Preview: Gears of War: Judgment

Square

In June 2012, it was announced that development was underway on a prequel to the Gears of War series. Fast forward less than a year and Gears of War: Judgment is just days away from release. To generate even more excitement, the developers, Epic Games and People Can Fly, gave eager gamers who pre-ordered the title access to one of Gears of War: Judgment’s new game modes, OverRun.

The game mode sees COG soldiers and Locust take it in turn to defend a series of objectives, with the attacking team attempting to overcome a series of fortifications and the opposing team to destroy the three objectives. In the result of a tie at the end of the game, the team who attacked the objectives the quickest are crowned victorious.

While going in all guns blazing is a technique that more often than not works in third-person shooters, OverRun adds a strategic element through the player’s choice of COG or Locust.

Before players spawn or respawn, they have a choice of characters to play as. For COG, Engineers are able to deploy sentries and repair fortifications; Medics can heal and revive themselves and allies by deploying Strim-Gas Grenades; Scouts can access elevated sniping positions and reveal enemy locations by deploying Spot Grenades and Soldiers can deploy ammo for themselves and their allies.

Meanwhile the Locust is made up of two tiers. In the first tier, Tickers are quick, deadly and excel at destroying enemy fortifications; Wretches are melee attackers that can scream to stun nearby enemies and can clear barriers via their jump attack; Grenadiers wield a Lancer, Shotgun and Frag Grenades and the Kantus can chant to heal and revive allies from a distance.

The second tier of Locust costs points gained from killing enemies and destroying fortifications. The tier consists of the Rager – a ranged expert with a short temper; the Serapede which attacks with an electrified bite and can rear up and spit acid at the enemies; the Mauler – a walking siege creature with a powerful flail and the Corpser – the biggest melee creature with a fearsome crush attack.

As ever, players will soon adopt their favourites. However, a team that works together and uses each of the characters’ skills to the best of their ability can really benefit in the game mode.

The gameplay in Gears of War: Judgment remains almost identical to its predecessors; with players ducking and diving into cover by pressing the A button. However, returning players will have to adjust to the new controls. Y is now used to switch between weapons (previously the D-pad), with grenades now controlled using the left bumper. At first, it’ll take veterans some getting used to and it can be the crucial mistake on the battlefield, though it’s something they will adjust to in time.

Graphically, Gears of War: Judgement manages to recapture the same style that has been evident in the previous titles and the blood pouring out of enemies looks glorious in high definition. As for the audio, the epic, dark soundtrack makes a welcome return and is guaranteed to give players a shivers down their spines.

Overall, while OverRun isn’t a particularly new concept, its innovation makes it a solid game mode that will quickly become a firm favourite with gamers. With multiplayer playing a significant part in the Gears of War series, returning players will be delighted with the enhancements and, if OverRun is anything to go by, it’ll certainly be worth splashing out on the new title.

The demo is now available to download from the Xbox Live Marketplace. Gears of War: Judgment is released on March 22nd.