I’ve always been a huge fan of the Gears of War series, so as you can imagine I’ve been pretty excited to get my paws on Judgment. The game is based around two well-known faces; Damon Baird and Augustus Cole, who are joined by Sofia Hendrik and Garron Paduk to make up Kilo Squad. As most of you will already know, Judgment is a prequel to the GoW series. Set around the time of Emergence day, Kilo Squad is being tried for their unauthorized use of a lightmass bomb (an Imulsion powered nuke, if you will), for which they must each give a testimony detailing what happened while Sera was being overrun.
Now, the gameplay itself is very similar to that of GoW3
(for the campaign, at least). We still have that swift ‘run to cover and start shooting’ feel, but with a bit more variation when it comes to the spud guns (and grenades, for that matter). These new weapons and grenades come in some interesting forms. For example, we have now have a ‘Markza’ (semi-auto sniper rifle, the M21 of GoW
) or a ‘Booshka’ (fitting name, considering it’s a grenade launcher) to mow enemies down with. On top of that, we have ‘Beacon Grenades’ which can be thrown towards the enemies to reveal a red outline for easy visibility and ‘Stim Grenades’ which can be used to heal yourself or allies.
So that’s the weapons covered, what about the actual campaign? I’ve always had a slight issue with the Gears
games – well, not really an issue, more a niggle. Once you get stuck into the beef of a chapter, you really are stuck in. Some chapters last way too long for my liking – but it's so hard to put down, I can't leave a chapter before finishing it.
Epic has taken a different approach to the Judgment
campaign though. As each member of Kilo Squad gives their testament, you play through short flashbacks relating to what they’re telling the Jury. That leads me to quite an interesting factor of Judgment
– at the start of each flashback, you have the option to accept a ‘Declassify mission’. These missions determine what information you share with the Jury – it just might be your saving grace. For example, you might tell them that you were short on ammo supplies, and all had to resort to your Snub Pistols. In which case, yep, you have to use only your pistol. It makes each section that little bit more challenging, but makes stars easier to obtain.
Stars! I forgot to mention those. As you complete each section, you receive stars based on your performance. There are many things that affect your star rating such as which ribbons you acquire or how you kill enemies (headshots, executions etc). These stars all add up, and you’ll receive rewards as you collect them. After collecting 40 stars, you unlock a new campaign called Aftermath which is set after the events of GoW3
Anyway, speaking of killing enemies, you may be wondering what we’re going to be facing in Judgment
. Well, a lot of our foes we’ve met before – boomers, wretches etc. There are some new kids on the block though, and fittingly, they’re known as Ragers. They’re armed with BreechShots, (sniper rifles without scopes) which makes them deadly from a distance. That’s not all though, once you piss them off, they mutate into aggressively armoured versions of themselves, making them quite a problem in close proximity too.
Now, as well as Ragers, we also have a new antagonist known as General Karn. To cut a long story short, he’s riding around on some sort of giant spider-like locust making a mess of cities and cog soldiers alike. Giant spider-monster antagonist, mini-nuke, can anyone guess where the story’s going?
Alongside the campaign, we have a bunch of other game types to have a play with including the classic Team Deathmatch as well as some new modes in the forms of Overrun, Domination, Free for All and Survival.