Gears of War 4: Ultimate Edition (Digital)Overview -
The 'Gears of War' series debuted in 2006 on the Xbox 360 and was a massive success, spawning two sequels, a prequel, a remaster, and numerous novels and comic books. Microsoft retained the IP after the original developer Epic went their separate way, and then handed the keys over to The Coalition. The Coalition is a Canadian company wholly owned by Microsoft. It began life in 2010 as a Kinect-focused studio, but was shuttered and then resurrected to take over 'Gears'.
'Gears of War 4' is a looker on the Xbox One. (Even without HDR). Textures and environments are highly detailed, water and lighting effects are amazing, and the models are impressive. It carries on the excellent work we'd seen in the 'Gears of War' remake last year, and takes it even further. On the surface of Sera, the windflares and accompanying lightning blasts are thrilling. The art design for the Swarm is equally good, if a bit conventional (shoot the glowing spots). The crystalline, mutated Speaker in particular is superb.
In campaign the framerate is limited to 30fps but rarely deviates from that number. The 60fps is limited to multiplayer, which always remains steady unless lag is a factor. There is a large map selection at launch and they are all available for Horde as well. Some of the old maps, like Gridlock, are timeless classics but look better than ever.
'Game of Thrones' composer Ramin Djawadi is responsible for the music and he takes the established soundtrack into darker, more ominous territory. The end result is very good. Similarly the sound design is equal parts old and new. The guitar riff and weapon noises are nostalgic, while the creepy menu music has been replaced with new and slightly less creepy menu music, and the screeches of the Swarm are less camp than the growly Locust. Voice acting is of an extremely high quality, especially Kait (Laura Bailey) and Oscar (Jimmy Smits).
'Gears 4' gives me the same sense of wonder and excitement playing through the campaign as I first had with Marcus and Dom a decade ago. It is a 'Gears' for a new generation, and The Coalition has risen to the occasion to give a top notch package with heaps of production and replay value both. The Ultimate Edition specifically is not worth its hefty price tag, but 'Gears of War 4' itself should not be missed.
Crank Gets a Best Buy Exclusive 4K UHD SteelBook May 23By:
The High-Def Digest Forums Are No More - They Have Ceased To BeBy:
'The Greatest Showman' Announced for Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-rayBy:
High-Def Digest's Game of the Year 2016By: