Gears of War Judgment takes place long before the events of the original trilogy, and is that event to witness to facets to this war, or do the battle scars run deep already?
For anyone who has played any of the previous Gears of War games, you won’t feel like you have to re-learn anything, as the controls in this game are amazing. They work as they always have and not once did I find myself sticking to cover due to the control issues. In fact, the controls are that good, I did not once have to think about them. I jumped right in and was on my way.
For those new to the series, the game does take its time in introducing new elements and not once does it overwhelm. And at the end of the campaign you will feel like your true veteran of the series. Moving from cover to cover is the way to stay alive in Gears of War, more so the harder the difficulty. Cover is the name of the game in many ways, as you use it to flank the enemy, get behind them to close emergence holes and even help get to your fallen comrades in the midst of combat.
Sadly, there are no times in this game where you get to ride vehicles or enemy mounts, but that does detract from the experience. As you play through the game you are tasked with explaining the events that have lead up to that point, and you will take a turn playing through as one of the 4 members of Kilo Squad. At the start of each area, a giant glowing COG sign, will add additional challenges to the map, which if you complete them, you earn more stars.
Star is the name of the game here, as the better you play the more stars you earn. And depending on the difficulty, it determines what type of stars you earn, Bronze, Silver, Gold or Onyx. At the end of the stage you are shown the results and then, If you choose, you can replay the level and attempt to get more stars.
Being that this game is co-made by Epic Games, the makers of Unreal Engine you can see that they have mastered their tool set. The game is amazingly detailed and nothing in the world looks out of place. Even since Gears 3, they have fixed the loading issues of the graphics where it would take more time to load in textures right.
Of course, most of us have already seen the world of Sera, and the world below, many times before. But never have we seen the world with such beauty as it holds this time through. Granted, the world is mostly destroyed, but it’s these moments when you are walking through the destruction that you can see glimpses of how the world would look before the war. There are mansions to wander through, shopping areas to stroll past and even roof tops to clamber about, giving you even more of a view of the world.
Sadly, there is one aspect of the graphics where it is noticeable, and that is the cut scenes that happen mid-game. Whilst the design of the characters is there, the jump from in game graphics to a rendered scene is quite noticeable.
The sound design has not really changed a whole lot. We are treated to some new score, but the rest of the sound is really the same. The Locust horde still shout out things in their graveling gargle voices. The guns sound just as impactful as they have in past game. And when you clear an area of enemies, you get that same sound to let you know that you can stop breaking the controller into two.
It’s a shame that most of the sound is recycled, and whilst I can understand why, it would have been great to get some new sounds. Thankfully the voice acting is impressive, and its great to hear Baird and Cole bantering back and forth just like we remember them doing. The addition of Paduk and Hendrik make Kilo squad feel alive.
Gears of War Judgment does everything right with a modern game. It provides countless options for play, with single player and multiplayer content. The gameplay is well polished and the entire package shows it.
If you have mates with an Xbox, then grab some copies of Gears and hang on for a great ride.