Gears of War: Judgment Review
Systems: XBOX 360
With the drop of ‘Gears of War: Judgment’ this spring, people had high hopes only to be let down or be massively proud of the money they put towards such a game. Here, we break down our thoughts on the story, graphics, gameplay and sound which gives an overall verdict.
Gears of War has been popular since the first installment dropped back in November of 2005, the series by Epic Games had a huge hit on their hands and with the progressive story within the three; we feel fear, anxiety, hope, true love and vengeance all in hopes man-kind can gain a little more stability in their lives, than running from the horde and watching everything they know, crumble below them.
Gears of War: Judgment puts the player in the shoes of none other than Lt. Cl. Baird, once before a well-known authority until he screwed things up for himself and gets demoted to Private Baird. With Sofia, Cole and Paduk at his side, he is out to find the source of damage to only come across masses of locust who are seeking their way to the surface.
When all fails, Baird is cuffed and sent to trial along with the rest of his team for some doings that they apparently had done. In the midst of the trial, we relive how the beginning of the end went down, all before Jacinto fell through the crust, polyps dropped like flies and humans were taken under ground as prisoners like Maria.
Baird fights for what is right not only for himself, but the rest of civilization. Maybe using a light mass missile is a good thing to be using in the moments of despair and chaos. So Baird ascends to Onyx Guard Academy to find and protect the targeting beacon. Jack comes into the picture and is of use when retrieving launch codes while the COG fend off the locust horde.
The ‘Aftermath’ part of the campaign gives a story of during the last days of the locust while Baird and Carmine are in search of a ship to use. With the last bunch of the locust running around, Baird, Cole and the others take one last hoo-rah to end with a bang. Even if buildings are being destroyed and ships are sailed into the water in quite an unusual way.
Baird along with Clayton venture to find a ship that will assist in the assault of Azura in the midst of Gears 3. Halvo Bay is the middle of all the corruption seeing as they are here for both Judgment and Aftermath campaigns. Paduk is not so much a fan of Baird and when the ship is in the hands of the COG, all are gathered including Cole and Carmine and join the likes of the Gorasni to help Marcus fend off the locust queen.
For a game such as the Gears franchise, we are used to campaigning and fending off the locust, and in some cases, the Glowies, which were always fun to watch blow up. Fighting for a world that will never be the same, hiding behind walls, unloading clips into Boomers and Maulers galore, the style of the campaign has been approached differently. Campaign also allows the player to earn lock boxes, which give various things to the player; skins, experience points, weapons and so on. These features can be unlocked and used in character setup at the main menu.
Differently as in “Horde Mode” is a part of the campaign. Setting up sentinels, barriers and protecting yourself as the incoming waves come in are a way to give the story a little variance from the rest. This feature is nice and gives the player a little something to look forward too other than the same monotony in repeating the same thing over and over.
Another new feature is the “Declassify”, which makes a part of the campaign a little harder, such as not allowing a player to use a certain gun, starting with a limited number of bullets or making the incoming locust harder to kill off. With each one you complete, extra points are awarded for stars, which in turn help with online mode.
“Survival” is back with multiple waves of the locust and you can battle alone or with up to four other players. This feature is always fun to play when you are bored of the campaign and gives you a feel of all those well-earned unlockable features. In “Survival”, you can choose between the roles of engineer, medic, scout and soldier; a feature which has been brought back from previous games. People have loved that there is an element to the online survival that has been missing. Power to the players!
Versus allows the player to play competitively against another player and up to nine other players or bots. Talk about a free for all!
The graphics are the best in this installment within the “Gears” franchise. Nothing feels more real than the blood spatter, life-like characters, uses of color and the tones set for each chapter give a little more replayability than the story would. Granted, the graphics are up to date, it is also sharper and more crisp then ‘Gears of War 3’.
The sound in Gears is incredible. Each character has a voice that goes with the tone of the story. It is no monotone voice over, but gives a feel of the hostility that is going on, not to mention fear, a sense of worry, doubt and hope each brings a character to life just a little bit more. The score to the game is pretty intense as well, even though it replays all the time, it has an intense raw emotion to it and is exactly what a game like ‘Gears of War: Judgment’ needs.
Overall, ‘Gears of War: Judgment’ brings us closer to the story, how it happened and how it all ended post Gears 3. It does feel like there are two parts slabbed together hence the ‘Aftermath’ and ‘Judgment’ together in campaign mode, it also feels like that should be two DLC’s all on their own, made longer and more inventively.
When it comes to the Gears franchise, the first three were incredible, the first being my favorite, each one lost a little replayability and Judgment also has that same factor. We use the same guns, same characters, same modes are either with us or taken away. What sense does it make to slab to completely different stories together and call it a game?
Either way, fans either loved this game or hated it. I think a fresh take would ruin a fifth and I personally see no sense in creating another one. Granted, viewing from the eyes of Baird and watching how the locust came to be is pretty intense, too much Baird was involved and not enough action packed, saw fighting, blood spattering action.