"Judgment is uneventful. It is a succession of disconnected rooms in which unremarkable firefights take place. We rarely even see our team moving from one area to the next; when a mission ends, we push a button, look over our scorecard, push another button, sit through a load screen, and find ourselves in the next area."
Gears of War: Judgment might – might – have been a worthwhile purchase if we still lived in an age in which the series' trademark brand of heavy, cover-based, shakycam-porn shooter combat wasn't mimicked by seemingly half of the games being released. Gears had its time in the sun, first when it was new and exciting, and then when it still did what it did better than anything else. But this is 2013. A third-person shooter feels archaic if it doesn't have a cover system and inadequate if it's not as good as Gears. Developers have had enough time to figure this stuff out by now, and even something cheap and slapdash like Inversion, when it's aping its source material, gets the basics right.
Judgment's big new feature is a three-star scoring system that factors headshots, executions, deaths, and every other facet of your performance into your end-of-level evaluations. It's a cool idea that makes the campaign tremendously replayable if you're the sort of person to replay a Gears game. Epic (working with People Can Fly, the team responsible for the excellent Bulletstorm) even thought to throw in optional Declassified missions, which place additional handicaps on the player – such as weapon restrictions or time limits – and award higher star ratings if completed. Perfectionists will get a lot of value out of Judgment.
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