2 but got side tracked after that) but from what I can tell it’s a so-so shooter that wasn’t all that amazing after the fact. That’s not to say I wouldn’t have been more impressed if I was to have played the games back when they released, but seeing the archaic control schemes for those games left me wanting for a more modern experience. Enter Gears of War.

I had played some Gears of War in the past, but again, only on friend’s consoles. When I did play it back in the day, it was probably GoW 2, and it was strictly multiplayer deathmatch stuff that we played, and overall I enjoyed the feel of the combat system, and enjoyed the game. I didn’t get that chance to play the campaign though, so when my friend Chris told me that he had picked up the Gears of War Ultimate Edition recently, I knew that I needed to check it out. Just like Halo, Gears allows campaign co-op, and that’s probably one of the better selling points for both of these series, which is something games I’ve enjoyed in the past (like Call of Duty or Uncharted) haven’t included (though Black Ops III is supposed to have a 4 player co-op campaign, which is awesome).

Gears of War is a 3rd person shooter, with a cover system that works nearly identically to Uncharted’s. Being a huge fan of that series and loving the mechanics, it was a natural fit for me to enjoy Gears of War on a mechanical and fun level. It does have the feel of a Saturday morning cartoon, where a group of heroes is trying to accomplish a goal, and a whole load of crazy shit goes down. Of course, it’s meant for a mature audience so though it has that over-the-top cinematic feel of cartoons, it still has mature language, concepts, and gore. This is all great in my book, so when it comes to the main appeal of the game and the gameplay mechanics, I’m all over it.

Where Gears of War starts to lose its appeal is in its character development, and overarching dude-bro attitude. For starters, there isn’t really an introduction into what’s going on, or if there was, I didn’t really care. In fact, I didn’t care about any of the characters. Of the four main dudes, there’s Marcus Dude, Dom Dude, and a couple side bro dudes. They all look exactly the same save for their faces. Two of em are white, one is brown I guess, and there’s the token black guy dude. Of course he speaks like he’s retarded and straight out of a rap video, and there’s actually laughably bad song while the credits roll where they’ve taken his sound bites and arranged them into a rap song. It’s stereotype after stereotype, and it’s just bad.

Meatheads might relate to these guys. Military men might as well. For everyone else? Well fuck you, here’s some explosions and aliens to kill.

Thankfully I’m not the type of person who focuses on these things when it comes to these types of games. I typically focus on the gameplay and the graphics, and those are top notch, though we did find some bugs that were rather frustrating. Again, I never played the original when it originally released, but my friend tells me that they didn’t fix anything that was wrong with the original game, so that’s probably why we still found bugs. He also said that the storyline doesn’t really get fleshed out until the sequel, so perhaps some day I’ll play that and be the judge. From what I’ve seen here, I could take or leave any future entries, but I’d still probably enjoy the hell out of the PvP.

That’s where games like this can get away with a lack of story, character development, or empathy for that matter. If you give me solid mechanics and other people to kill, I’ll still play the game anyway. In the end though, I prefer a game like Uncharted that has the great gun play and multiplayer PvP, but still has characters I care about and a storyline that is more relateable. Then again, I don’t think anyone can relate to blowing up aliens in space, so perhaps I’m expecting too much. Though I can say I actually felt things for the characters in Mass Effect, so that can’t be entirely true.

Have you played any of the Gears of War games? Do you relate to my observations, or would you disagree?

Apparently, Lil Hunter is the bane of my existence. Since I’ve been doing these daily runs and recording them, I’ve made it past him just the one time. Anyway, this was another random selection and this time I got fish, who did me proud for most of the run. Felt like a bullet-hell this time around though.

3 thoughts on “Thoughts on Gears of War Ultimate Edition

  1. Oh boy. I remember watching my meathead friends jam the first game for hours on end back when it was all the rage. So, fully agreed on that point. Who cares about story or any of that shizzle when you’ve got orgasmic visuals and gleefully gratuitous action, right?

    But then, I remember once arguing with a console gamer colleague of mine about games like this. He maintained that the highly visual nature of games like Uncharted enabled better storytelling. That way lieth madness.


    • I think Uncharted does a fantastic job of storytelling, mixed with action. Gears avoided telling a story, outside of “bad ass dudes blow shit up and kill aliens.” But I think I’ve seen better stories out of 8 or 16-bit titles.


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