Gears of War: Judgment Fights Redundancy Through Innovation

Epic retools the series' familiar structure with a slew of features that extend the life of the game and potentially the series as well.

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With some thoughtful changes to the traditional formula, and a dash of inspiration from their peers, People Can Fly and Epic's Gears of War: Judgment could be the most progressive entry in the series to date. Its narrative is communicated in an entirely new way, and surprisingly, this inventive approach also affects the flow of gameplay. These modifications to the Gears formula may even extend the series' endgame beyond Judgment.

The plot centers around Kilo Squad, which is composed of familiar faces Damon Baird and Augustus Cole, and two newcomers, Sofia Hendrik and Garron Paduk. All four stand trial for treasonous actions taken during the battle at Halvo Bay--specifically, their procurement of secret technology belonging to the Coalition of Ordered Government. Their fate lies in the hands of the staunch COG Colonel Ezra Loomis. He proclaims, "The charges will be defined as I hear your testimony," and one by one, each Gear delivers his or her own account of the events that took place that fateful day at Halvo Bay.

As the Gears testify, you relive the events of that day from their perspectives. Your individual reenactment of the testimony plays a pivotal role in the outcome of the trial and the fate of the Kilo Squad--potentially. There's no way to definitively say how the conclusion of Judgment can be influenced at this point, but it's confirmed that the testimonies themselves may be altered by your actions in-game. Trials, especially this military tribunal, live and die by testimony, so it's not a stretch to imagine this one will impact the progression of Judgment's story.

Each map contains COG tags in the environment that, when approached, give you the opportunity to hear declassified testimonies relating to the events at hand. Generally, opting to hear declassified information will alter environmental variables that in turn will complicate your current mission. They may reveal, for example, that Kilo Squad had to fight in the midst of dense fog, or that it came equipped with a severely limited arsenal. Masochists will appreciate the added challenge, but beyond that, the revelation of these extended testimonials could also influence Loomis' verdict at the end of the trial. If that's true, it introduces the possibility of multiple endings--a first for the series.

Choosing to hear declassified testimonies also rewards you a score multiplier. Gears of War: Judgment introduces a ranking system that gauges your performance in each mission using stars. Epic sees this as a way to fuel the obsessive desires of completionists, but it also noted that consistently acquiring perfect star ratings will unlock "significant" content, though what that may entail remains a mystery.

Declassified testimonies and multiple outcomes definitely bolster replayability, and in that regard, Judgment has one more trick up its sleeve. A new dynamic system varies spawn points and enemy types based on weapon loadouts and unit positions on the battlefield. It's the perfect analog to The Director, the AI responsible for dynamically summoning the undead based on an array of conditions in the Left 4 Dead games.

The ruins of Sera's fallen civilizations work quite well in this regard, featuring elements that can be manipulated by specific enemy types. Certain hulking locusts may, for example, hurl dilapidated cars aside as they charge headlong into the Kilo Squad's ranks. The same scenario approached with a different arsenal may spawn smaller enemies that snake around said cars, or perhaps use them as cover. With such rampant unpredictability, you'll never know what to expect while waging war among Sera's ruins.

Despite the reliable success of the first three Gears of War games, Epic has decided to veer slightly off the beaten path for Judgment. By adding to, rather than replacing, elements that made the series a success in the first place, it may have found the best way to extend the series' life span. Judgment is neither stale nor a departure from the now-classic cover-based gameplay, and though our experience barely touched the bulk of the game's narrative, the testimonial-based delivery is a sound fit for a prequel that is itself a testimony to the events leading up to the original Gears of War. Epic currently plans to release Gears of War: Judgment on March 19, 2013.

Discussion

0 comments
terminator661
terminator661

are People can Fly developing this game or are Epic games developing it?

kaikaikikit
kaikaikikit

Being a designer. I love the graphics of this game and its esthetic  i just bought the Art of Gears of War which i really recommend to anyone who like design.

I  really like the lambent idea and i like when there is more aliens with different physiology. I played every GOW since but i didn't get much excitement from GOW 3 story mode, graphics were great 1st level boss very impressive i wished i could see more of these kind of  huge boss but nothing then and my excitement just dropped. I really hope they will bring new dynamics on the games looking at the trailer, it looks more intense.  Hope they will add more dynamics on the way you can cover and not just being glued on the wall. I will still keep an eye on this one.

poopinpat
poopinpat

Makes me wish i still had an xbox.  Anything that pulls from the L4D series is a win in my books :D

bubnux
bubnux

Finally... A reason to boot up my 360 since Gears3! Best M$ exclusive without a doubt.

dasboy1
dasboy1

I'm liking the amount of new weapons and different ways to use them at least.

DEagle267
DEagle267

At least they have the sense to leave a gap between releases unlike [for example] COD which has released a "new" $60 title every year since 06. Gears 1-3 released in 06, 08, and 11.

Atheosis
Atheosis

I love how people constantly complain about sequels being too much like their predecessors while also complaining when sequels change things up too much.  Game designers are in a no-win situation with this stuff honestly. 

jdogthemasacr2
jdogthemasacr2

i have 1 question, since judgement is gona have overrun mode, will it still have horede, and if so what new additives will there be

downwithfire
downwithfire

Holy hell, there are so many nah sayers on this chat. I love the GOW franchise, it has flaws, but very small ones. I mean, you gotta know what you're getting when you buy a game, Epic games haven't  made any false assumptions, nor false promises while stoking-up the releases of each of their GOW games, this seems no different. I don't know, maybe it's because I have tons of friends to play these games with, but I think this series is wonderful, almost as good as the masterpiece that is the Halo franchise. Bunking down for an eight hour horde play-through on the insane difficulty with a few friends, is one of this generations' favorite moments for me. 

