Gears of War: Judgment Review
developer: Epic Games
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Mar 19, 13
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The Gears of War series has reached its fourth iteration with Gears of War: Judgment, which means once again it’s time to grab your Lancer Assault Rifles and mow down as many nasty Locust grunts, Boomers, Beserkers and whatnot as you can. It should be noted that this is actually the first game in the series that was developed without the presence of the series’ creator, Cliff Bleszinski (who categoricallywithdrew from the project and left the business of making video games to raise domesticated waffles on a ranch in Europe. I think.). The GoW legacy remains, only this time the bulk of the project went to People Can Fly; best known for their frantic FPS action series Painkiller.
The story of Gears of War: Judgmentkicks off with a hearing, taking place at the COG (Coalition of Ordered Governments) military tribunal. The hearing takes us through a series of flashbacks, as the main character, Braid, and his team, explain what went on during one of their recent missions. The team is being threatened with the death penalty and questioned as to their decision to employ the so-called lightmass bomb (which is still better than the FatAss bomb that Oprah deployed long ago -Ed).
Don't mess up my hair!!
Am I doing this right? Who's on our side?
So, as the flashbacks start, players take part in several missions, which, as you’d expect involve dealing with Locust armies and believe me there are a lot of them and they are all thirsty for human blood. It must be said that the storyline isn’t really the main appeal of this game, seeing as you’re not likely to find any complexity whatsoever in it’s less than paper thin structure. Characters just won’t interest you and although it may seem like they have something to say, they really don’t; at least not enough to keep you in suspense. To some extent, this is due to the brief structure of the missions, which are of course focused on gunning down as many foes as possible. While you’re shooting like crazy every which way, all you’ll get from the characters are mid-mission comments and sporadic catch-phrases.
From a single-player perspective, there may not be much to entangle you in the story department. However, Gears of War: Judgment has a rather unique way of motivating players to improve their shooting skills. The missions are actually the memories of each of the squad members and it’s very important how you fight during these memories. Performance during each mission is ranked, which consequently changes the next memory (i.e. next mission) of the squad member via so-called “Declassified” modifiers. So, the next mission brings more challenges and may change the gameplay somewhat, requiring you to utilize specific weapons. It may increase the number of enemies too. In some instances, modifiers bring in tougher opponents. In other situations, they may alter the conditions in which the squad has to fight, severely influencing their movement and accuracy. In a particular situation, we had to fight the Locust using only shotguns, but also had to face strong wind currents or even poisonous fumes that affect the squad’s vision (Never dine at Taco Amigo prior to an important military mission kiddies! – Ed). Choosing modifiers can make things extremely challenging, should you find the regular task too easy. Before you enter each section, you approach a huge, red logo, usually displayed on a nearby wall and see what particular challenges await. You don’t have to take this route, of course. On the other hand, it makes the gameplay far more exhilarating.
Declassified missions are an awesome addition to the standard GoW formula, gameplay is still addictive;
Weak story mode, gameplay's nothing much beyond what we've witnessed in the previous three games.