hot  /  reviews  /  video  /  blogs  /  forum

Gears of War

2K Games photo
2K Games

Rod Fergusson heading up new 2K Games studio


Working on an unannounced project
Sep 26
// Jordan Devore
Former Gears of War producer Rod Fergusson left Irrational Games earlier this year after joining the team during the tail-end of development on BioShock Infinite. The fact that he moved on is no secret, but he has only today ...
Gears of War photo
Gears of War

Gears of War on Xbox One? Microsoft hopes so


Oh that Phil Spencer
Sep 18
// Jordan Devore
Asked by Famitsu if the Gears of War franchise would continue on Xbox One, Microsoft Game Studios head Phil Spencer said that "You should ask Epic Games about what they want to do. We haven't announced anything yet about&nbs...
Sales photo
Sales

Bulletstorm dev on sales: 'We did everything we could'


It and Gears of War: Judgment sold around one million copies each
Aug 13
// Jordan Devore
People Can Fly wanted to make a sequel to Bulletstorm, one of the most pleasantly surprising first-person shooters in years, but the prospect was deemed too risky. (I'm still not over this, if you couldn't tell.) Instead, the...
Bioshock Infinite sale photo
Bioshock Infinite sale

The final day of the Xbox Live game sale is a good one


Day 4 closes out the Ultimate Game Sale
Jul 05
// Chris Carter
There's tons of great deals today for the Xbox Live "Ultimate Game Sale," including Bioshock Infinite for $39.99, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance for $29.99, XCOM: Enemy Unknown for $19.99, and Tomb Raider for $19.99. Infinite...
 photo
Jimquisition happens every Monday!
A common argument in the ongoing debate over gender and videogames is that women and men both are equally objectified. Is that really true? As always, Emperor God King Jim Sterling puts His holy foot down and delivers wisdom true to the masses. He totally isn't smug about it, either!

Gears of War photo
Gears of War

Gears of War: Judgment gets another free map next week


Dreadnought
May 10
// Jordan Devore
While it would have been nice for Gears of War: Judgment to come out of the gate with more content, the fact that some of the post-release DLC is free helps reduce the sting. Following the Haven map and Execution mode, anothe...

