altered_confusion's Gears of War: Judgment (Xbox 360) review

Gears of War: Judgement Review

Gears of War: Judgement allows the gamer to take a peek at what happened before the Marcus Fenix story arc. In this game you'll get to play as four different characters, two you're very familiar with Cole and Baird. The other two are Sofia, and a grizzly used to be enemy Paduk. All four of you have been brought up on charges against the Cogs, and it is the retelling of your tale that sees you under the court of Loomis. There's definitely a Gears of War feel to it, but they break it down into bite sized pieces to allow you to get reeled into the game.

Graphically this game continues to have that dark with a mix of dulled colors look. The characters still look extra steriod big, with the exception of Sofia, who actually looks kind of slender for all the armor that she's wearing. There's of course a wide assortment of Locust to shoot, stab, and blow up that look top notch. Then there's the levels which you'll find range from courtyards and streets, to sewers and buildings, all of which are exciting and have plenty of architecture to help hide behind. The cinematics of course look amazing, and really give you that grit and frustration that the characters you play as feel.

The voices are the same from the series, so the need to connect with a different voice for characters who you've alread met isn't needed. The dialog is mostly hit than miss, there are a couple of times where you do wish that they would be quiet for a second during tough parts in the level, but overall having the fully voiced dialogue is always a good thing to have in a game.

The controls take a bit to get reacquainted to, but I have to say once I got them down it felt natural once again. You're going to be spending a ton of time playing around with the cover mechanic, so the one part of the game that is tough to get, yet essential to master will be mastered quickly if you're going to advance through the game.

So as I stated before this is a bit different that the previous Gears of War games simply because you're going to be playing as four different characters, there's a little bit of a Halo 3: ODST feeling to it in that respect, but at the end of the day it is a different game. When you take on the different parts of the story that is being told you have the ability to unlock declassified information in missions that allow you to be graded easier through the level. Oh yeah did I forget to tell you you're going to be graded on a 3 star scale, and I'm just going to tell you you're going to want to rack up those stars. You see there's a really good reason to be collecting 40 stars ASAP, and that is the fact that once you've reach that you actually unlock a separate storyline from the Gears of War 3 game. Did you ever want to know what Cole and Baird did when Marcus went to the island? Well here's your chance to see how they contributed to trying to end the war in the section of the game called Aftermath.

The great thing about Aftermath is that it plays like Gears of War 3, and not like Judgement. You're going to be playing through this extra chapter as if it was actually on the GW3 disc. There's no declassified pieces to it, and you're not going to be graded for little sections of the game, you're just going to have to muscle through the whole thing as you would in any previous Gears of War.

Now of course because in Judgement you're focusing on several different sections it allows you to really get into each little section and truly find out what you're made of when you take on the declassified mission. This will almost always make the level much more difficult causing you to start without ammo, or have limited visibility for the entire section, or only be allowed certain weapons, no matter what though you'll find that you'll be gaining stars at a much faster rate. There's also to online modes to mess around with, but it just doesn't feel like it has nearly the depth of the Gears of War 3 multiplayer.

So in all if you're looking to stretch your wings in more online play for the Gears of War series you're going to be pretty depressed, but if you're looking to find out more about the history of this universe, then you're going to enjoy this game. There's also a certain challenge to it that allows you to ramp up the difficulty and not have to suffer through long parts of the game because of the bite size feel to the different levels. I do have to say that works for and against the game as a whole in my opinion. I like it because I didn't have to sink long hours into the game, but at the same time there's a real arcade feel to it where I feel like I'm trying to get a high score instead of trying to further a story. At the end of the day though this is a game that needs to be added to any Gears of War fan's collection, and with that I will simply say that this game gets an 8.1 out of 10.

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