Back in 2006 the original Gears Of War was generally considered ground breaking, I still recall seeing it running for the first time and being wowed by how amazing it looked. But that was 6 1/2 years ago and by today's standards I have to say it just looks rather average. Gears Of War Judgment however looks and sounds as good as anything I have seen on the aging Xbox 360 and whilst it may not bowl people over in the way the original game may have done there is certainly nothing to complain about here.
When I first began playing this game I must admit I was far from impressed, I struggled to re-programme my brain for the all new button layout and did not do very well at it at all. The main difference is with the weapon switching, this is now carried out by means of the 'Y' button, whilst throwing the likes of grenades is now done by pressing 'LB'. After a few games something clicked, these are pretty much Call Of Duty controls. Forget the fiddling about on the D-Pad from the previous Gears Of War titles, this just needs to be played like Call Of Duty! Once I did this I started to not only play better but actually enjoy the game quite a bit more than I had initially. The other really noticeable difference is with the games speed, it's just so much faster than previous Gears Of War titles. It's basically still the same old run, get to cover, shoot... mechanics that I expected it just felt rather strange playing this at what initially felt like warp speed. Again after around half an hours gameplay it actually started to feel normal and this definitely increased my enjoyment of playing this title. One change I felt was definitely for the better is that the resupplying of ammo is now done by simply running through any deployed boxes. No longer do you have to hold down the 'X' button to restock, this just seems to slot in really nicely with the new super speedy gameplay.
There are a selection of classes available when playing this game and you do get the opportunity to change every time you respawn. This can be incredibly useful as each class has different strengths and weaknesses and depending on how the game is going you may wish to switch. For example Engineers can repair damaged barricades and deploy automatic Sentry Guns, Scouts can access high observation points (inaccessible to other class players) and deploy beacons which give away enemy positions while Soldiers have increased firepower and the ability to deploy ammo boxes to teammates. This in theory works very well but more often than not I found myself on teams where everyone was off doing their own thing and we usually ended up getting thrashed by a more organised team. Perhaps when the full game is released and you can hook up with players you know this may become less of an issue? The other thing I felt was that the game is generally more fun to play as a locust than as a COG. As you rack up points playing as a locust you get the opportunity to upgrade to more powerful creatures, most of which are a real blast. The Serapede in particular is awesome, you get to control a massive electrifying, acid spewing centipede thing which really is a tremendous amount of fun. In the Overrun mode playable in this multiplayer demo you do get to play on both sides in any one match so in that respect I suppose that aspect is fairly balanced.
There are weapons new to the series which is nothing less than I expected to be honest. For example the Markza is a semi automatic sniper rifle which is very effective at long distances while the Booshka is a 3 round firing grenade launcher capable of inflicting a serious amount of damage in a short space of time. Each class of player is given a designated loadout which prevents any particular players selecting armoury which could give them something of an unfair advantage. On the locust side each creature also has different strengths and weakness, for example The Rager has spikes which shoot out from its body before charging at high speed while The Wretch can leap over barricades and climb certain buildings to take out COG Scouts. There is probably nothing here that you haven't already seen somewhere else before but it all seems to be reasonably well thought out and it did make me start to think strategically about my choice of player depending on what was going on in the match. This is not something that I had ever found myself doing in any previous Gears Of War title.
So is Gears Of War Judgment going to be worth £40 of your hard earned cash? Well, at first I was far from convinced but after a couple of hours gameplay I have to say that it has grown on me immensely. Although I tend to think the new ideas introduced here could possibly split the Gears Of War fanbase in a similar way that Treyarch's Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 seems to have done with fans of that series. Yes, it's still the same old Gears Of War to a very large degree and watching this game in action it would appear like simply like being more of the same, however I have to say it just feels quite different to play. I would imagine that whether or not you like this difference will be purely down to personal preference. Apparently the finished game will have Call Of Duty favourites Free For All, Team Deathmatch & Domination modes to fit in nicely with the games Call Of Duty like control system, think we can guess which market that Epic Games think this game is going to be squarely aimed at! I would not blindly recommend this game to anyone, unless of course that they are such a die hard Gears Of War fan that there's simply no way they are not going to love it. What I would suggest is that anyone remotely interested in this title should check out this multiplayer demo when it goes public at the beginning of this week and give it a good hour or so before jumping to any conclusions. After giving this Gears Of War Judgment demo something of a decent testing I am happy to say that I am more than pleasantly surprised with the job People Can Fly have done. Hopefully this opportunity will put this somewhat underrated developer firmly on the gaming map and then one day we may just get another Bulletstorm game?
I have played so much Gears of War 2 (and still play it as my most played MP game nearly every day) that I have a total of over 90000 online kills, mostly in guardian. But when I played Gears of War 3 I just didn't like it much, I gave it a good 3 months and played it a lot with friends but we all came to the agreement that whilst there were less bugs and lag than in GOW 2 we just didn't like the gameplay as much as in the first two. Personally the reason for this was because of the increased damage that all of the guns do and the increased speed of gameplay. It took out quite a lot of the fun for me as it just became another generic shooter where you can kill everyone really quickly. That was the main reason I loved GOW in the first place, the fact that you had a hell of a lot of health and that you didn't die within the first 3 bullets.
The same is true in Judgement for me but in a more amplified way, you take even more damage from guns and the gameplay is even faster, so its just even further from what I loved about the first two games. I didn't get time to play the campaign and I may buy the game for cheap just to play the campaign but I can't justify paying a lot of money for a game just for the campaign when I know that the campaign won't take me more than 10 hours.
Think I'm just going to concentrate on multiplayer and then go through all the GOW games to complete single player.
I don't think I've ever played any demo as much as I have this one. I now have 2 pre-order DLC characters, hammerburst rifle and a season pass already added to my gamertag. Our post still not working due to weather conditions (which are pretty bad TBH) so still no game.
Was supposed to be going to see Chris Addison tonight but that's been cancelled due to the weather as well, been a pretty rubbish weekend so far :(
Every corner becomes a potential "mad-zone".
Hehe ... they're coming to take me away, away ;¬)
Just read there are going to be 5 additional DLC packs for the console versions, seems quite a lot as there seems to be a fair bit of content included in the game to start with.
Watched a bit of the CVG LivePlay feed of the Xbox 360 version in action and liked the look of what I saw. Doesn't look quite as OTT as Bulletstorm but then again what is?
As for OTT...
550 enemy monks in one room, you with a chaingun and you have to clear 'em all before you can move on...
I did that part in less than 3 minutes.
It's not an end of level thing, it's not a cop- out boss level, it's simply one room in a game that entirely revolves around adrenaline. Sure, there are areas that require somewhat less than that, but there are also areas that require more. Honestly, it's the quiet bits that worry you the most when you're playing, especially once the paranoia sets in! Every corner becomes a potential "mad-zone".
I've enjoyed what I've played so far. No one else seemed to play as the medic, so I took it upon myself and actually enjoyed it.
As I mentioned it seems to be quite rare to see people actually working together as a team (seems that way on the demo anyway), most just seem to go off and do their own thing. You're right the medic is an extremely useful and quite fun character, especially towards the end of a match when all players are usually centered around the base......yet hardly anyone bothers to play as her?
We've had about 5/6 inches of snow here overnight, think North Wales must have been one of the worst hit areas. Schools closed, public transport not running and no sign of a postman either which means zero chance of getting my Gears Of War today (and maybe this weekend) :(