Taking place before the events of Gears of War, Judgment focuses on everybody’s favourite cynical, smart mouthed engineer, Damon Baird, in his days of command of Kilo Squad. As well as adding a brand new campaign to the universe, Gears of War: Judgment introduces a class system and a fresh game mode that provides a new challenge for multiplayer.
• Developer: Epic Games, People Can Fly
• Publisher: Microsoft Studios
• Previewed on: Xbox 360
• Release Date: March 2013
Overrun combines elements from Horde as well as Beast mode from Gears of War 3. In the Island level playable at Eurogamer Expo, the Gears were in a fortified position centred around a generator they had to protect, while the Locust team had the task of breaking through the defenses to destroy the generator.
The Locust gameplay is very similar to Beast mode, where you’ll have a pool of points for your team to spawn different Locust creatures, each with separate playstyles. The Gears also had slightly separate playstyles with the new classes, and I got to check out the the Recon class. A sniper at it’s core, the Recon class is equipped with a Longshot, which now has a 4 shot clip, and a sensory grenade that picks up all enemies within its radius for a short period of time. From a decent vantage point I managed to keep alive for the majority of our match, popping quick headshots while chucking out the motion sensor and only needing an ammo refill from the Soldier class once.
In an expo environment, with inexperienced players, the Recon class felt overpowered. Whether it was just the players on the Locust team being unskilled or whether there is a genuine balancing issue remains to be seen, but we managed to hold off their offence with minimal effort. When the teams switched sides, playing as the Locust was very reminiscent of Beast mode, with Tickers being an obvious choice to quickly destroy obstacles. The Gears put up a good fight, but some well timed suicide runs as a Ticker saw the generator destroyed and it was game over.
Gears of War: Judgment is being slated as a much more hardcore experience when compared to previous Gears titles: a pretty bold claim when you consider some of the more difficult sections of Gears of War 3. But we’ll find out how hardcore Baird’s team can get offline when the game is released.