Gears of War: Judgement Hands On

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Last week during E3, I was able to get my hands on Gears of War: Judgement and I have to say, there are some great features in the latest iteration of the Gears of War multiplayer. The multiplayer is class based for both the COG and the Locust, with each character having special abilities which creates a balance for both sides. As we entered the theater, we were greeted by Rod Fergusson, director of production at Epic games, and told to watch a video overview of the new game mode called Overrun.

Our narrator for the video was the wise-cracking Baird, who introduced us to each class, new abilities, and what the objective was for the new mode. Players will have their choice of the four different classes for the COG; Scout, Medic, Engineer, and Soldier. For the Locust side, players will have their well-known characters such as the Ticker, Wretch, Kantus, Grenadier, Corpser, Bloodmount, Mauler, and Serapede. In the demo there was only one objective and the COG classes were permanently set for each station, but in the final game players will have the choice to play as any class they want. So, if you and your team want five soldiers or a mix of characters, it can be done. I was told that there will be more than one objective in the final game mode, but for the purposes of time, both teams were only going after the one objective, which was a generator.

So after the video overview of the new game mode was done, I ran over to the Scout station for COG so I could use the ability to climb towers and get a good sniping platform. The Scout class had a semi-automatic sniper rifle that had five bullets in the clip, which is great for support. The special grenade of the Scout has the ability to mark enemies in a given area and when highlighted will receive double damage from your teammates. The best way I can describe this grenade is very similar to the senor grenade from Ghost Recon Future Soldier. When thrown, the grenade will bloom in the area that it’s thrown and any enemy within the radius will be highlighted for your team.

The objective for each team is to either destroy the generator or defend the generator that is placed on the map. There are two rounds, one for offense and one for defense. To determine which team wins it is based on the completion of the objective and the time it takes. Working together with your team will accomplish more than trying to be a lone wolf, so teams who call out enemy locations, provide ammo boxes, and revive down teammates will have an advantage.

Finding a balance with the different classes is something that I can see working well if the team finds the strengths of each class and counteracts it to help each other to accomplish team goals. Having dedicated players take down fortification to open the path for bigger class players such as a mauler or soldiers will be beneficial to cause a great deal of damage to the objective. For the first time when playing as Locust players can team up with the bloodmount and ride them to deal more damage to the opposing team. So if the grenadier and the bloodmount ride together the grenadier will be able to throw grenades faster. There are other options such as if the Kantus rides a bloodmount that they can heal faster. So experiment with the different classes and see how they can work together to destroy the objective.

The game overall played faster than the traditional Gears of War multiplayer and I enjoyed the fact that the special grenades were replenished in intervals of a set time that was still being adjusted on the show floor. The one complaint that I had was the grenades felt a little heavy and using the precision throwing system had my grenades landing shorter than what I was anticipating. Since the game is still in development changes will be made before the final game is released, and Epic games was taking feedback on the floor. The one thing that concerns me with class-based multiplayer, especially dealing with objective based game modes is that teams will only pick one class or only play the game like team deathmatch and not go after the objective. Playing with friends and assigning roles will help find a great balance on each side when playing offense or defense.

I look forward to playing more of Gears of War: Judgement when it releases next year, but would like to open the floor to let us know what you think of the new game mode in the comments below or start a conversation at our new forums!

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