Gears of War: Judgment Review - 49 Shades of Gray

Gears of War: Judgment Review - 49 Shades of Gray

Plenty of hot lead, but too little payoff.

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Are those suicide Ticks still OP in horde mode?

I'm a PC gamer who doesn't use controllers and I was able to unlock the 2nd highest Locust class with one run as the Tick.

Plus the charge n suicide can really ruin the COG teams day, I took out 2 humans and damaged the main objective once.

I finally understand all those people who say that they just dont "get" why Halo is so popular. It's the same feeling I get from Gears.

To quote this review:

MikeWehner:
If I had played Gears of War: Judgment in 2007, I'd probably be spending the majority of this review swooning over the gritty, ultra-detailed graphics, Hollywood-quality voice acting, and fantastic cover-based shooting mechanics.

Exactly. The Gears games have always been high up there when it comes to quality; I'd even go so far as to say they're an example of near perfection when it comes to how gameplay in shooters should "feel". But they've always lacked something, something I can't quite quantify.

Is it soul? Personality? Colour?

Who knows. Either way, this is a series that just hasn't clicked with me and probably never will. A shame.

Proverbial Jon:
Is it soul? Personality? Colour?
Who knows. Either way, this is a series that just hasn't clicked with me and probably never will. A shame.

I'm going for 'soul' and 'color' myself.

The series is fun, from a game play stand point, but it's also rather boring.

The series is pretty much a rental-series for me.

Proverbial Jon:
I finally understand all those people who say that they just dont "get" why Halo is so popular. It's the same feeling I get from Gears.

To quote this review:

MikeWehner:
If I had played Gears of War: Judgment in 2007, I'd probably be spending the majority of this review swooning over the gritty, ultra-detailed graphics, Hollywood-quality voice acting, and fantastic cover-based shooting mechanics.

Exactly. The Gears games have always been high up there when it comes to quality; I'd even go so far as to say they're an example of near perfection when it comes to how gameplay in shooters should "feel". But they've always lacked something, something I can't quite quantify.

Is it soul? Personality? Colour?

Who knows. Either way, this is a series that just hasn't clicked with me and probably never will. A shame.

Gears, in general, tends to shy away from set pieces, cinematics, and over-the-top moments, which may be why the game doesn't have the same level of adoration that other titles have. Halo has steadily ramped up in this regard with each new title, but Gears remains almost entirely a pure shooting gallery. Yes, I was disappointed in Judgement for its lack of boss encounters (because to have almost none, even for a Gears game, is a bit disappointing, IMO) but the game really does its best to just stick you in cover and make you fight your way out.

As you said, the gameplay and production quality have always been near perfection, but I completely understand where you're coming from when you say you just don't "feel" anything from Gears. Somehow, the silent protagonist of Halo is more relatable than the lumbering brutes of Gears. The characters of Gears have always been more unbelievable in their own way than the futuristic soldiers of Halo. When you see the marines in Halo, you think "Hey, if it were the year XXXX, maybe that could be me?" but with Gears' comically muscled and gritty soldiers, you simply can't stretch your suspension of reality that far (or at least I never could).

Proverbial Jon:

Exactly. The Gears games have always been high up there when it comes to quality; I'd even go so far as to say they're an example of near perfection when it comes to how gameplay in shooters should "feel". But they've always lacked something, something I can't quite quantify.

Is it soul? Personality? Colour?

Who knows. Either way, this is a series that just hasn't clicked with me and probably never will. A shame.

Immersion. It's impossible to relate to any of the angry hatemongers that make up the cast. And the fact that the developers really suck at exposition and suffer from total lack of any new ideas also isn't helping. So the GoW after this will have even more armor-suited space marines, slightly better graphics, lots of garish explosions and gun-toting pew pew, that really don't cover up the fact that there's nothing new underneath. To the critical gamer, that is. Oh well, at least GoW won't feel lonely now, the Crysis series have also set foot on Planet Unimaginative with their 3rd installment.

Never change a winning team, I guess. As long as the hive-minded casual gamers outnumber the quality demanding seasoned gamers, we will always draw the shortest straw.