Review: Gears of War: Judgment: Call to Arms

May 07 // Jason Cabral
Gears of War: Judgment Call to Arms DLC (Xbox 360) Developer: Epic Games, People Can Fly Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios Released: April 30, 2013 MSRP: $12.50 ($20 VIP Pass for two packs) Call to Arms adds three new maps to Judgment’s initial six, the new multiplayer mode Master at Arms, as well as a handful of new skins and achievements. Right off the bat, you do have some restrictions that come along with this content. First off, of the three new multiplayer maps, only two are available for any standard multiplayer type, while the last, Terminal, is reserved only for matches of OverRun and Survival. Clearly the extra character and weapons skins do nothing to enhance the multiplayer experience, but they do add a touch of color to the drab COG uniforms. The new weapon skins Cascade and Chlorophyll are a nice touch, with Cascade’s retro streaming block animation and Chlorophyll’s strange iridescent green glow. Added to the Gears wardrobe are the Locust, Crazy Doctor, Ice Burn, and Taxi skins. The time and detail put into some of these skins, especially the Locust and Ice Burn skins, is really something to enjoy. Personally though, I just wish they took that extra time to make more map or mode content for Judgment. Does anyone else miss Horde Mode? [embed]253208:48550:0[/embed] As a nice throwback to veteran Gears players, People Can Fly has brought Blood Drive to Judgment’s multiplayer. This unlucky Medical Facility, located in downtown Jacinto, has been used as a field of chaos for Locust and COG alike since Gears of War 2, but has returned in this installment with a few new side routes and the immensely useful ability to vault over nearly any cover.   Blood Drive inherits the central section of the map from its predecessors, but adds a fair bit of new tight corridors for those players who love to show off how shiny their Lancers and Shotguns are, up close and personal. Along with its many high-ground sections which are great for sniping, and the large and open middle ground area, Blood Drive is a great map that has something for every Gears player to enjoy. Boneyard brings the decaying and haunting atmosphere of Gears of War 3's world to Judgment. The overall design of the map reminds me of the seating structure of any amphitheater, with the Mausoleum filling in for the stage. While not entirely far off, Boneyard likes to play more with the different levels of verticality to help keep the action moving along rather than funneling all of the chaos to the Mausoleum. The fallen grave markers and broken stonework provide excellent cover from the onslaught while giving you time to appreciate the irony of current situation. While Boneyard does offer a welcome change of pace visually by injecting some warmer colors, I still thought that Boneyard was the weakest entry in Call to Arms. Where Blood Drive tries to offer a new take on a classic Gears map with many different approaches to take, Boneyard feels rather small and directionless in comparison to a map like Library.   I really enjoy the overall design and flow of Terminal. The middle of the battlefield features tons of cover strewn about that either side can utilize to cast down suppressing fire and turn the tide of battle. On another note, the smaller terraces offer non-Scout class COG the opportunity to get a better view of one side of the battle, along with easily and quickly transitioning from a long-range defender to a battlefield-level support. The progression through this map feels very smooth. On OverRun/Survival, the transition between E-Hole Covers can make the level seem disjointed; like each section was designed by three competing people. Terminal's environment does a great job of invoking a sense of desperation and dread for the COG forces. The meat of this DLC is the new gameplay mode, Master at Arms. Essentially, this mode is Judgment’s take on a Call of Duty: Black Ops’ multiplayer staple, Gun Game. Just like in the previously mentioned series, this new mode challenges players to rack up 20 kills by using some of the most iconic weapons in Gears' history; the first player to reach 20 wins the match. Each kill scored cycles your current weapon to the next predetermined weapon. Simply put, the key to success in this mode is all reliant on your skills with the plethora of weapons throughout the Gears franchise. If you haven’t had a lot of practice with the Digger or the Torque Bow, than get ready to be taken to school in Master at Arms. As most Gears players can attest, the unique weaponry found within the series can vary from solid and reliable to wildly inaccurate and frustrating. However, once you take some time to get accustomed to all of their quirks, you'll find yourself nailing heads hits with a Booshka just as easily as you would with a Longshot. The one main issue that I have with this DLC is the fact that the only way to justify picking up this content is to purchase the VIP Pass for all of the current and upcoming content. This DLC alone is 1000 MS Points, which is a fair price for multiplayer content in the current console market. However, considering the lack of content offered and that Judgment's VIP Pass costs 1600 MS Points and nets you this DLC pack as well as the next content pack, the only option that makes sense is to go for the bundle. Even with the VIP Pass, what you get is only total of six maps and two game modes, and the ability to play for double XP. For a game that is already light on multiplayer content, this really feels like a lazy, half-hearted effort to generate a quick buck from the fans of a dedicated franchise. While the Master at Arms game mode is fun and injects a certain level of enjoyable chaos to your standard free-for-all game type, and Blood Drive is a nice throwback to Gears of War 2, three maps and one new game type simply isn't enough for the price. VIP Pass holders may get their money's worth in the long run, but if you're not looking to drop those 1600 MS Points right now, it's best to leave this call unanswered.
GoW: Judgment photo
Let this call go to voicemail
Since Gears of War 3, Epic Games has not been afraid to squeeze every last cent out of its customer base through premium maps and skins for characters and weapons. Don't get me wrong, I still consider the All Fronts DLC pack ...

 photo

Rhymedown Spectacular: To Game Or Not To Game


The brains behind Jimquisition and Zero Punctuation get lyrical
May 01
// Jim Sterling
Time for more poetry from your best buddies, Jim n' Yahtzee. This week our literary brains pick on manly men's videogames and pay homage to Dark Souls.  Lovely writing, brutal sarcasm, and death. Lots of death. What's not to love?
Xbox Live photo
Xbox Live

