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Gears of War: Judgement | reviews, news & interviews

Gears of War: Judgement

Gears of War: Judgement

A damp squib but a fun one, bringing an end to the reign of the Xbox 360

'Gears Of War: Judgement': visually stunningXBOX360

As the sun sets on the age of the Xbox 360, its swansong is an entertaining game that shows promising potential, but doesn’t really knock your socks off. A prequel to the previous Gears of War games, Judgement opens in the days immediately following the "Emergence Day" on the planet Sera, when the original inhabitants of the planet decided to crawl out of the woodwork and wreak havoc on mankind.

As the sun sets on the age of the Xbox 360, its swansong is an entertaining game that shows promising potential, but doesn’t really knock your socks off. A prequel to the previous Gears of War games, Judgement opens in the days immediately following the "Emergence Day" on the planet Sera, when the original inhabitants of the planet decided to crawl out of the woodwork and wreak havoc on mankind.

Being dragged in front of a court marshal and charged with treason against the COG is one Lieutenant Damon Baird (pictured below right) and his Kilo squad. It’s clear they’ve done something seriously dubious, and over the course of the game they tell the story of the events that led to their decision to disobey orders. This story-telling approach is a promising development for a series which has always struggled with the notion of narrative. As each character recounts their memories of events, you are plunged into that memory to play out the battles and decisions of which ever character is testifying.

Gears of war Judgement Kilo squad and Lt. BairdYou are also given the opportunity to play out two different versions of the memory – the official version, or the declassified version where Kilo squad has made claims which are disputed or unproven. Choosing declassification results in the faster accumulation of all important stars, but puts players at some kind of disadvantage, from restricted weapons, time and vision, to the presence of uber-aliens and poisoned gas.

Once you’ve accepted the fact that there is no Horde mode, you’re actually offered two more interesting variants: "Survival" mode (where your co-op roles are selectable from a pool of engineers, medics, scouts and snipers) and "OverRun" mode (where you can choose to play as either Gears, or Locusts). The intelligence behind the Horde is also learning from your tactics and adapting so that spawning is semi-random and battles are fresh and surprising.

Gears of War Judgement Kilo Squad, Locusts, planet SeraThe beautiful graphics of this game are down to PeopleCanFly, who have created a visually stunning and geographically detailed world which, for an fps, is relatively open and free to explore, even if there isn’t really much to find.

It’s a shame that the Gears of War franchise, which wrote the book on first person shooters and pioneered multiplayer modes, has rounded off the Xbox 360’s tenure with a game that feels more like an expansion pack. There’s no denying that progress has been made, you only have to play the unlockable Aftermath expansion – which is horribly like GofW3 – to see the leaps and bounds PeopleCanFly have made. But, though it’s great fun chopping aliens in half with your gun that’s also a chainsaw, this game contains none of the great set-pieces or make-or-break plotlines of its siblings. It is a memory, but it is one that’s easily forgotten.

Watch the trailer for Gears of War: Judgement

It's great fun chopping up aliens with your gun that's also a chainsaw

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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