Reviewed On: Xbox 360

Available For: Xbox 360

Publisher: Microsoft

Developer: People Can Fly

Genre: Third-Person Shooter

Age: 18 (PEGI)

Price: Price

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Taking place 14 years before the original Gears of War, Judgement is set during emergence day and follows various members of the Kilo team and the events surrounding Earth's invasion of the Locust. Each chapter tells a different account, as up to four players begin the epic war we've become familiar with over the years.

There aren't the huge set-pieces to make your eyes bulge, your heart race, and your hair stand on end. With a greater variety of enemies often approaching at once, players can't hold their ground quite so well and so there's a greater need to push on more aggressively. The pace has changed considerably.

After around six hours of non-stop action, players will see end credits rolling, but will be rewarded with Aftermath - an extra campaign which last around two hours. This takes place during the campaign of Gears of War 3, and helps to pad out the campaign experience.

To add further substance to the main campaign, Declassified missions add extra objectives and challenges along the way. Players who complete these are rewarded with a greater completion score. From time-trials to the obscuring of sight from smoke grenades - the objectives are fun and intuitive.

The thing veterans will love is the fact familiar places can be seen before the Locust Horde has turned them into war-ravaged battlegrounds. It's fan-porn for those who have been here before - meaningless to newcomers.

Multiplayer sees a couple of changes in gameplay modes. Survival, replaces the Horde mode, and although it only reaches level ten, newly added character classes provide extra depth. It takes a great deal of tactics and prior-preparation to ensure a varied team can make a defensive stand against the computer controlled Locust waves.

Instead of Beast mode, there's now Overrun. A human controlled five-one-five skirmish, with the Locust team required to smash the COG base to smithereens. The COG team are obviously tasked in thwarting them in their efforts.

All the other usual competitive multiplayer modes are present, and although it's a blow to lose the longer lasting Horde mode, Survival mode makes it more accessible for a quick dip.

Despite being wonderful, the single-player pace has changed far too radically, it's also a little on the short side. Declassified works hard to remedy the length, and provide unique challenges, but there's still something which separates it from the perfection of its predecessors. Multiplayer is also fantastic, but there really was no reason to change Horde mode.

So all-in-all, it's another superb Gears of War game; even if its radical changes make it the weakest chink in the COG armour so far.


SCORE: 8 / 10

PROS: It's fast paced.

CONS: It's maybe a little too aggressively paced for a Gears game.