Release Date: March 19th, 2013
Developer: Epic Games & People Can Fly
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Platform: [Reviewed: Xbox 360]
Rated: M for Mature
It’s time to suit up and prepare for war. However this time around, you’re not stepping in as Marcus Fenix or have the great Dominic Santiago covering you. You’re going to war before those Gears meant anything. Epic Games has taken us back to the birth of the locust in the series as we face judgment.
Judgment main character focus is Lieutenant Damon Baird who has, at least to Colonel Loomis, is the root cause of the catastrophic events taking place and failed to follow orders . Beginning to face judgment in a tribunal hearing, Baird and his crew, known as the Kilo Squad (Pvt. Augustus Cole, Sofia Hendrik and Garron Paduk), are on trial by the Colonel, Ezra Loomis.
As Each Character begins to defend themselves, you will also take over to that player during gameplay. In a way it’s unique, yet offers nothing innovative in the process. When changing from Baird to Cole, the transition only changes the narration between the Kilo Squad.
Something that does stand out is the “Declassified Missions.” Declassified Missions are events that were omitted from the records which you are being judge upon. As COG tags in various areas, you’ll have the choice as to how you would prefer the story to be projected.
Depending on the routes and difficulty chosen, you’ll earn stars, more if you take risks and choose declassified rather than the normal storyline. Once you earn enough stars, you’ll unlock an extension to the Gears of War 3 Story entitled “Aftermath” which closes the bridge on a few characters and shows specifically what Baird and Cole.
One thing you won’t be complaining about is the action. Judgment steps all the way back, but offers you a slew of enemies to exterminate while increasing the arsenal gamers are used to playing with. The hordes that come at once are just plain ridiculous! The cover system is nearly pointless and will call for more strategizing than any Gears title ever required. Prepare for the unexpected as hordes swarm and randomly spawn in.
In the Locust slaying process you’ll also unlock characters for multiplayer and earn prize boxes that may grant you special weapon and character skins.
On the other hand, there’s a few things to point out that just feels, in a sense, off. For starters there are checkpoints that kicks in almost every ten minutes. The campaign is fluid but not continual. Use any previous Gears title as an example; when you play the story the game typically saves and gameplay continues. Not here! Judgment feels the need to score you on every area you clear.
In the multiplayer realm you can choose from Survival, Overrun, Free For All, Team Deathmatch and Domination. Survival pits you against an opposing team trying to destroy Emergence Hole, having you to fall back until there’s nothing left to secure as you choose from engineer, soldier, scout or medic. You’ll immeditaely find both Survival and Overrun are by far the most entertaining modes available in the new installment.
Controls are the same as all previous Gears and executions are still accessible when performing DBNO. In a nutshell, graphically, Judgment is extremely EPIC. Voiceovers are well done. However, it would’ve been nice to have heard a bit more uniqueness as some quotes becomes repetitive as you switch between the squads.
Gears of War Judgment is truly a great prequel to the series. Adding People Can Fly into the development, the group behind Bulletstorm, was a smart move where you can “feel” the difference in gameplay. Honorably, this is a must have.
Overall Rating: 4.25/5