Gears of War Judgment's delicious diced leftovers

Title Gears of War Judgment's delicious diced leftovers
Author Tom Chick
Posted in Game reviews
When March 21, 2013

Gears of War Judgment isn't a new game. It's a remix. And a pretty good remix that fits Gears of War like a glove..

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Here's the big question I have about this Gears release... Will they release Horde mode as paid DLC? I have this feeling they are trying to sell me a hamburger without the patty.

I suppose I'm having a 'Where's the beef' moment.

Gears of War Judgment better than Uncharted 3.... i lold hard

It has a horde mode already! It's called survival, I think. And there are only three maps, so I imagine the DLC will be more maps long before you get any new modes.

I get the impression that a lot of companies are burning off their remaining resources as they swap over to the next generation of consoles. (Which will require updated engines, higher quality modeling, textures, animations etc...) Why throw all that stuff out when you can just shove it out the door and make a few extra bucks off it?

Makes a lot of sense from a business perspective, just a shame that this iteration in a lot of IPs is kinda weak. (Gears of war, god of war, metal gear rising, DS3, my hopes are pretty low for AC4.) The ones that look pretty solid are the ones that are pretty obviously already built on technology that will work well on nextgen consoles. (Tomb Raider, Crysis 3)

Apparently there's some Left 4 Dead-esque dynamism to the campaign's encounters. Did you notice anything like that?

It's a shame that the d-pad system has been ditched - I always thought it was especially elegant in how it mirrored your avatar.

As near as I can tell it's like the new game plus mode in the latest Devil May Cry, where you get a randomized set of monsters when you replay a level. The Gears games never really hurt for replay value, particularly since you can drop bots into the multiplayer modes (thanks, Epic, for staying true to your Unreal roots!). That's certainly the case with Judgment as well.

Tom Chick! Big fan (except when we disagree). I co-wrote the script for GOJW, and am sorry you find Sofia cringeworthy. However, the line you call out is not in fact indicative of what you say it is. Sofia, at this point, is trying to cover up the fact that she and the (married) professor in question were once an item. She's dissembling, trying to explain why she has access to the man's lab. Later, when the squad needs access to the professor's house, she cops to their relationship a little more, and finally just admits that something happened between them. She also says she broke it off. We tried to make this whole subplot as elliptical as possible, honestly. Obviously, this kind of stuff is rather challenging to sneak into a game when you get no more than ten seconds' worth of expository downtime between the game's pretty harrowing combat set pieces. The subplot was also intended to crack the goody-goody A-plus-student facade Sofia projects early in the game. (Um, it was also intended to explain how the hell any of them would know how to get into a secret tunnel beneath the professor's house, which was a level design decision it fell to us to account for narratively.) Obviously, if you didn't dig it, you didn't dig it, but know that we very much wanted Sofia to be a tough, flawed, and real-seeming person, not a video-game love bunny. Cheers, and thanks for the review.

Aw, now I feel like a schmuck for skipping so many of the cutscenes. That's cool that you wrote them, Tom, but I'm not sure how I feel about you going over to the "dark side". :)

But doesn't the story make the usual mistake of defining Sofia by her sexuality when that's not a factor for the male characters in the Gears series? Isn't that just playing into the usual women-as-sex-objects role for women in so many videogames? Maybe I'm being unfair, and I don't want to come across as stridently white knighting on this issue. Gears is what it is, and Judgment isn't nearly as clunky for me as the usual Marcus Fenix stuff, so I have to give you credit for that. But I do wish that Sofia wasn't defined by who she was sleeping with.

At any rate, I really appreciate you dropping into the comments section to clarify.

skipping cutscenes, still reviewing the game. gtfo

you're talkin so much stuff thats not even true. there is no horde. there are 4 maps for survival. have you even playd the game?

My cowriter and I actually had a long talk about the whole defining-Sofia-by-sexuality issue. Like a long talk. We also had the very real problem of figuring out how to get them into the mansion's secret tunnel (ah, video-game storytelling), and Sofia (being from Halvo Bay, and a student at the Academy) was the best candidate. You can probably guess how we got to her adulterous affair from there. We both knew we'd run the risk of what you're saying the problem is, and said, "Fuck it, let's at least try to sneak as much everyday human messiness into the tiny story cracks we're given to fill." I guess I would say including Sofia's relationship doesn't feel to me like our attempt to define her, though I can see why it might seem that way. Please tell me you agree that we underplayed it? Because we tried to. (We actually tried to underplay all the story stuff, since the core design idea at the beginning of the game was that its story, its real story, should be the player's experience getting through the combat sections. Everything we did was just to provide drips of context and character here and there.) Anyway, with Sofia, tried to do something brief, haunting, character-ish. We hoped it would be affecting and interesting enough to annul the risk. And here we are. :)

Well, it's pretty clear that she's got something going with the professor. But I didn't come away with much of a sense for Sofia beyond "hot redheaded cadet". My original comment was that she didn't work on the missile because she was smart, but because she was fucking the professor. And I think it's really cool that you guys actually struggled with that.

As for Sofia -- or any of the other characters -- I don't blame you for any storytelling shortcomings so much as I blame Gears of War's gameplay for not being really interested in that sort of thing, unless its the earlier game holding forth with long ponderous scenes about Marcus Fenix and Dom. If that was the alternative, I think you guys did exactly the right thing.

You actually can't skip most of the cutscenes since they're covering for the loading. I know this firsthand.

You got me, gearsfan! I haven't even playd it. I did, however, read the box.

survival still is not the same as horde smartass

are you kiddin me? you said yourself that you skipped cutscenes? and you CAN skip the cutscenes about 1/3 through because loading is finished by then

Whole separate issue but it's a shame that 3/5 linearly translates to 60% on metacritic when I feel that's not what was meant. But such is life...

I didn't ding the story. I don't really care about it one way or the other. And I stand by what I wrote about Sofia, even though I appreciate Tom dropping in to explain his thought process as the writer.

In which case the dialogue plays over the gameplay anyway. Don't worry, I'm pretty sure I heard everything I needed to hear.