Xbox Live Gold going free this weekend in the UK


Mark your calenders
Apr 30
// Harry Monogenis
The US, Canada, Latin America, and Japan have had their turn, and now it's time for the United Kingdom to receive a free weekend of Xbox Live Gold. Beginning on the afternoon of May 3 and ending midnight on May 5, those who h...
Gears of War photo
Gears of War

Battleship producer joins Gears of War film


But there's not much else to report
Apr 30
// Jordan Devore
Joining countless other adaptations of popular videogames that someone bought the rights to only for us to hear little if nothing else since, the Gears of War movie is still happening. Variety reports that Battleshi...
Bulletstorm 2 photo
Bulletstorm 2

Bulletstorm sequel would have been 'a big risk'


Former People Can Fly boss talks Bulletstorm and Gears
Apr 23
// Jordan Devore
Speaking to Eurogamer, People Can Fly founder Adrian Chmielarz has expressed the Bulletstorm sequel that could have been, and why the studio moved on to Gears of War: Judgment instead of seeing the project through to com...
Couch Campaign photo
Couch Campaign

The veterans administration in Gears must be hellish


Conrad and Jordan's Couch Campaign continues
Apr 19
// Conrad Zimmerman
I've known more than a few wounded veterans in my day, both family and friends. If there's one thing I have taken away from their experience, it's that dealing with the US Veterans Administration can be almost as annoying as...
Gears of War photo
Gears of War

More maps and another mode for Gears of War: Judgment


Call to Arms Map Pack
Apr 19
// Jordan Devore
On Tuesday, owners of the VIP Season Pass for Gears of War: Judgment will get more mileage out of their purchase with the arrival of a second map pack named Call to Arms. Everyone else can get this multiplayer content on Apri...
Couch Campaign photo
Couch Campaign

How we became traitors to the COGs


Conrad and Jordan's Couch Campaign continues
Apr 17
// Conrad Zimmerman
We've posted some new episodes of Couch Campaign today for your viewing pleasure, continuing our run through Gears of War: Judgment and defying every order that comes our way. We're such rebels like that. I have to give...
 photo

GOW: Judgment and GOW: Ascension failed, says analyst


Leading franchises for Microsoft and Sony 'significantly underperform'
Apr 16
// Jim Sterling
Recently, the PS3 and Xbox 360 each saw prequels for their leading franchises -- God of War: Ascension and Gears of War: Judgment. According to analyst firm Cowen & Company, the two GOWs failed to impress at retail. ...
Couch Campaign photo
Couch Campaign

Gears of War: Judgment Krampus Bro Fest


Conrad and Jordan's Couch Campaign begins
Apr 12
// Conrad Zimmerman
There is nothing (and I mean nothing; no food, nor sex, nor drug) that I enjoy more than the act of sitting down next to another person whose company is pleasant and playing a game with them. Couch Campaign is an opportunity...
Gears of War photo
Gears of War

Fully playable mode found hidden on GoW: Judgment


Microsoft says the mode is not on-disc DLC
Mar 28
// Abel Girmay
Some clever little birds went snooping around in Gears of War: Judgment's code, and ended up finding a fully playable, locked mode called Warzone. Naturally the assumption is that the mode is another case of on-disc DLC, but ...
Gears Judgment console photo
This exclusive console will NOT be sold in stores!
[Update: Contest over! Winner is Lawrence Diego!] Destructoid has acquired an exclusive Gears of War: Judgment-themed Xbox 360 to give away to one lucky Dtoid Gearhead! To win, you need to demonstrate to us your love for the ...

