Has the new Lighting Ruined the Atmosphere in Gears of War?

Dark, bleak desolation, with a slim glimmer of hope for humanity to survive another day on Sera. That fateful day in November 2006 we were introduced to the grim gritty world of Gears of War.

Here humanity battles the Locust in the war torn streets of man’s civilizations, to the underground caverns that the Locust call home. Gas lit streets and irradiant caverns offer little safety for either side as Krill lurk in the shadows at night, and smoke choked skies rule the day. That was the Dark Ages of Gears of War, that was Last Generation.

August 25, 2015 Gears of War: Ultimate edition will hit the digital platform and shelves. A completely remastered version of the classic in 1080p 60fps, boasting new chapters and a totally new look for the current generation. Character models have been smoothed out, and the architecture looks incredible, but has Gears of War been thrust too harshly into the daylight?

Gears of War Original

“Jack, rip this door!” The first sight is of the cell with Marcus Fenix concealed in the shadows. A dingy duffel is tossed into the twilight with “Fenix” clearly written on it, this it boys, this is Gears of War! The interior of the penitentiary reveals many new details that were not possible in the last generation.

Battling through to the courtyard gives the first glimpse of the open air lighting of the game. Though a stark contrast to the gloom of the penitentiary, the courtyard was what would be expected as your eyes would adjust from the darkness. The Locust were a bit hard to spot against the concrete in this area as they are a similar color to what they were taking cover against.

Safe in the King Raven, a tour of site to rescue Alpha Squad set the tone for the game. This Act is probably the best example of interior vs exterior areas in the game. The first Wretch encounter was a bit of a let down as the area was too well lit to invoke the horror of these creatures skittering across the ceiling in the shadows toward the heroes for the first time. The Seeder areas were well lit enough to give the line of sight that the Seeders and the Hammer of Dawn both need.

The original Gears of War contains an off screen death that in the new version is replaced by a shadowy massacre that is sure to become a new “Most Memorable Moment” made possible by the new lighting. The Stranded Camp maintains its bleak darkness as Marcus and Dom battle through propane lit streets to reach the Stranded vehicle while avoiding the peril of the death by Krill.

Fast forwarding to the end of the game. Given the train robber tone of the mission, the sepia tone of the lighting is rather striking and sets up the tone for the last standoff. Unfortunately, the sepia lighting was kept for the final standoff, thus eliminating a threat that was present in the original conception. Newcomers will not notice it, but veterans will.

Multiplayer, namely Canals, Gridlock, and War Machine. Arguably some of the best Multiplayer maps conceived. Canals, concrete and water. Being an outdoor map the lighting does not detract from this map. Being largely concrete does not give the locust much of an advantage here.

The brightness of this daytime map gives no place to hide, and movement is easily spotted. Gridlock, if I had a nickel for every time I played this map... Everyone can be critical of Gridlock, but the new look is still gritty, but cleaner, if that makes sense. New details have that have been put into the wrecked vehicles littering the intersection are more visible.

The storm looming over the ocean is beautiful. ything that is awesome about Gridlock is still there. War Machine, finally an interior map! Well, largely interior. Along with the other night time maps, the atmosphere is heavy in the blue spectrum, which makes it more cinematic. Truly, new details added, cleaner background, it looks great with no major distractions.

Gears of War Ultimate Edition

Gears of War Ultimate Edition is a new experience for a new generation. Saturated in blues and oranges, the Ultimate Edition has a new cinematic feel compared to the darker version of its former self. With the power of the current generation console, more detail can be packed into the experience.

Every detail needs to be visible in order to be enjoyed by the player. The struggle has not changed, the cast is back, and the story is still there. All that was needed was the light to see it by. New life has been breathed into the world of Gears of War. After all, we are not dead yet.

Read our Gears of War: Ultimate Edition Review

Article by: Glen Fortkamp

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Glen Fortkamp