On a different note, I don't really get the 'Declassified' mode. Sure, some extra challenge could help prevent falling asleep mid gun-battle, but how does it fit in the context? I imagine big chief of operations going "Well, we didn't think total annihilation of the human race and destruction of earth are that much of a biggie, so we downgraded your armor, made your guns less effective and will blow your Battle Royale collar when the arbitrary time limit runs out!" Yeah, makes perfect sense.

Wow, I might have turned this into a Gears hate thread...

MikeWehner:
Gears, in general, tends to shy away from set pieces, cinematics, and over-the-top moments, which may be why the game doesn't have the same level of adoration that other titles have. Halo has steadily ramped up in this regard with each new title, but Gears remains almost entirely a pure shooting gallery. Yes, I was disappointed in Judgement for its lack of boss encounters (because to have almost none, even for a Gears game, is a bit disappointing, IMO) but the game really does its best to just stick you in cover and make you fight your way out.

As you said, the gameplay and production quality have always been near perfection, but I completely understand where you're coming from when you say you just don't "feel" anything from Gears. Somehow, the silent protagonist of Halo is more relatable than the lumbering brutes of Gears. The characters of Gears have always been more unbelievable in their own way than the futuristic soldiers of Halo. When you see the marines in Halo, you think "Hey, if it were the year XXXX, maybe that could be me?" but with Gears' comically muscled and gritty soldiers, you simply can't stretch your suspension of reality that far (or at least I never could).

This is a good point. I remember getting quite fatigued from all the shooting in pretty much every Gears game and I could easily put the controller down and not return. I've never really thought about Gears as being a game to "shy away from set pieces" as you said because it does seem pretty over-the-top to me. But thinking about it, there is really is very little of value to actually break up the shooting sections. Even the story is sparse and doesn't extend beyond "shoot those Locust... because reasons." The manner in which Gears 3 ended with its "big revelation" didn't help my faith in the COG either.

People say that the Master Chief is an unfeeling, emotionless automaton (which is kinda the point by Halo 4) but there's some real heartfelt moments when you look for then, especially Halo 3. The Dom's wife thing in Gears 2 was a nice try but didn't add any depth to him or the others, nor did his actions in Gears 3. They're all just beefed up caricatures and stereotypes and no amount of slow-motion footage overlaid with Mad world will convince me to care for them.

NearLifeExperience:
Immersion. It's impossible to relate to any of the angry hatemongers that make up the cast. And the fact that the developers really suck at exposition and suffer from total lack of any new ideas also isn't helping. So the GoW after this will have even more armor-suited space marines, slightly better graphics, lots of garish explosions and gun-toting pew pew, that really don't cover up the fact that there's nothing new underneath. To the critical gamer, that is. Oh well, at least GoW won't feel lonely now, the Crysis series have also set foot on Planet Unimaginative with their 3rd installment.

Some time before Gears 3 was released I revisited Gears 2 because I had completely forgotten what actually happened it the game. I remembered a lab with an annoying AI and dangerous creatures but couldn't remember how it related to the rest of the story.

When I played the game again I realised that it wasn't me... they literally didn't explain that section at all. In fact the entire story was just a complete mess and I would struggle to explain it now, even in the most basic terms.

You're completely right, the whole Gears trilogy could have been a single game, there is nothing to set any of them apart. To be honest I have no idea why I stuck with it for so long!

Too many games these days think that graphics maketh the game, but it's not so. Most of my favourite games are stylised or are on consoles with limited capabilities. Crysis 2 was pretty bland, although I can't comment on Crysis 3 because I have not played it, nor do I wish to. Killzone should also be mentioned as another of these game types; Killzone 2 was one of the most boring experiences I've had with a video game.

NearLifeExperience:

On a different note, I don't really get the 'Declassified' mode. Sure, some extra challenge could help prevent falling asleep mid gun-battle, but how does it fit in the context? I imagine big chief of operations going "Well, we didn't think total annihilation of the human race and destruction of earth are that much of a biggie, so we downgraded your armor, made your guns less effective and will blow your Battle Royale collar when the arbitrary time limit runs out!" Yeah, makes perfect sense.