Ranked: The Gears of War trailers

Mar 18 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]248958:47621:0[/embed] 6. Gears of War: Judgment Despite its impending release, the Gears of War: Judgment trailer has to be the worst of the bunch. It completely ignores the formula that was expertly refined in the previous trailers. Featuring the song "Shooting the Moon" by Mona, the Gears of War: Judgment video takes an entirely different approach than all of its predecessors. Focusing on action, combat, and testosterone, it feels less like a Gears of War trailer, and more like the run-of-the-mill trailer released for almost any other videogame. It's tough not to view this one as the black sheep of the Gears of War trailers. [embed]248958:47622:0[/embed] 5. Gears of War 2 - I Have A Rendezvous With Death This is the most unique of the Gears of War trailers, in the sense that it's the only one to feature a poem instead of a song. Borrowing choice lines from Alan Seeger's writing, this video seems to move step-in-step with the poem. Despite being only the second Gears of War trailer, it didn't take long for Epic to find their groove. This video is highlighted by several defining characteristics that tend to find their way into the series' other trailers. [embed]248958:47623:0[/embed] 4. Gears of War 3 - Ashes to Ashes When Cliff Bleszinski appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to announce Gears of War 3, they showed this reveal trailer. The video unveiled some interesting tidbits about the game such as the inclusion of a female COG, and the introduction of the Lambent as enemies. Aside from these revelations, the video was quite phenomenal. It's probably the trailer that best depicts the hopelessness of war. The look of utter defeat on Dom's face as he gives in to the realization of death is nothing short of incredible. As the camera fades out to show all sects fighting one another with the COGs caught squarely in the middle, you couldn't help but feel as if Gears of War 3 couldn't release fast enough. [embed]248958:47626:0[/embed] 3. Gears of War 2 - Last Day The "Last Day" trailer may be the most emotionally effective one of all because it shows purely the human side of war. There's no combat or action, just soldiers reflecting on the weight of war. As Dom looks at a creased picture of him and Maria, and Marcus stares into the ominously overcast sky, their lives seem semi-normal. That is, until the camera follows Marcus to show him walking from a golden field into a Locust camp -- expressing the permanent blurring of lines between what can even be considered normal anymore. As their elevator plummets into the ground in perfect synchronization with the music, you know that normal's out the window. [embed]248958:47627:0[/embed] 2. Gears of War 3 - Dust to Dust "Dust to Dust" is the trailer that was made for the game that was set to close out the original trilogy. It's unusually action-packed, as it was made to correlate nicely with the apex of the series. What made this trailer really special was the style in which they went about packing in all that action. The entire video is one continuous camera shot, and it's in slow-motion. This, coupled with Mazzy Star's "Into Dust", made for one of the most memorable trailers of all time. [embed]248958:47628:0[/embed] 1. Gears of War - Mad World Here it is. The "Mad World" spot is hands-down the best Gears of War trailer. This probably doesn't come as a surprise to anyone. In fact, there's a solid chance that you clicked this article solely to watch it again. When this trailer began to air in 2006, not only did it turn a lot of people on to Gears of War, but it's the reason that a lot of people even bought an Xbox 360 in the first place. There was never any question that "Mad World" would be at the top of this list. In fact, if this were a list of best videogame trailers of all time, this one would probably be in the exact same spot.
Gears of War trailers photo
The emotional side to these tough guys
The Gears of War franchise has a history across its four titles of releasing some of the best cinematic trailers in gaming. Despite the series' reputation of being all about impossibly muscle-bound space marines murderin...

New releases photo
New releases

New releases: LEGO City: Undercover gets built


Plus Monster Hunter and Gears of War
Mar 18
// Fraser Brown
Underneath my gruff exterior beats the heart of a kid obsessed with LEGO. Even now, if I see some of those little bricks, I drop what I'm doing, and start building, ignoring whoever else is in the room. With that in mind, it...
 photo

Reviews Elsewhere: Gears of War: Judgment


Judgment Day
Mar 18
// Jim Sterling
The release of Gears of War: Judgment has taken a fair few folks by surprise. Even I had a minor jolt when the review copy arrived on my doorstep, the prequel having enjoyed a relatively unsung build, at least when compared t...

