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 to the usual Gears releases.
What makes this more surprising is the fact it's actually pretty excellent, at least as far as I'm concerned. Most of the critics agree, too, with the game netting largely positive reviews.
Some of the reviews still have criticisms, one of which being the relatively small map selection. It's a problem I personally didn't notice so much, mostly because I was loving OverRun so much, but it's a definitely issue for those who want more locations.
As always, we've collected the more notable reviews from the crop. Check it out!
Giant Bomb: There's just enough exposition there to keep things moving and just enough of a gameplay tweak to make you wish they had made these changes two games ago. It's a fun but feature-light shooter for people who already enjoy the basic style of Gears of War. Nothing more, nothing less. [3/5]
Official Xbox Magazine: Its engrossing multiplayer modes make Judgment easy to recommend, even if we found its main story campaign weaker than its predecessors’. The game offers a stunning-looking blend of tried-and-true Gears gameplay and nifty new features that’ll no doubt pacify franchise fans until the inevitable Gears of War 4 steamrolls the competition. But if you’ve yet to acquaint yourself with the series and hoped that this prequel would be your introduction, we’d suggest grabbing a copy ofGears of War 3 instead. [8/10]
IGN: During the introduction, the sights are almost impossibly beautiful. Halfway through, I realized this is the best third-person shooter around. By the end, it's clear that it’s paving a path other developers could (and hopefully will) follow. [9.2]
Eurogamer: Even with the pall of over-familiarity lingering over it, Gears of War: Judgment is a timely reminder that ruthless focus on gameplay, generosity towards players and good old-fashioned design craft can still pay dividends at a time when big-budget action games are at risk of fragmenting into splinters of mindless busywork. Sometimes, being a bloody good shooter is all that's required. [8/10]
Polygon: As a side-experiment with class-based multiplayer and more aggressively arcade-influenced shooting, Gears of War: Judgment doesn't feel essential in the same way its predecessors did. If three games in five years left you with your fill of Gears of War, Judgment may not be enough to change your mind. But as a well-executed supplement to its parent series, Gears of War: Judgment is easy to recommend. People Can Fly have added enough cool new bits to make the game feel fresh, even if they're not re-inventing the series. [8/10]
CVG: Still, despite a thinner roster of Locusts in OverRun and a lack of difficulty options in Survival, both modes are worthy of the series, offering fun across a broad skill spectrum, whether you want to form a party of five and get tactical, or simply spawn a Serapede and spit acid everywhere. [8.5/10]