Xbox 360 Review: Gears of War: Judgment


Gears of War is one of those great over-the-top franchises with lots of macho guys with chainsaw assault rifles. I’ve played all the games and followed the franchise from the beginning, but after the trilogy wrapped up I wondered where it would go and as some expected, it’s gone down the path of the prequels with Judgment and stars Baird as the main character instead of Marcus Fenix. It’s an odd choice, but maybe we’ll get a prequel about Marcus one day as well…
People Can Fly took over the reins of the game and have done wonders with it, but have mixed things up by breaking up the game’s battles into smaller chunks, with checkpoints and additional objectives and a star system that fills up as you kill Locust. You can earn stars during each of the battles, while earning them will unlock achievements it also opens up a lost chapter from Gears of War 3 called Aftermath.

The game still feels like your typical Gears of War experience, but the addition of the stars system and Declassified objectives mix things up, making it all the harder. These secondary objectives can be anything from going through a stage with only a pistol or by making harder enemies spawn during battles, earning all stars is no small feat either…especially if you attempt to do so on the harder difficulties.

There are some truly memorable moments in the campaign which I won’t spoil, the thing that confuses me is how the newer weapons and enemies from Gears 3 make an appearance during the prequel, but I suppose the game can’t go backwards in terms of gameplay…so it makes sense, it’s just continuity issues which don’t really add up to much. The campaign is brilliant and will more than please fans of the series.
Multiplayer returns in glorious fashion as you would expect. Now I’ve never been very good at it but enjoy it immensely. OverRun is a competitive and class-based mode with 5 player squads alternating between COG and Locust while Free-For-All strips you of the COG v Locust boundary so you can take on each other COG v COG or Locust v Locust if you so desire. The levelling system still exists but the achievements will keep you playing a LOT since you have to go Prestige a number of times.

Visually, Judgment is one great looking game. People Can Fly have done well with the Unreal engine and it looks and feels just like any other Gears title. Voice-acting is typical of the series with a mixture of humour, OTT moments and emotion while the soundtrack is also superb.

The Verdict

It may not change things too much, but Gears of War: Judgment is a great prequel to the events of the first Gears of War. Baird shines as the star of the game and the multiplayer has been refined, what more could any self-respecting Gears fan ask for?