Keeping in line with the tendency that most video game and movie makers seem gravitate toward these days, namely, to deliver a sequel in the wake of a trilogy, Epic Games and Microsoft Studios brings us “Gears of War: Judgment”. Yes, “Judgment” is supposed to take place during the initial Locust invasion of Sera and is told through the eyes of Baird and his crack team during a COG military tribunal. You’ll assume the roles of the 4 main characters throughout the course of completing the single player campaign and traverse an exciting number of terrains as well.
This title, which is also set 15 years prior to the events of the first Gears game, also packs some hidden elements. For example, after you complete the main story, you will unlock a shorter campaign called “Aftermath” (it’s a nice touch). Similarly, as you complete missions you’ll be unlocking multiplayer content, so there is obviously great incentive to tackle the story mode. All in all, this is a bona-fide Gears of War game; everything from the controls to the weapons and enemies are pulled directly from the trilogy (with some new additions of course, like the “Ragers”). However, if there’s one thing that’s slightly different it is the overall pace of the action; simply put, GoW: Judgment is perhaps “a bit more fast-paced” than its predecessors (and that’s a good thing).
If you’ve played Gears of War 3, then you should know what to expect in terms of graphics, this title isn’t really bringing anything new to the table in that department. However, this is less a sign of weakness and more of strong point; after all, GoW 3 was pretty amazing-looking. The levels are very well designed as are the characters and enemies, and everything is delivered courtesy of silky smooth framerate, with little to no glitches.
As previously noted, the gameplay is largely familiar territory, but it has been slightly altered in order to increase the potential for action. Anyone that knows and loves the classic Gears formula will be able to easily settle into this installment as well. In terms of alterations, the multiplayer mode(s) have been significantly updated.
There’s Team Deathmatch, Execution, Overrun, as well as a new “Domination” mode which is basically a new take on “king of the hill”. Horde has been replaced with Survival mode too, which isn’t really all that different, but remains somewhat similar to Overrun.
Is this game as good as or rather, a worthy successor to the trilogy? Most gamers are going to really love GoW: Judgment, it possesses all the classic elements which made the original Gears such a runaway hit, only it’s a much more refined experience that’s packed with additional features. Still, the method by which the campaign is dispersed might annoy some gamers who are eager to break new ground in terms of the Gears saga timeline. At any rate, this is a very solid game that packs awesome single, cooperative and multiplayer modes which will keep you engaged for weeks on end. Fans of the series should definitely pick this one up as well as those who like action-oriented titles or 3rd person action/adventure. Highly recommended!