Gears of War: Judgement – Xbox 360
Platform: Xbox 360
Developers: People Can Fly (Epic Games)
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Release dates: NA March 19, 2013
Genre: 3rd Person Shooter
Nerd Rating: 7/10
Reviewed by Shadow Links
The Gears of War game series ended with Gears of War 3. Or so we thought. People can Fly decided to give the treat of a side story of 2 of our favorite characters in Gears of War: Judgement.
Now the first thing I noticed was that there was a very different feel from the previous games. The original game, while an exciting action game that had CHAINSAW GUNS, had a dark feel with the unknown enemy of the overwhelming Locusts, and was typically set in a dark night setting. Gears of War 2 decided to capitalize on the action and went big with everything from slaying a massive worm by cut its hearts out from the inside to sinking the final refuse of the human race. Gears of Wars 3 ended the series with the expected heroics, charisma, and tying loose ends of what was a long tiring war. Gears of War: Judgement goes with a different feel from the beginning.
The story is actually divided into 2 parts; the first being the majority of the game and is the prequel to the second part which connects to events when Baird and Cole are separated from Marcus and Dom in Gears of War 3. While the second part is in all aspects classic Gears of War game action and story, the first part sets its self apart by being told in retrospect, and each section is told from the perspective of one squad member who narrates that section. As you can expect, Baird and Cole theses can be pretty interesting. The plot is still very linear with one single objective you chase after the whole time, but for once it feels like each part makes progress toward the goal rather than randomly chosen sequences that were suited more for the action than the plot advancement.
The characters stand out as interesting at first until I realized that they simply fit a mold. Baird is the Leader without respect for authority, and all Cole does is back him up. The new characters were pretty much the same. Paduk was a Gorasnaya from the UIR, essentially the Russian enemy equivalent during the pendulum wars before the locust emerged. Scarred from the Lightmass bomb, he doesn’t really blame anyone, but knows how war goes and goes with it rather crudely. Sophia is the green Onyx Guard cadet who get no respect at all. Aftermath leaves a lot of questions left unknown about the characters and leaves a door open to discover the fate of one of the characters.
Gameplay is basically the same as always. Why change something that has become an industry standard with a third-person shooter and waist high wall cover (just a little sarcasm here). Some mix up comes in the form of the addition of 3 Gorasnayan weapons in addition to one each of the COG and Locust. The Markza is a semi-auto marksman rifle with a scope, and the Booshka is a grenade launcher. Of course the locust are up to no good and to Paduk’s disgust, they created the Breechshot, carried by Ragers, by removing the scope on the Markza to load larger calibur bullets and adding a blade underneath.
Graphics and sound are the same as always since its still on the same engine. The modified Unreal Engine 3 developed by Epic games is still doing its job and frame rates did keep up well even when co-op played.
Multiplayer received some boon when the open beta was released and introduced a new mode called overrun. Overrun is a combination of Beast and 5v5 object destruction game type; one team plays as locust and the other as COG. The COG defend 2 E-hole covers and a generator in succession if the Locust team manages to destroy the Eholes covers in each area. The COG choose 1 of 4 classes each with unique weapons and abilities. The Scout uses a spot grenade and Markza, the Soldier stocks ammo and carries a Booshka and lancer, medic has a stim grenade to revive allies and has a lancer and sawed off, and engineer has a turret, repairs barriers and has a Gnasher. The Locust choose out to 8 classes from 2 tiers, second tiers cost points gained from killing and doing damage to barriers and E-hole covers. Typically tickers grenadiers and wretches are what you start with, but by the end you can have Maulers, Serapedes, Ragers, and Corpsers. An amazingly fun and competitive mode that I played too many hours of on the Beta.
While this game was a blast, it comes with the expected pitfalls when a new studio just adds to a game and plays it safe by not advancing too much. Short campaign, no improvement to visuals or sound, and the same multiplayer except for the new mode and weapons. Classified missions were an improvement on the mission structure to add difficulty and unique situations, but had no real rewards.The story telling style was a nice change but the second part really just felt odd and left a enticing cliff hanger with the characters.
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