Gears of War: Judgment is a decent prequel title to the original Gears of War franchise, and serves to go in-depth with Kilo Squad on Emergence Day. The gameplay structure is definitely more different than immersive combat qualities, but there still remains a Gears of War feel to this new style of shooter.
Damon Baird was a lieutenant in Kilo Squad, and before Emergence Day, he sees the Locust-ravaged damage in Halvo Bay. Augustus “The Cole Train” Cole, Sophia, and Paduk join the Kilo Squad in terms of recounting events for a court-room where the whole squad is accused of treason. Sophia is an Onyx guard recruit that is to the letter in terms of protocol, while Paduk is a former COG enemy that has been confined to fight Locust to make up for his ant-COG rebellion. The storyline narrative is decidedly interrupted and lackluster. While some fans of flashback galore may appreciate this, the general masses will find this to be a narrative transmutation of sorts in terms of the action pacing the gameplay sets for itself. So many characters are involved, but a new shell of Damon Baird recounts the stories and he is not as humorous as his private counterpart in Delta Squad. Things are more serious, and it is a different side to a character that has always been somewhat of a wild horse. The fragmented mission structure does not do much in the way of actual cohesive storytelling. Despite this, the narrative adds a colorful effect in terms of adding real-time shifting modifiers to the gameplay which is always nice. If one of the squad members mentions they were desperate for ammo, the ammo count becomes depleted to a point. While this does not bode well for realism, it does add something different but not necessarily always welcoming.
The gameplay in single-player and multiplayer are relatively the same in regards to the run-and-gun shooting. The single-player set pieces focus more on action through modifier challenges which wane from the storyline and boss battles which are decent but under deliver. Fortunately, the brutal and tense combat continues to thrive in both competitive and cooperative environments. Team Deathmatch is still a classical addition while Free for All and Domination are the new competitive game modes. Competitive gameplay is decent with Gears of War: Judgment and never feels tacky. The cooperative side adds a Survival mode which places you to control 3 essential points against a swarm of 10 Locust enemies. While it is similar to the Horde mode from previous titles, Survival does not allow fort construction but only repairs. One of the four new class is the Engineer which can repair forts, deploy turrets, and more to increase combat visibility. Overrun mode is similar to Survival but Locusts are controlled by other human players.
Gears of War: Judgment gives players a different view into the Gears universe, but it feels like a shadow of its former titles. Admittedly a prequel, it does not necessarily dictate the title will be worse by nature. Gears of War: Judgment does some things right and a few things wrong on all fronts. Multiplayer is and the complete gameplay package feel decent but sadly not for the MSRP of $59.99. But if you are a hardcore Gears fan, then you will like this title a bit despite any disappointments.