gamescom 2015: Gears of War: Ultimate Edition Is Prettier (and Grittier) Than Ever

Gears of War is one of those games that defined the Xbox 360 when it came out in 2006. And nearly a decade later, we’re very excited for the upcoming Gears of War 4. But while we have to wait a little while for that one, we’ll still be able to get our Gears fix when Gears of War: Ultimate Edition launches later this month. Don’t be fooled: This isn’t just an HD remake, it’s Gears of War at its very best (even better than your nostalgia remembers it!).

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition features gorgeous 1080p visuals and some killer multiplayer. All 19 maps have been remastered, and three brand-new modes have been added: Gears of War 3‘s popular Team Deathmatch and King of the Hill modes, plus a new 2v2 mode chosen by the Gears community. Features like enemy spotting and Tac-Com from Gears 3 have also been added, making Gears of War: Ultimate Edition‘s multiplayer feel like a mix between the original game and the newer ones.

At gamescom 2015, Microsoft showed off the new story mode, and it’s getting more than just a fresh coat of paint. The cinematics have been reconstructed, and the difference is immediately noticeable in how the characters’ facial expressions shift and change more realistically. There’s also new content in the form of additional chapters. The Timgad Station missions that were cut from the original Xbox 360 version are now included, offering at least 90 additional minutes of campaign gameplay. Unlockable digital comics are rewarded as you find the COGs hidden in each level, and an additional Casual difficulty mode will make the game more accessible for new players.

We got to jump into the Downpour chapter, at the beginning of Act Three. With their vehicle broken down in the rain, Marcus Fenix and his buddy Dom have to gain entrance to an old processing facility in the dead of night. They encounter the Lambent Wretches – glowing, quick moving creatures that climb all over the facility. Between the rain and the lighting effects, the prettier-and-shinier Gears of War was on full display at gamescom. The bio-luminescent guts that splattered the walls and ground looked great, and Marcus and Dom felt dirtier and grungier than ever.

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition comes out August 25 for only $39.99, exclusively on Xbox One – so you barely have to wait at all to get back into the action and kill some Locusts. Picking up Ultimate Edition also grants you early access into the Gears of War 4 Beta. And, as an added bonus, everyone who purchases Ultimate Edition in the launch window (before the end of 2015) gets all four Gears titles for Xbox 360, absolutely free. That’s one heck of a way to kick off Xbox One Backward Compatibility!

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