Review: Gears of War: Judgment

Mar 17 // Jim Sterling
Gears of War: Judgment (Xbox 360)Developer: Epic Games, People Can FlyPublisher: Microsoft Game StudiosReleased: March 19, 2013MSRP: $59.99 Set in the early years just after "Emergence Day," Gears of War: Judgment tells the story of Baird -- Delta Squad's forever caustic complainer and arguably the best character in the series. Judgment explains why he was a lowly private during the events of Gears of War, despite having served as Lieutenant, and introduces us to Kilo Squad -- comprised of Sofia Hendrik, Paduk, and series favorite Augustus "Cole Train" Cole.  As a story, Judgment is largely forgettable -- a bit of a shame for those rare freaks like myself who actually quite enjoy Gears' silly-but-entertaining narrative. Despite claiming to reveal Baird's past and pit him against a terrifying new Locust threat, Judgment doesn't really provide much in the way of compelling information. Baird disobeys authority, fights a bad guy, and that's about it. It's not poorly written, and the Kilo Squad is a likable bunch, but it is by far the least memorable of all Gears campaigns in terms of pure story.  As far as delivery goes, however, Judgment shakes things up in a big way. Set during Kilo Squad's military trial, campaign chapters are presented as flashbacks, each member of the squad taking turns to retell their story. At the beginning of every section, players can select to "declassify" the testimony, allowing characters to reveal more information about the events that took place. What this amounts to in gameplay terms is choosing optional extra challenges that change the way a section plays out. [embed]248919:47610:0[/embed] To declassify a mission, players simply approach a Gears logo painted on the wall and confirm the mission condition -- be it reduced visibility in a room, the presence of elite Locust troops, or a lack of ammunition. Some of these extra challenges are damn tough, and can significantly alter the feel of a mission. However, playing the game under these difficult conditions leads to a better star rating upon completion -- which in turns leads to unlockable content.  Judgment places a heavy emphasis on star and ribbon acquisition, encouraging players to kill opponents by gibbing or executing them, and completing various tasks on the fly to obtain commendations. As players earn ribbons and kills, they level up, and as they level up they get to earn Prize Boxes which can award anything from an experience boost to a new character skin. Player progress is retained throughout all modes of the game, meaning players constantly feel like they're working toward an end goal no matter what they do.  This focus on leveling and winning things leads to Judgment's campaign having a lot more of an "arcade" feel than prior installments. Missions are very short, lasting a few minutes at most, which leads to the already basic story feeling segmented. However, the trade-off is a faster, more chaotic, more varied solo and cooperative experience which, coupled with the declassified extras, leads to an altogether different type of Gears that players are used to. Whether fighting in a room covered in thick dust and full of sword-wielding Therons, or defending a position with sentry bots and turrets, Judgment constantly switches things up on the player, and the bite-sized nature of individual missions leads to a feeling of greater replayability.  As always, the game can be experienced cooperatively, which is as simple as jumping into -- or having someone else jump into -- a game and just getting down to business. Once again, the segmented structure of the campaign makes co-op a more enjoyable option. For those who prefer to play solo, however, the allied A.I. seems to have received a bit of a boost this time around. They're more competent as they're less ready to wander aimlessly, and they tend to be quick at reviving you -- a crucial requirement, since staying in "down but not out" status for an extended period of time can cost you progress toward stars.  After unlocking thirty stars, a shorter, more traditional campaign -- Aftermath -- becomes accessible. This is a little side story taking place during the events of Gears of War 3, and sees Baird return to Judgment's Halvo Bay in order to acquire a boat. While only brief, Aftermath is a neat little chapter that plays with a horror atmosphere and adequately wraps up Kilo Squad's story.  Multiplayer is, of course, the main attraction, and it's where the majority of controversial changes have been made. Most importantly, classic team deathmatch no longer pits COG forces against Locust players. Instead, regular multiplayer modes will pit red teams against blue teams, with any player free to select and skin their favorite character. You could ostensibly have a team of four blue Bairds against four red Bairds if you want. An advantage to this decision is that players get to feel more personally attached to their character of choice, giving them a unique look and feeling more like it's their avatar. However, since Judgment goes so far as to pit COG against COG, I don't think it would have been too jarring to allow for mixed teams, and let players select either COG or Locust characters to fight alongside each other. It would have been no weirder than seeing Cole chainsaw his doppelganger in half.  