Gears Of War Judgment / Version Played: 360
Epic Games / People Can Fly / 360 / March 19th / $79RRP
The game’s story takes place during flashbacks recalled by Baird and his team during a hearing at a COG military tribunal. Each level is a recollection by a different member of the team. Lieutenant and mechanical genius Damon Baird, former Thrashball player Augustus Cole, Onyx Guard cadet Sofia Hendirk and former UIR soldier Garron Paduk. The reason for the hearing is Baird’s unauthorized use of a lightmass missile and subsequent death penalty. Upon hearing Baird’s testimony it flashes back to Kilo Squad during the early time of emergence day the locust have seized control of many human areas and seek to take over Sera.
The graphics in Gears of War Judgment is a pleasant surprise in comparison to the previous Gears of War games. There are more colours than ever throughout the environment and this is extremely welcomed. The textures are more polished and defined than ever and this helps create a new atmosphere. The frame rate is solid throughout through and this is all thanks for the pairing of People Can Fly and Epic games. We don’t think this will be the last collaboration between these two studios.
The gameplay in Gears of War Judgment will feel extremely familiar as soon as you jump in. The same loveable run and gun gameplay is back with not much changed in terms of combat. The biggest addition to the core campaign are the new Declassified missions. These missions are a series of challenges placed throughout the campaign which encourage you to use specific weapons and fight more aggressive enemies that you might’ve otherwise avoided. We really liked this addition as it was really built into the story and campaign in a non-tacked on way. The campaign narrative seamlessly incorporates these challenges in, with the character referring to the change in objective through his or her testimony.
The level design and enemy AI seems to have taken a step forward from Gears 3. I found that I had to be a lot smarter when taking down waves of enemies. In previous games I felt that I could hit the same respawn spots and always know we’re enemies are going to come at me but in Judgment I felt that I was being flanked or snipered from a different position every time.
Gears of War Judgment gives players the opportunity to play the whole campaign with 4 player coop over Xbox Live. It also brings two multiplayer modes in the form of Overrun and Survival. Overrun places 5 COG vs 5 Locusts, in an attempt to defend and destroy three targets on a map. Humans are divided into four classes: the scout, who has access to a semiautomatic sniper, grenades that show location nearby enemies and the ability to access higher ground, the soldier in charge of speed combat can replenish ammunition to his teammates, the engineer repairing the various barriers and briefly placed turrets, and finally, the doctor is always ready to heal the squad through life grenades. The different Locusts are unlocked over a period of time. This will leave you playing this mode for ages. The only downfall is that only 4 maps are available which could get old quickly.
Free-For-All is something that players have been asking for since the first Gears originally came out and they’ve received it. Players are pitted against eachother in 4 different maps(Not the same ones from Overrun) The multiplayer in Gears Judgment feels like the weakest yet but we expect more maps and modes to come overtime to beef up the experience.
Gears of War Judgment doesn’t really reinvent the wheel in any way but it keeps the same solid gameplay whilst adding a few new gameplay tweaks. You’re going to be balancing up how tired of the formula you are vs How worthy the the new additions are when deciding to pick up this instalment. It’s still worth playing through for the campaign, new graphic touches and new multiplayer modes but I can’t see you spending months with the multiplayer like you might’ve with the past titles.