EPIC GAMES’ FINAL TAKE ON GEARS OF WAR GOES OUT WITH A BANG
Gears of War is one of gaming’s most beloved franchises. It helped Microsoft to solidify the Xbox brand amongst the elite consoles. When Epic Games introduced Gears of War at the beginning of the last generation, it produced a revolutionary take on third person shooters.
Gears of War Judgement takes place before the original trilogy. The story is a 180 from what we have seen in past entries, as the story focuses on the original’s two secondary characters – Baird and Cole. Baird was a fan favorite due to his impeccable comedic timing. Baird and Cole lead the Kilo Squad during E-Day, the major event in which the series is based around. Rather than containing just one playable character for the campaign, you get to control all four members of the squad. While each character feels the same, each provides their own perspective on a key battle in the campaign.
The pacing in Judgement is flawless. A longer story is not always better. Cut-scenes are less evident than in the original trilogy, but this actually adds to the pacing. Some shooter campaigns can feel like they lack substance, but Gears’ story has always trimmed the fat and left out unnecessary details. Rarely have I felt as eager to continue on in a shooter as I have during Judgement. The campaign lasts roughly 5-6 hours. It was my favorite of the four games to date. As mentioned previously, the four playable characters contain their own perspectives. Each gets their own chapter, with Baird also getting the fifth and final chapter. The game also includes a segment entitled “Aftermath,” which takes place during Gears of War 3’s story and tells of the fate of Garron and Sofia (the game’s other two playable characters). This was the lengthiest of the chapters but was quite possibly the most exciting. During Aftermath, the map predominately takes place in a skyscraper with a large cruiser atop of it (this may sound peculiar, the game will explain). Aftermath feels like a DLC pack and it ultimately was certainly a welcome addition.
The main reason Gears of War has had such a lengthy, successful run is because of how it plays. The pop-and-cover mechanics have now become par for the course. There are few things more satisfying than pumping 100 rounds of bullets into the enemy. There are many weapons to choose from. These include the basic shooter classes: sub-machine guns, assault riffles, shot guns, and melee weapons such as cleavers. There are also many enemy variations to sift through.
The shooting is as tight and accurate as ever. The pace of gunplay is not quite as quick as Call of Duty, but it is not far behind. Health regenerates and if you should deplete it too far, one of your three squad mates can save you. The game is setup for co-op play among up to four players and fills your squad with AI-controlled mates if you don’t have a friend online.
Microsoft purchased the Gears of War franchise from Epic games in 2014, ensuring that more entries in the series will be coming to Xbox (and only Xbox) for years to come. Black Tusk Studios will be in charge of the series from now on.
Judgement is the ideal swan song in which Epic sends off Gears of War (and the Xbox 360 generation) out with yet another memorable chapter in the saga. It isn’t necessary to play the other three games, especially since this is a prequel. However, it is highly recommended.
+ Shooting mechanics + Impressive visuals + Pure fun
– Weaker online presence than past GoW games
Josiah LeRoy is Geekiverse’s Senior Editor. He will own you in Titanfall.