After finally beating GeoW: Judgment, I felt like sharing some impressions about this game, guys.
And by the looks of it, it is almost forgotten. There's one guy playing it on my region, and 123 playing it through the world. The numbers, in comparison with the people playing Gears 3 (which I think it is still in the top 10 most played game on Xbox Live), are underwhelming. Anytime someone mentioned this game in this site, inmediately apologized for it: the general consensus is that the game is bad. Bad as in, a Gears game. We went from a 91 in metacritic with Gears 3, to a 79 with Judgment. Not that I care much about Metacritic, but I know some people here do.
How was the game itself? (Slight to medium spoilers ahead, be careful)
The story is strange. Set before the events of Gears 1 (Set even before Marcus was sent to prison for helping his father), we're facing a very young Baird and Cole, alongside with two "new" faces (one of them was already in the Gears 3 DLC): Sofía and Paduk, who (the four of them) are held in trial for war crimes. Loomis, the apparently top-ranked captain on the COG in Halvo City, will be the judge. And so, the game begins by Baird telling what happened to the four of them and why they did what they did.
Now this is an interesting take...if it wasn't so damn random. There are soldiers fighting outside the court, defending with their lives a trial that could totally be posponed to when things were a bit safer. Loomis be damned, was this really necessary?
When your character is telling the story, you play as him through the event. We eventually end up playing as the four characters, before going to the present. There's also the "Declassified" logos all over each chapter, on which the difficulty spikes up if you decide to take up the challenge proposed. If you do, the character makes a remark about whatever the extra thing you have to do. This add nothing to the story, but do certainly give a bit of variety to the game.
And regarding the gameplay...well, this ain't Gears. Judgment campaing is soooo arcade-based, it detracts from the overall enjoyement. You're constantly reminded how well you performed through chapters that last from five to twenty minutes. "Here, look, you got three stars". Fuck that. Let me enjoy the game, tell me how I performed when I finish it! On a technical level, this is Gears allright. The cover-base mechanic, the gunplay and all that, it is Gears. Though there are some modifications to the original formula, like throwing grenades with one button, or swapping weapons by pressing Y.
Really, was there any need to force the arcade onto the player? Gears 3 featured an arcade based campaing, but it was entirely optional.
The multiplayer section is strange as well. Humans vs Humans is an atrocious entry. Were are the locust? Was it that difficult to make? Oh, and for Christ's sake, the CUSTOMIZATION IS HORRIBLE. Customization you say? You have like 10 characters to choose from (Gears 3 had around 40-50), and even then, the skins and add-ons are fairly rare. Especially when there are like 20 skins for microtransactions, that cost 4 DOLLARS PER SKIN. Very, very light on content. Few maps. Few modes. But Overrun is awesome, and it is a shame that it underperformed, because it is a blast to play with people. The only thing that kept me coming back to Judgment, Overrun. Wish they patched Gears 3 and added that mode into the game.
Though, if you want 1 vs 1 with a buddy in splitscreen, this is the best Gears to do so. You still have a fairly amount of content to have enjoyement in co-op.
Now...there's just one thing. One thing tucked away into the depths of Judgment, that required you to obtain 40 stars into the horrible arcade campaing: Aftermath. An extra campaing (too bad it is short) that takes place during the events of Gears of War 3. Not only this is totally story-driven (no more fucking arcade here), it feels like a totally different dev developed this section. It is by far the best thing Judgment has to offer. A side story to the events of Geow3 that respectfully let the player progress without forcing anything onto him (I was particulary impressed with the degree of exploration you have in this mode here, since it is not entirely lineal). It is a shame that such display is not only locked at first, but also underutilized. I was sad that Aftermath ends way too quick, when Judgment campaing was fairly large (15 hours or so). Oh, well.
I don't like giving scores, but I feel like somewhere around a 7 is perfect. An 8 - solid - is too generous, and a six - merely good - is underrating it a bit. Not the best Gear game, and certainly can feel like a slap to the face to a Gears fan. But then there are redeeming qualities to be found here, and as a third person shooter in general it is great; and anyone that keeps thinking this game is trash without playing it (I won't judge you if you think the game is trash after you have played it, heh) should give it a chance.
For the tl;dr people, you've missed your chance of sleeping with me ;)