The point behind the declassified versions of each section is to add some additional detail to how the battle played out, though the extra details sometimes cast a bad light on either Kilo squad, other soldiers, or the locust themselves. For example, there's a section where playing through the regular version is a simple gun battle in a corridor, but the declassified version adds the detail that the locust deployed hazardous gas as well, so instead of just a corridor battle, you're fighting with limited visibility and a blurry screen. It's more just to give you a reason to play through it twice, I think, as the details don't really add or detract that much from the story itself.

Personally i have liked all the Gears games, my personal favourite character being Dom, as yeh he is bulky and looks gritty, but he has more emotion to show than the other characters, Baired and Cole have there moments to, adding a bit of humour is always fun.

I will probably pick this up, but i'm in no rush to get it. When you say little variation in the enemies, do you mean there isn't any Butchers or Grinders? Or enemies from the second/3rd game? This is a prequel, set many years before the first, maybe they hadn't evolved then? So there was just the locusts, Boomers and Wretches? Like in the first game.

You know, your review scores always bog me... It seems to me that they're not in tune with the actual review. I don't exactly remember what the 4 stars meant, but they sure as hell didn't mean "Same as previous entries and overal not too great.

I know (based on escapist expo) that you guys don't like review scores, however, if you're going to have them, you should scale correctly.

The real problem here is that you usually only help the developer say "we got an 8" without caring for the actual review, when mediocre cash-grabs such as this should be punished in this industry.

Lost interest after Gears 2, the way they continued the story in gears 3 baffled me completely, played it through once and haven't touched it since. so many large chunks of the narative didn't make sense to me, I gave up.

Also, never got why they didn't continue the arc from gears 2 with the secret research lab. seemed like groundwork for a reasonable (if somewhat predictable) origin story for the locust.

NearLifeExperience:
[quote="Proverbial Jon" post="6.403666.16694648"]

On a different note, I don't really get the 'Declassified' mode. Sure, some extra challenge could help prevent falling asleep mid gun-battle, but how does it fit in the context? I imagine big chief of operations going "Well, we didn't think total annihilation of the human race and destruction of earth are that much of a biggie, so we downgraded your armor, made your guns less effective and will blow your Battle Royale collar when the arbitrary time limit runs out!" Yeah, makes perfect sense.

It actually fits in with the story rather well. Kilo squad is on trial and the campaign is basically the court telling them how their mission went and what they did. The Declassified sections are Baird giving his testimony on what actually happened. For example, one declassified mission has a duststorm-style effect in it and changes the gameplay(causes more close-range locust to spawn and go for quick kills.).

NearLifeExperience:
It's impossible to relate to any of the angry hatemongers that make up the cast.

It's funny in a sad sort of way...but the Locust seem far more relatable than the machismo injected Gears.

MikeWehner:
-snippety-

Thank you for clarifying!

Frostbite3789:

NearLifeExperience:
It's impossible to relate to any of the angry hatemongers that make up the cast.

It's funny in a sad sort of way...but the Locust seem far more relatable than the machismo injected Gears.

Maybe if we ask real nice, they'll let us play as the Locust next installment

NearLifeExperience:

Maybe if we ask real nice, they'll let us play as the Locust next installment

They had an opportunity to do something interesting with that one co-op mode where you can play as the Locust in 3. But it was just another horde mode.

Reminds me that I still have to play Gears 3, I put it off and haven't been able to find a cheap copy anywhere, but I might check this out once summer rolls around.

Maybe I'm petty, but I'm still upset about how crappy the Gears 3 season pass was, and that this is what People Can Fly are doing nowadays. I used to love this series, and now I really couldn't tell you why. It's probably the best thing to do with a couple friends and some beers, but I've got 3 different games I can do that with already.

Sounds like all the other Gears of War games to me. I can only recall two bosses in the first one, one in the second (no, that final boss is not a boss in my book) and one in the third. No, wait, two in the third. Forgot about that damn Lambent Berserker. Anyway, it sounds like all other Gears games. Which I am totally fine with.