 

xwojtas
xwojtas

When we fight in the pendulum wars. On the field aspho. [?]

dark_rage864
dark_rage864

Gears of War 4 for next Xbox would be ace, they could bring in a new successor to the Locust, something more threatening than ever! :)

MaxBlaze
MaxBlaze

Pendulum Wars prequel for Xbox 720, please.

Brishon1
Brishon1

The series is going to continue whether or not there is any "innovation" in future installments.

Kunakai
Kunakai

While I've always been a fan of the aesthetic, the fact that the main gameplay  mechanic in gears has always been cover makes me wonder why they even bother with the series any more, I expect this to be the same playable tech demo as previous GoW's. I say this because a series I anticipated for years failed to impress the first time and really hasn't changed at heart since then. I'm upset, not angry. :(

skullomania2
skullomania2

Sorry I'm not paying 60.00 for a new Gears of war 3 DLC that should have came with the season pass anyway. Besides Epic is going to drop the game after a year like they did the last one. Oh and by the way all the main producers have already left and so have I.

Cobra_Choke
Cobra_Choke

THE SHIELD AND LANCER :D DAMN AMAZING !!!!!

big_bad_dad
big_bad_dad

looks like it has a lot of potential, gameplay seems to differ enough from gears 1-3 (there is more to games than just graphics people) and it seems to be very fast paced.  always been a gears fan, will be interesting to see how this one turns out.

BlueTurtz
BlueTurtz

The gameplay and graphics look EXACTLY like gears 3

anbreborges73
anbreborges73

the should bring back the ability to give orders to your partners like in the first game

anbreborges73
anbreborges73

big fucking game, fuck the haters, gears of wars judgement has better graphics than call of duty, the new storyline is cool makes us remaind of the first game, more weapons and more enemies.

gamerx100
gamerx100

so, this is like halo odst where you play as a different character in a different scenario but with no new storyline. sounds boring.

sonichunter99
sonichunter99

This is seriously the same shit from the last 3 games, but just added a score system and ripped off a Valve spawn system.

julianboxe
julianboxe

I love the first Gears of War. 

 

Theron Guards and boomers were hard, voice acting wasnt cheesy, the environment and color pallet were darker, and it had a feeling of a "guys-with-no-necks-kicking-ass" on an underground mission.

 

All that came past GW1 just became more and more hollywoodish.

 

dmdavenport
dmdavenport

Innovation would be unlocking the camera. This looks exactly the same.

cainetao11
cainetao11

strange how people are stating they want something different.  Games like Gears, God of War are always at their core the same. And I enjoy them

DEagle267
DEagle267

*Correction* ...every year since [05].

iempire68
iempire68

@Atheosis Yeah , good point! I do hope it adds some diversity though. To me it is a good game, but each one is a bit too similar from one to the next. Run, cover, shoot. Repeat.

JoshGill8
JoshGill8

@downwithfire See I find what you said funny because I LOVE Gears, but if I can't get to my friends to revive them they whine like girls. I thinks it's crazy how a series can be amazing with friends like you said, and without, which is how i prefer.

ZZoMBiE13
ZZoMBiE13

 @downwithfire I'm with you. Gears has always been a lot of fun. Horde mode has influenced every shooter that has come after it as well. That's says a lot right there. 

Solid gameplay, impressive graphics, nice array of weaponry, Gears is a great shooter. 

I guess if you're not into shooters I can see why someone wouldn't like it. But then why read an article about a premier shooter franchise if you're not interested in shooters to begin with? I don't care for sports games, so when articles about them show up I tend to pass. Seems simple really. 

wizardboyus
wizardboyus

 @Kunakai good to know that there are less and less suckers out there falling for the same rehashed bullshit year after year

y3ivan
y3ivan

 @Kunakai they very much into graphics fidelity & aesthetics (not in art form). Each Gears series adds another layer of improvements to the engine, from what i saw from gameplay, Epic did improve on UE3.6x 

jakybuddy
jakybuddy

 @skullomania2 

currency will be irrelevant come 12/21/12.... we will create things for love, not $$$

The_GooBear
The_GooBear

 @BlueTurtz There was hardly a leap between graphics or gameplay from Halo 2 to 3, and 2 was for the oldbox. That judgement's for the real fans, Chief

dark_rage864
dark_rage864

 @BlueTurtz idd though for gears, the limit is due to hardware, best wait for next-gen gears game with Unreal Engine 4 graphics ^^

tushwacker
tushwacker

 @julianboxe I couldn't agree more.. I was very disappointed with Gears of War 2 and I couldn't even bring myself to play 3.. expanding on what you said, not only did the series lose it's manly, dark edge after the first game, but it also lost most of the humorous moments that contrasted so well against the dark, ominous atmosphere. It's similar to how I feel about the Halo games actually. While I didn't hate Halo2 or 3, they also lost their perfect balance of humor, action, and atmosphere.

canderosn983
canderosn983

 @dmdavenport Yea it does look the same. I hope not. I just wish blood would splatter on your character. How can you chainsaw someone and no blood get on you? 

whackyq
whackyq

 @cainetao11

 Then why the misguiding title? It should be reversed, Gears Judgement fightning innovation with redundancy