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Gears of War: Judgment Review - 49 Shades of Gray

Mike Wehner | 18 Mar 2013 04:01
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These complaints aside, the gunplay - and this makes up the overwhelming majority of the game - feels fantastic. Assault rifles, shotguns, and side arms feel appropriately powerful and there's nothing more satisfying than lobbing a grenade into enemy cover only to watch an explosion of body parts litter the landscape shortly thereafter.

Ducking behind cover and taking shots at well-armored enemies as they rumble towards your defenses is predictably anxiety-inducing, and running for your life is something you'll do plenty of. Judgment does a great job of not making you feel overly powerful, and particularly tough sections will leave you feeling overmatched. Besting these battles is as satisfying as it's ever been, and wiping out a locust squad can still leave you smiling from ear to ear.

Enemies move with an impressive amount of intelligence, and just when you think you've held down a particular angle, a locust soldier will flush you out and once again put the screws to your squad. When playing solo, your squad mates are also rather well equipped to deal with the waves of grotesque, armed creatures attempting to end your life. If you fall in battle, your fellow Gears are rarely more than a few seconds away from a timely revive, which helps keep the action moving.

After completing the campaign you'll gain access to a bonus chapter that expands on the story of Gears of War 3. Called Aftermath, the brief add-on follows Baird and Cole as they return to Halvo Bay to complete an objective critical to the success of the crew in Gears 3. It plays nearly identical to the third game - which is to say it plays just like every Gears game thus far, including Judgment. It's a nice bonus feature, but feels like a bit of an afterthought that will likely only be worth a play through if you're a diehard Gears fan.

Judgment's online multiplayer modes are also a bright spot in the grey and brown landscape of war. There are dozens of customization options for both your weapons and characters, and all-out frag sessions are always a great time. Diving around a corner and blowing someone away with one blast from your shotgun will simply make you feel like badass, but you'll be humbled when you find yourself on the other end of the barrel.

The maps are full of cover opportunities and chances to plan strategic attacks, but you can also score a respectable number of kills simply by rushing forward with your finger on the trigger. You can even hop into an in-game helicopter and keep an elevated eye on the battlefield in some circumstances, which will instantly make you feel like an action movie hero. While playing through the different modes on offer - including objective-based fights and straight up deathmatch throw downs - you'll see other players with insane armor camo patterns and flashy guns that'll push you to keep playing, if only to make sure your own character ends up blinged out as well. .

Bottom Line: Gears of War: Judgment is gorgeous in its destruction and the gunplay is simply unmatched, as has been the case with every Gears title since its inception. The fact that the game doesn't offer anything significantly new is definitely a point against it, but it remains undeniably fun to play.

Recommendation: Gears fans know what to expect, and they will not be let down, but if you're a newcomer to the series - or perhaps a lapsed fan who hasn't had the time to catch up since the first or second title - the lack of eye-popping boss battles could give you pause. If firefights are what you crave, there are plenty on offer here.

Game: Gears of War: Judgement
Genre: Shooter
Developer: Epic Games
Publisher: Microsoft
Platform(s): Xbox 360
Available from: Amazon(US), GameStop(US), Amazon(UK), Play.com(UK)

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