Sticking to human players only will likely disappoint many players (I personally miss being able to play as a Theron Guard), but the alteration is purely cosmetic, and the game itself is familiar as always -- players are all still rolling around with shotguns and sticking grenades on each other, so don't worry if you feel the game's changed too much. Domination also returns, the familiar capture-and-hold based game type that has always been a long-standing personal favorite. Those eager for traditional Gears gameplay will get their fill here, but it's the new content that really draws my eye. The disassembly of the COG/Locust dynamic paves the way for an all-new competitive mode, free-for-all. For the first time in the series, all players can fight for themselves in a mode that dismantles teams and lets personal combat reign free. I actually enjoyed this mode a lot more than I thought I would. No longer having a team relying on you is a rather freeing experience, while having death come from anywhere provides a level of pleasant anarchy matching that of the campaign. While I don't expect many of the hardcore Gears players to migrate away from their beloved team dynamic, the free-for-all option is a great one to have.  The second new mode is OverRun, a mode I have fallen completely in love with. This gametype is the sole source of COG vs. Locust action, pitting teams against each other in a class-based battle of attack and defense. As humans, players must defend barricaded Emergence Holes for a set period of time, while the Locust team must fight their way to it and destroy the barricades. Played over three rounds, the whole game is over should the players hold out at any stage, but if the Locust can open two E-Holes and eventually destroy a power generator, they win the game. In a manner similar to Left 4 Dead, the advantage lies with the monsters, and it's more a case of seeing which team can hole out for the longer rather than who can stay alive until the timer drains -- though it's entirely possible to do so.  When playing as COG, participants can select from an engineer, scout, soldier, or medic, each with their own pre-set weapon loadouts and combat roles. The engineer is perhaps the most important, able to repair damaged fortifications and slow down the Locust progress, while erecting temporary sentry turrets to score kills. The soldier is based around high impact weapons and can toss an ammo grenade to replenish allied weaponry, while the scout uses long-ranged firearms and a grenade that locates and debuffs the opposition. Finally, the medic does as you'd expect, armed with conventional weapons and stim-gas grenades that heal or revive teammates.  The Locust get a lot more options, and judicial use of all the beasts on offer is key to victory. The first tier of monsters allows players to be explosive Tickers, fence-jumping Wretches, deadly Grenadiers, or (my personal favorite) healing Kantus Priests. As Locust players deal damage and wrack up points, they get to unlock more deadly creatures from a second tier -- consisting of the transforming Rager, tank-like Mauler, slithering Serapede, or outright terrifying Corpser. Using these creatures well is not only important, but immense fun. Sending waves of Tickers out, or having a Mauler and Kantus team up as an unstoppable force, is just fantastic stuff, and the panic felt as the human team, when a pair of giant spider monsters start digging their way under barriers, is pretty exhilarating in its own right. I'm a fan of class-based multiplayer in general, and have to say I'm immensely impressed by what Epic and People Can Fly have done with OverRun. Even when I had to get on and test the other multiplayer modes, I struggled to tear myself away from this one. It's a stupid amount of fun, and something I plan to keep playing for quite some time.  Once again, Gears of Wars' commitment to content is laudable, with a full campaign, co-op, and scads of multiplayer options to choose from. I'm a little turned off, however, by the fact the majority of character and weapon skins are gated behind extra purchases, which seems to diminish the importance being placed on level progression and Prize Box acquisition. Knowing some of the better unlockables must be paid for rather than earned reduces my interest in the entire system, and while Judgment does more than enough to justify its asking price, it's a bit of an own-goal to undermine the value of what would otherwise be a fantastic ranking system.  That quibble aside, Epic's latest is still a very worthy purchase for fans of the series, and does enough new things that the previously uninterested may consider looking into it. The campaign is light on story, but heavy on replay value, with an invigorated new approach to solo play and a nice twist on the idea of optional difficulty. The core multiplayer modes are preserved, but competitive play truly comes back to life with the addition of free-for-all and the stellar new OverRun mode.  Gears of War 3 was still a great little game, but represented the kind of step down indicative of a series that's running out of steam. Gears of War: Judgment puts paid to that impression, proving there's plenty of vitality in Epic's flagship yet; provided it's willing to try some new spins on its established formula. OverRun alone is worthy of praise, but there's just so much stuff going on in this package, there's something for all followers of the series. A few of Judgment's experiments may not be as fondly received as others, but overall it's hard to complain about a game that tries so much, and succeeds in almost all its endeavors.  This is Gears of War back, unquestionably, on the winning path. 
Gears of War: Judgment photo
No Baird soars too high
Gears of War 3 may have seen an effective end to the war between the COG and the Locust, but in the game industry, a story isn't over until games stop selling. While Epic Games works on an inevitable sequel, it's joined up wi...