I just wish the story hadn't fell on its face at the end of Gears of War 3. So much potential, and then nothing. Sigh. Still, Baird is my favorite character by far, so I'm really looking forward to playing this tomorrow.

socialmenace42:
Lost interest after Gears 2, the way they continued the story in gears 3 baffled me completely, played it through once and haven't touched it since. so many large chunks of the narative didn't make sense to me, I gave up.

Also, never got why they didn't continue the arc from gears 2 with the secret research lab. seemed like groundwork for a reasonable (if somewhat predictable) origin story for the locust.

So true. So very, very true. So much potential (as I said in my above post) after Gears 2, and then 3 just throws it all out.

Eh, I'm too big of a Gears fan to NOT pick this up. The only reason I'm not going to IMMEDIATELY is because I need that money for Bioshock Infinite.

DrunkOnEstus:
Maybe I'm petty, but I'm still upset about how crappy the Gears 3 season pass was, and that this is what People Can Fly are doing nowadays. I used to love this series, and now I really couldn't tell you why. It's probably the best thing to do with a couple friends and some beers, but I've got 3 different games I can do that with already.

Off topic, but that's probably the most depressing avatar I've ever seen. Thought you should know!

NearLifeExperience:

Proverbial Jon:

Exactly. The Gears games have always been high up there when it comes to quality; I'd even go so far as to say they're an example of near perfection when it comes to how gameplay in shooters should "feel". But they've always lacked something, something I can't quite quantify.

Is it soul? Personality? Colour?

Who knows. Either way, this is a series that just hasn't clicked with me and probably never will. A shame.

Immersion. It's impossible to relate to any of the angry hatemongers that make up the cast. And the fact that the developers really suck at exposition and suffer from total lack of any new ideas also isn't helping. So the GoW after this will have even more armor-suited space marines, slightly better graphics, lots of garish explosions and gun-toting pew pew, that really don't cover up the fact that there's nothing new underneath. To the critical gamer, that is. Oh well, at least GoW won't feel lonely now, the Crysis series have also set foot on Planet Unimaginative with their 3rd installment.

Never change a winning team, I guess. As long as the hive-minded casual gamers outnumber the quality demanding seasoned gamers, we will always draw the shortest straw.

On a different note, I don't really get the 'Declassified' mode. Sure, some extra challenge could help prevent falling asleep mid gun-battle, but how does it fit in the context? I imagine big chief of operations going "Well, we didn't think total annihilation of the human race and destruction of earth are that much of a biggie, so we downgraded your armor, made your guns less effective and will blow your Battle Royale collar when the arbitrary time limit runs out!" Yeah, makes perfect sense.

Two quick points I want to contend here.

1) Immersion of the character I can see, its hard to feel like your a 280lbs linebacker unless you ARE a 280lbs linebacker, but the "nothing new underneath" is (imo) a fairly weak argument. They are altering weapons and load outs, bringing back weapons from previous games and introducing new weapons. New enemies also make the list, with new tactics in both the single and multiplayer. Speaking of multiplayer, their class system for overrun is new, as well as a FFA death match mode (new to the series) and a larger variance on level design vs previous installments.

While true, not everything is new and heck maybe not even half is new, they are still putting out refinements and changes to the series which has been built around certain aspects.

2) The declassified mode (as far as I can see it) is 1 part time lengthen-er 1 part variation and 2 parts "incremental difficult raise". A neat concept, and helps give people something new to do, but its like turning on skulls in Halo (again imo)

Remember Jimquisition! Innovation is not always a good thing.

TRex22:
Remember Jimquisition! Innovation is not always a good thing.

true. however Gears seems to think that after the innovention of game 1. (because honestly they really do a lot well.) they don't have to try at all. and that's terrible.

I read on a review somewhere else that the game launches with FOUR multiplayer maps. FOUR. That sting from the Gears 3 season pass is saving me money yet again, I can't wait to see how many maps are in the pipeline as $15 packs.

Oh God. So, much, grey, and, brown... It looks like my screen threw up. I just want to point at the game box, stand on a mountain top and shout "YOU CALL THIS PROGRESS?!"

I'm a fan of the series, but I felt Judgment came out too quickly for me to consider it a serious sequel (4 years between 2 and 3, guys). They did manage to pique my interest right before release, so I'll definitely give the game a go...just not yet :/

 

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