Gears of War Judgment Review
By Damon Le Sueur
Rev up that chainsaw and start gnashing some grubs! That’s right People Can Fly's new game Gears of War: Judgment which is a prequel to the original Gears of War series. Gears of War: Judgment still stays true to its roots by maintaining its third-person shooter perspective and of course remains an exclusive to the Xbox 360.
It seems that Damon Baird and his team, Augustus Cole, Sofia Hendrik and Garron Paduk (also known as 'Kilo Squad') have been causing some mischief and were arrested by the COG Military. They are now being trialed by Colonel Ezra Loomis and are each asked to explain or recount the incident from each of their perspectives.
Gears of War: Judgment has had many changes put into play with new modes and new campaign ranking systems. One of the first big changes to the Campaign that has really affected me is the new layout of Grenade throwing which is now Left Bumper and not to mention the all new weapon swapping, that’s right say goodbye to D-Pad weapon changing and hello to pressing 'Y'. This change takes a lot to get used to and veteran Gears players will instantly agree that the weapon change feels cumbersome and out of place. Heck the amount of times I wound up dying because I was cornered and kept trying to select a weapon via the d-pad. They should of really put in the settings a classic control setup mode or something to cater to the veteran Gears players or for the other people who still aren't used to this change.
Gears of War Judgment also has new Optional Mission base set up in each Section of the campaign where it sets you with a specific requirement on how to survive the section, such as Lancers only, low visibility due to smoke and the biggest kick in the butt is to finish in less than 3 minutes and 30 seconds which pretty makes each level a real challenge to complete. The reason to actually partake in these side missions is that Gears of War Judgment now has ranking where you are required to get 3 stars in each section of the campaign to unlock Skins, Aftermath Campaign and of course some achievements. Its certainly worth your while to accept these challenges, but if you like to explore the environment, perhaps is best to leave these to a second play through.
Classic modes are back such as free for all, team death match and domination. There are also some new modes which have been introduced into Gears of War Judgment such as Overun and Survival. Overun is a new mode which can only be played on new 4 different maps; Island, Skyline, Junkyard and Estate. The aim of the game is one team are the COG whose responsibility is to protect E-Hole covers and Generators while the opposition (i.e. the locust) must try to destroy those very E-Hole Covers and Generators that the COG must protect. Survival mode is pretty much the exact thing as Overrun with a slight tweak in that its more Horde based where there are 10 rounds of locust who are bots you must kill until none remain and your generator still intact.
Gears of War 3 introduced a new online feature which allowed you to either buy or earn weapon skins. Well Gears of War Judgment spiced it up a bit by further by adding more awesome weapon skins and even actual body armor skins which changed your actual Multiplayers characters armor with such skins such as Zombie, Rainbow Skin, Fire skin and lots more. Another way of earning these cool weapon/body skins is a new feature called Prize Boxes which consists with you doing certain things to earn better boxes, for example the three boxes are Normal Prize Box, Rare Prize box and Epic Prize box. To earn each of them you must do different things such as for the Normal Prize Box get a certain amount of kills, Rare Prize Box earn a certain amount of ribbons and the Epic Prize Box is from simply leveling up.
Sound and Graphics
I’m not going to lie here but Gears of War Judgments scenery is just another spectacular scenery from the Gears Universe of the beautiful Planet Sera which you may now witnessed only half destroyed and not made into ruins like other previous Gears of War games. Epics use of the unreal engine certainly shows that the game is pushing the utmost highest limits of the console and it shows. Perfect animation, no screen tearing and never any slowdown no matter how chaotic the action becomes. The sounds are still great with classic locust voices, intense music that fits the mood for whatever situation you are in on Gears of War Judgment.
All up Gears of War Judgment was a good game but felt like it was missing something and so far the campaign for me just feels like a case of repetition as you recount the same story from four different perspectives. I am not saying I did not enjoy this game and sure it has its ups and downs, but it felt like something was missing. With each version of Gears of War there has been a noticeable step change and or improvement. Yet Gears Judgment feels like it is more of a side story rather than a true installment in the franchise and well, just more of the same really. Gears Judgment is a good game and is no slouch; however it’s not the evolutionary step many gamers, especially the fans were expecting it to be.