Published on March 18th, 2013 | by Tony6
Review: Gears of War: Judgment
Oh Gears of War, how you’ve shaped my gaming life into what type of gamer I have become over these last few years. Many look at Halo as the shooter that made the Xbox, but I look at your older brother (Gears 1) and I see the reason I fell in love with the 360 console. For those that don’t know me. I’m a huge Gears of War fan, not for the story, but a huge fan of what the game is and the fun you can have on it. Now sure, I’ve finished all of the other games, even some on insane (Gears 1 all by myself), but the main attraction with Gears for me has always been the long life the games Multiplayer seemed to give me very early on in my Xbox Live life.
In this money savvy world we live in, when you go out spending your money on a new game to know that you will still be playing it nearly a year or so later, you know it is money well spent. Gears of War 1 did that for me, lasting me three years and going through three copies due to the disc just giving up from over use, as I clawed my way to get the achievement for seriously, which only became a pain due to rage quitters. Sadly this was all before I had game capture to back my words up on this, but those memories shall forever be inside my mind.
Gears 2 and 3 had half decent stories, but the MP for me lost some of the magic the first had, so I kind of gave up on those a lot sooner, which always pained me to do so, as I loved the franchise. There will be a few out there who read that last statement and hate me for it, but for me the Gears MP had that little something extra in the first one, and the others just lacked that for me. But enough about me living in the past let’s talk about what’s new for this Gears of war.
First off in come the guys at ‘People can Fly’ to put some of themselves into the Gears franchise, you all remember ‘Bulletstorm’ right? Personally I loved what they did with that, and I hope we get a Bulletstorm 2 in the very near future. Gone are Cliffy B who would give us those big hype selling video clips, which I have to be honest with you did worry me a little bit, as I saw it as moving on fast, as this game was going to ruin the franchise of Gears, thankfully this does not seem to be the case. Anyway, I waffled enough, on with the review for Gears of War Judgment.
Single player Judgment campaign: This prequel campaign is set before the events of the original, as you take control of a younger looking Augustus Cole aka “Cole Train” (Woooooooooooo!) and Damon (not cool enough for a nickname) Baird, who form part of a squad known as Kilo Squad. Rather than being the COG clan of Marcus and Dom, in this story you’re joined by two new members, Sofia (token lady player) Hendrick, and Garron (Token guy with an accent) Paduk, who being honest will blend well into the whole world of Gears very well. The main part of the story to begin with is you all standing trial for disobeying an order from a evil looking colonel Loomis, as you stand in a courthouse under attack from the evil locust, as you all tell your side of the story.
The game takes place over six chapters, these have around six to eight missions a piece each. The whole game took me between seven to eight hours to finish on normal difficulty, so it’s a decent chunky campaign for the gearheads out there, but of course the opportunity to go back and finish on insane mode returns once you finish the campaign one time, and add in collectables and co-op play the campaign does have replay factor.
If I did have one fault with the campaign though it would be that it becomes repetative when it comes to chapters, kick a door open, face locusts, go down stairs, face locusts, which may bore a few fans of the series, and the campaign does not feel like your typical campaign either, by that I mean at certain stages in some chapters you are thrown into small survival type quests that involve you using sentry guns lying around the map to take cover and last up to three waves over enemies that grow in difficulty. That said, I did enjoy the time I spent with the campaign overall, so one small niggle is worth it in the long run.
Aftermath: On top of the normal campaign for Judgment we also get a smaller campaign to take part in, this is available to play after unlocking (obtain a certain amount of stars in the game), and takes place from a moment in the Gears story where Marcus asked you to find reinforcements in Gears 3, and feels like your classic Gears format. This takes place over six chapters, and will take you about a hour to complete, the only downside to Aftermath that I found was that it left me wanting more of it.
The game also has a few new things not seen in a Gears campaign before, Mission declassification is one such thing. These are big Gears signs that are found at the start of every mission (Think Halo skulls), and they will impact the way the mission plays out. Say you’re doing a part in a enclosed area of the game, the game will ask you if you fancy trying it while the room is filled with smoke for a harder challenge, or in another level I could only use these guns to finish off all the enemies. What this will do is make it a fresh experience the second time you play the game, say on insane for example, but they also make it much easier to get those 3 stars at the end of the mission, as they almost act out as a multiplier for your score. Also to score well you also have to get fancy kills like headshots and executions, and what do you need for those? Guns of course.
Guns: There are plenty of new guns on offer in Gears Judgment with some better than others.
