Gears of War Judgment – an unexpected swansong

Gears of War Judgment

Since the first release, Gears of War has been a stalwart of the Xbox 360’s library. The third game reached the highest of high points by delivering one of the most outstanding and comprehensive single and multiplayer experiences on the platform.

With some of those games notable key talent, Cliff Bleszinski and Rod Ferguson, moving on from Epic and the reins being handed over to Bulletstorm developer People Can Fly you might be thinking this game is a cheap cash in on the name and franchise. But further investigation reveals a game willing to forge its own path whilst opening the game up to people beyond the existing fan base.

The campaign plays out in flashback with chapters of the campaign acting as testimonies from each of the game’s four main characters. It’s certainly a great way to give players a chance to see the story from the perspective of each character but is lost a little in that none have any characteristics that change up the game play. That seems to be reserved for multiplayer unfortunately.

A scoring system is employed during the campaign that offers incentives for good play on higher difficulties. In addition, “declassified” options that crop up during the game increase the difficulty further for even better scores. It’s a good way to encourage players to not only get through the campaign but also do it well.

For a series that has a strong emphasis on multiplayer, this game’s own component is half exciting but also half disappointing. All of the traditional Gears of War modes are gone, as is Horde. In it’s place is deathmatch and class based game types that in come across as a versus version of #3’s Beast mode. The new game types are fine additions but leaving the rest out seems a waste as I can see many still returning to Gears of War 3 for the full experience.

And that’s how it is with Gears of War Judgment – there is a lot to like about the game but it is unfortunately offset but what has been left out. So what could have been a shining light for the franchise’s end on the Xbox 360 ends up feeling stuck in the shadow of its predecessor.

Score: 7/10

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