 photo

Gears of War: Judgment trailer introduces Kilo Squad


Grub's up!
Mar 13
// Jim Sterling
Here's a new trailer for Gears of War: Judgment, introducing us to Baird's allies in the prequel campaign. Kilo Squad is the team responsible for the events of Epic's upcoming new game, and you can hear them say things while...
Epic Games photo
Epic Games

Mike Capps 'no longer affiliated' with Epic Games


Former president leaves advisory role
Mar 08
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
Back in December Mike Capps, former president of Epic Games, announced he was retiring from the company to focus largely on his family and upcoming baby. Mike was going to stick around in an advisory role, but tonight he anno...
Gears of War: Judgment photo
Gears of War: Judgment

Gears of War: Judgment launch trailer emerges


So many explosions
Mar 07
// Brett Makedonski
"Heroes make it up as they go along," as this new Gears of War: Judgment trailer boldly suggests. Judging by the video, "make it up" is some sort of military code phrase for "kill everything." Featuring the song "Shooti...
Vanishing of Ethan Carter photo
Vanishing of Ethan Carter

Former Bulletstorm developer on move toward smaller games


Guns, guns, guns...no guns?
Mar 05
// Steven Hansen
Speaking with GamesIndustry International, Adrian Chmielarz, People Can Fly’s former co-owner and creative director, had this to say: “We think that video games are not all they can be. Actually, most of them are ...