You have such new guns as the Tripwire Crossbow (bows are the in-game thing to have don’t you know!) which lay down a tripwire, so when an enemy walks over it they get blown into tiny little pieces. Then we have the Markza, which is almost like a sniper gun with the lack of a zoom feature, but a really powerful gun that locusts shall drop for you. There are other new guns like the Breechshot, but the ones above are the ones that stood out the most for me.
I think I’ve covered everything the Single player has to offer, so I best move on to what most of you are no doubt here for, which are my thoughts on the multiplayer.
Multiplayer: This has always been the side of Gears that has made me stick with the game long after the campaign was over, so I was praying that ‘People can Fly’ at least got this side of things right, and I actually think they have. New modes and a new gun layout are what lie in-store for fans of the previous games, some of which will take you a moment to adapt your playing style, but once you do you will fall in love.
Overrun is one such mode that makes its debut in the Gears franchise, but dig deep and it feels like you’ve been here before. Overrun is basically an evolution of the previous games survival mode Horde, but this time around actual live players take control of the locust team that try to attack the places you must defend, and defending has never felt so hard let me tell you.
What Overrun does is take survival mode and make it more frantic than ever, as gamers make the task of defending your E-hole or generator 100 times harder. While it seems like a fun mode to play after a few goes it seems you will have to have a decent team to last each wave of attacks from the Xbox Live locust team, but saying this with having early code I’ve had to team up with a team that is half filled with bots, which makes the task so much harder.
If you play on the good guy squad in Overrun though you have a few choices to make, as it becomes a game of strategy almost.
You have Engineer who is the fix it guy, he repairs fences and comes equipped with a sentry gun. You then have the soldier who can dish ammo out to people and is of course the guy with the guns. Then we have the scout who can throw out a beacon to show you where enemies are advancing from, but he can also climb high to reach place. Finally we have the medic who can throw out stim-gas grenades, which heal or revive downed or close to dying players. Shame the games I’ve played so far are full of team members who insist on not sticking together, and love going solo, but this will change once buddies get onboard.
Overall though, I would say Overrun is a decent mode that brings something kind of new into the Gears world, but you do get that feeling of that you’ve been there before, so not that new at all.
All the other modes on offer are the basic ones you would expect in a Gears game, with the normal Free for all, Domination, and Team Deathmatch all on offer, and with Execution coming out in a few days time via a teaming up with the guys at Maxin magazine you have the basic setup of a gears game. If I could give the MP praise though it would be that this is the most fun I’ve had on a Gears of war MP since the very first game, and I’ve loved playing every second of it. It seems to have brought the fun back that the second and third game lost somewhere along the way, so to play a gears game with a smile on my face once again has made me a very happy man indeed.
Niggles in regards to multiplayer at the moment are only the following:
- A lack of maps does seem present that will ship with the game, as the games I’ve played seem to always seem to be on the same map over and over again, so already it’s screaming for DLC.
- The new gun layout will put a few players off, as you only have the ability to carry one main gun and a sidearm now, but you can swap the sidearm from one of the many big guns found on the map.
After a few rounds though these do not become an issue, as I got to grips with it rather quickly. Away from the fun and games of killing people also lie a few extras that I liked a lot as well, one such being the introduction of the gift boxes.
“Score a set amount of points or get a lot of ribbons (you get these by doing set things in the game like blowing up a bunch of people at once, or sniping a few heads off in a row) and you get given a box to open via the games menus. They come in a few flavours, but the Epic and Rare boxes are the ones to head for, as you unlock in-game character skins or a camo for your gun if you’re lucky to get one. If you get a normal box those always have extra XP inside, so are still worth getting”.
But within these menus sits a thing that will annoy people who hate micro-transactions in games, I give you the ‘buy double XP’ option. For only 800MSP you can buy the ability to have double XP for the next 200 matches you play, which in my eyes is a nice deal, but I know some out there will hate on this like a ton of bricks. I’m one of those people who see it as “don’t like it? Don’t use it” kind of person, but its there if you want to rank up in the game a lot easier.
Final thoughts: Gears is back with a bang and I loved every second of it.
Sure a few faults lie deep within the game that stop it from scoring top marks for me, but it has been a blast getting back into the franchise once again. You know when a game is good, when you go away wanting more, and that is how I feel after playing Judgment. Now I leave you to spend another year on the games MP, so see you on the battlefield noobs.
Before I go and become a ‘God’ on a Gears game again though I leave the guys at People can fly a well deserved gift for playing there part in this game, a gift I save for only a few rare people, so enjoy it.
Gears of War:Judgment
Summary: A good return to Gears, but as I said in the review there are some things that will not please all.The lack of maps for Multiplayer being one of them, but hopefully over time this changes. Campaign is your typical Gears campaign with a few neat tweaks, that almost take the Gears out of it though.