Gears of War: Ultimate Edition has tons of smart, subtle changes

They're not just calling it Gears of War: Ultimate Edition because it sounds cooler than Gears of War: Remastered. The Coalition studio head Rod Fergusson gave me a quick rundown of all the changes headed to Gears of War: Ultimate Edition at E3, and it's clear that fans of the original will have a lot to look forward to/angrily debate over.

Here are the tweaks you should know about heading into Ultimate Edition:

- The movement and cover system feel more like Gears 3. You can revive squadmates without popping out of cover, dodge in any direction, and even change weapons while roadie running.
- The five PC-exclusive chapters from Act 5 (which were cut from the 360 version late in development) have been integrated back into the story.
- It runs at 60 frames per second, in 1080p. And it's still built on Unreal Engine 3, albeit with a bunch of new tricks and graphical flourishes.
- Everything's been redone about the cutscenes, including a new orchestral score, except the dialogue. No more deadpan Dom off to the side with his thousand-yard stare.
- The new Casual difficulty is actually suitable for casual play, with the old Casual setting renamed Normal.
- Competitive multiplayer will have six modes. The three new modes are Team Deathmatch, King of the Hill, and a formal mode for the fan-created 2v2 Gnasher ruleset.
- All the original and DLC maps are included.
- A few team-coordination features will come over from Gears of War 3, like Tac-Com and enemy spotting.
- Online multiplayer will have dedicated servers. You can also bring in a local split-screen buddy for matchmaking or even do LAN play.
- It's releasing on August 25 for $39.99 on PC and Xbox One.

The Gears of War: Ultimate Edition beta is ending soon, but at least you won't have to wait too much longer for the full thing. And it may just give you a few cues for Gears of War 4, since Fergusson says the next game will return to the darker, more mysterious tone of the original.