Gears of War: Judgment features two different campaigns

Mar 04 // Abel Girmay
[embed]247647:47360:0[/embed] Gears of War: Judgment (Xbox 360)Developer: Epic Games, People Can flyPublisher: Microsoft Game StudiosRelease: March 19, 2013 Gears of War has been known more for its scale rather than its narrative; nearly nonsensical in the first, melodramatic in the second, but not half bad in the third. Epic is making a concerted effort with Judgment to change that, bringing in Rob Auten, a former Hollywood editor, and Tom Bissell, a former war correspondent. The duo had actually met prior to their work on Judgment, working together in 2009 on a yet to be announced/possibly defunct game. For a universe as big as Gears, with the games, comics, and the rest of the expanded universe, it can be a bit of a minefield for new writers adding new stories to such an established lore. "In a weird way we actually wanted to take things back," Auten told me. "Gears has always been about guys and girls saving the world, three times now. So how about we just save a city, almost like a western. Bad guy comes into town, good guys go kill the bad guy. Plus what's adding to this is that we already know in Gears lore that the city is going to be destroyed. So it adds this nice bitter aftertaste to the heroic actions in our game which we get to explore in Aftermath." A side story unlocked after completing Judgments campaign, Aftermath follows Baird and Cole after they separate from Marcus and Dom during the events of Gears of War 3. Over the course of both campaigns, you will get to see how both stories talk to each other even though they take place many years apart. I got to see this mostly in the character Paduk, who's part of Kilo squad, and also makes an appearance early in the Aftermath story. "Paduk by the end of Judgment is a really pissed off guy. He just completely removes himself. He doesn't believe in the COG, he doesn't believe in the war, and it's how he remains when we see him in Aftermath." In terms of gameplay, Aftermath gets to shine from Judgments subtle tweaks. Movement speed is raised just slightly, weapons now have a quick swap button on Y, and grenades can be quick tossed with LB, or you can hold it for the traditional arc. Aftermath is essentially a lovely little taste of Gears of War 3, but with the finer amenities of Judgment, and so far my most compelling reason to get this game. This is still a Gears game mind you, so the majority of your attention is still focused on shooting Locust in the face in as fun a way as possible. As many of you know, Judgments narrative is a series of flashbacks, as Kilo squad try to explain away the actions they're being held on trial for. Apart from being a new narrative style, the story adds new wrinkles to gameplay with the Declassifications.  If the main campaign is the public record of Kilo squads story, Declassifications are the bits of the file marked in black ink, shedding light on what really happened. Speaking with senior producer Alan Van Slyke, "When we had this framework of Kilo squad gone rogue, and now they're giving their testimony in a military tribunal, it made sense for us to give the player options to opt in and hear the testimony that not only the Republic knows about, but what really went down." In combat, Declassifying acts as mutators, adding additional challenges to the game. These range from reduced visibility, to weapons restrictions, to fighting modified enemy types. Really, the Declassify system adds more to the gameplay than the story, but more hardcore Gears fans will recognize the story significance of a few of these challenges. Early in the game I ran into a Declassification that would turn all the Wretches in the chapter into Lambent Wretches. Lambent Wretches don't actually make their appearance until later in the story of Gears of War 2, some 15 odd years later, but the Declassified variant of the level shows the COG knew about them for a while, but buried that knowledge. Declassifications also feed into Judgments scoring system. A relatively simple system, scoring in Judgment has you attempting to get a three star rating, with rewarded actions running the gamut of headshots, multi-kills, finishing a chapter without getting downed, and the like. The scoring itself can be simple, but Judgment aims to make the combat anything but. Like with Left 4 Dead, Judgment has a smart-spawn system that reads your play style and tries to fight back. "We tried to make it so that the game reads you," Alan told me. "So that if you're being really aggressive and rushing through a level we might spawn Wretches to come up behind you, or if you play it super defensively we might start bringing in more Tickers and Kantus." It remains to be seen just how dynamic it is, as I only had time to run through the chapters once, but at the very least Epic is promising the system is dynamic enough to spawn different enemy types during different playthroughs, rather than the previous system of scripted encounters. Between the story, subtle control tweaks, Declassifications, and Aftermath, I can feel the ice breaking between me and Judgment. I still carry a few reservations mind you (still not into free-for-all) and while the effort is sincere, I'm going to need to experience the full campaign for myself before I get hyped at the possibility of a good story in a Gears game. Such is the mind of a fan. But again, I am just that, a fan. And if you are too, then let me tell you there is no reason to not keep your eyes peeled for how this one turns out.
Gears of War: Judgment  photo
Making a real push for story and gameplay refinement
I love Gears of War. Like many earlier adopters of the Xbox 360 (I have and love a PS3 too so don't hate), Gears of War was that first big game that made me very comfortable with my system choice. With roughly a year and half...

Gears of War: Judgment photo
Gears of War: Judgment

Former war correspondent worked on Gears of War: Judgment


A look at the writing in Gears of War: Judgment
Mar 02
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
The awesome team at Kill Screen paid a visit to Epic Games and got a behind the scenes look at how Gears of War: Judgment's new story was created. Kill Screen spoke with Rob Auten, a former Hollywood editor, and Tom Bissell,...
Gears of War photo
Gears of War

Epic: Gears of War ripoffs hurt the franchise's legacy


Gears of War: Judgment's art director calls out the wannabes
Feb 27
// Brett Makedonski
Chris Perna, the art director for Gears of War: Judgment, recently had some choice words for detractors of Epic Games' flagship series. In an interview with Official Xbox Magazine, Perna stated that the only reason Gears of W...
Gears of War Season Pass photo
Gears of War Season Pass

Gears of War: Judgment will have a Season Pass


Is this really a surprise?
Feb 26
// Chris Carter
Like Gears of War 3, the newest Gears iteration, Judgment, will be getting a Season Pass. The pass will be available at the game's launch (March 19) for $20 (1600 Microsoft Points), which is a 20 percent discount compared to ...

  Around the web (login to improve these)




Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -