Hands On - Gears of War: Judgement


Hands On - Gears of War: Judgement
We get OverRun!
Nothing beats the sound of a chainsaw revving followed by the splatter of Locust body parts, and that’s why we’ve loved the Gears of War series over the last number of years. Thankfully, more is on the way with the upcoming release of Gears of War: Judgment. Little has been revealed about the single player side of the game bar the fact that it will focus on Kilo squad, which is made up of returning favourites Baird and Cole along with Sofia Hendrik and Garron Paduk. During a battle against the Locust in Halvo Bay, the squad steal experimental Coalition of Ordered Governments (COG) technology and are then accused of treason. Sadly, we did not get to learn any more at Eurogamer.

Instead, we got our hands on the multiplayer portion of Gears of War: Judgment. It is the team orientated game mode that the series, and many fans, have been crying out for. When you boil it down to the basics, imagine Horde versus the Beast Mode of Gears of War 3. In the game mode on show, called OverRun, COG players were tasked with defending a generator, while the Locusts’ objective was to destroy the generator regardless of the body count racked up. At the end of the round, players switch sides and the team who destroyed the generator quicker, or managed to survive the onslaught, wins. A simple concept, but it is one that we are glad to get our hands on.

One team controls the humans, with a range of classes and abilities on offer. Each player or class has a distinctive role to play. Players can choose between the Medic, Soldier, Engineer and Scout, and support their team in different ways with unique abilities or equipment. Snipers can reveal where enemy Locusts are with their Beacon powerups, and the medic has to keep people alive and on the field of battle for example. Teamwork and communication are the difference between the elation of success and crushing defeat. Be sure to work as a team because, unlike Horde mode, being downed or killed gives the other side more which makes them stronger.

The other side takes the side of the Locusts. As with Beast Mode, players initially get access to comparatively weaker Locusts such as Grenadiers or Tickers. They’re not the most intimidating, but they can pack a punch and rack up a few points. These points get used to unlock bigger and badder types such as the Kantus, Serapede or Corpser. Base defences pose one problem to deal with, but the other problem is that pkayers will be dealing with other real people who are less likely to blindly wander around a corner having forgotten that a Corpser just ducked around it.

As soon as Beast mode was announced for Gears of War 3 we wanted to see how it would play out with humans pitched against one another. We are happy to announce that it is as good as expected. It is a to-and-fro battle where defences and teamwork can turn the tide in the favour of the COG, but the right balance of Locusts, a variety of attack paths and the ability to pepper the generator from distance can see the Locusts triumph. Teamwork and strategic thinking will be key, especially as the round progresses and the game overall evolves.

It’s not a huge shakeup for the Xbox 360 exclusive franchise, but it is fun, frantic and finally allows players to play a role in both sides of the war. Was there ever a doubt that this game mode would work? If there was, we are happy to report that the OverRun mode works well. It is early days yet, but this multiplayer endeavour alone is promising. Now we just have to wait and see where the storyline is taken. Gears of War: Judgment will be released on Xbox 360 in March 2013 worldwide.

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