Gears of War: Judgment Revisited
Gears of War: Judgment was an odd spin-off for the series that streamlined the controls and in turn simplified the game in a way that was too far of a departure from the other entries. They took what felt like an intuitive control scheme and made it way too easy going which was odd. It was fine visually and produced a number of interesting new characters into the series throughout the story. They also tried some wild things for the multiplayer with some elements being good and others being terrible. I can't say I was ever a fan of the red against blue competitive setup as that was just weird, whereas the OverRun mode was a refreshing mix-up of the action.
Gears of War: Judgment released in spring 2013 on Xbox 360 as an exclusive. The game was later available on Xbox One through Xbox Backwards Compatibility. The title received a number of additional DLC packs as was the tradition with the series and this was available through a season pass or standalone content. There was a special free DLC pack co-sponsored by Maxim that was also available bringing a map and the Execution gametype to the package. This was published by Microsoft and developed by People Can Fly in combination with Epic Games.
I wasn't a fan of Judgment, but did put in some good hours into the OverRun mode. The style was too different from the regular Gears games as honestly the control scheme is fairly intuitive in the main entries and this simplified it too much towards a more casual player. The campaign was fine presenting a prequel entry in the series that was told through a series of perspectives and flashbacks while the group was at a tribunal. It's basically a court process over actions Baird and his squad had taken in the early days of the Locust war. This is quite a fresh perspective on the situation as the regular series is placed many years into the war. It was nice to see the detailed environments of a place in the midst of siege and how the early battles waged on. The Aftermath campaign was a particularly interesting part of the narrative taking place years later and filling in some gaps in the later games. There was a solid squad of new characters here and it's a shame that they haven't really shown up again.
I wasn't a fan of the multiplayer, it was weird and didn't work for me. The combination of just humans with a red or blue color was weird. It played differently and while the maps were well done the regular gameplay was too strange. It had the staples of the regular series yet it did get more playful with variations on modes. It's somewhat fun to play now, but at the time I wasn't fond of it. OverRun was a great offering and I'm shocked it hasn't been brought back in later releases. It was Locust against COG, but focused on PVP action. Players could be the very monsters that caused fear in the story which was great and it felt like a natural evolution for the Beast or Horde modes. The maps were larger and multi-staged with this focusing on team play which resulted in it being a blast. It was fine to play Gears of War Judgment again, it has aged well and I'm still impressed with the hair technology at play. It looks good, plays alright with it mostly just being a bit too streamlined for casuals which I'm not huge on.
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