Archive for Epic Games

Gears of War Judgment

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2013 by caseystorton

Image-After I was sufficiently disappointed with the way Gears of War 3 turned out, I was pretty apprehensive about how Judgment was supposed to work, especially with it being a prequel that basically spoils its own ending to anyone that remembers a few minor details from any of the first three games. That said, I had some time and disposable income last week, so I found it for $40 and gave it a whirl.

-Our story follows the previously unseen Kilo Squad, led by Lieutenant Damon Baird, the whiny engineer guy from the other games. And there’s your spoiler right there. The story sees Baird being accused of war crimes, and his current rank of Lieutenant puts him above Sergeant Marcus Fenix, the guy that he had to take orders from in previous games. Anyway, the rest of the squad consists of Cole, sadly much more quiet and less funny than before, and newcomers Paduk and Sofia, respectively a former member of an anti-COG resistance army that’s joined them for the sake of killing the Locust, and a new recruit to some kind of COG special forces, who also serves as further proof that for all their silly macho-man heroics flying everywhere, Epic Games is surprisingly competent when it comes to writing female characters. For a prequel that any series veteran with half a brain already has figured out, Judgment manages to achieve a decent level of engagement with its plot, as the writers wisely made sure that the final verdict of the war crimes tribunal is far from the only thing that we need to concern ourselves with.

Image-As for the gameplay, Judgment sticks to the tried-and-true formula of previous games.  It’s a third-person shooter with emphasis on using the game’s cover system to avoid the worst of the punishment being doled out by the Locust. Every new installment has brought with it new weapons and enemy types, and with this being a prequel, they actually justify the new stuff by saying the new stuff is left over from the UIR, the army that Paduk used to serve. Unlike Gears 3, however, the new weapons are actually really good, with a new kind of sniper rifle, a bolt-action rifile of sorts, a semi-automatic redesign of the Hammerburst, and a new grenade launcher. The fact that every one of these guns had me excited whenever I found them already puts them way ahead of the disappointments that came with Gears 3. In addition, new “Declassified Missions” have been added in campaign. They’re basically optional objectives that make the game a little harder in exchange for a higher yield of experience that can be used to unlock new modes and multiplayer characters.

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-The competitive multiplayer is relatively standard stuff. Playing Free for all mode is a bit of a joke, since the weapon system basically forces everyone to use the shotgun, but other modes allow more flexibility, and are actually pretty fun. It’s nothing too revolutionary, but fun nonetheless. On the co-op front, the entire campaign can be played with up to 4 people, and there are a couple new variants on the Gears mainstay Hoard mode to keep things feeling fresh.

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-Overall, Gears of War Judgment is a fun little game from a franchise that has lasted much longer than I thought it would. It’s hardly a masterpiece, but it’s a fun time with some badass guns and interesting enemies. 84/100

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Gears of War 3

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2012 by caseystorton

-I bought this several months ago when it first came out, and I actually played it for a while before I got side-tracked and left it unfinished on my shelf until today. I’d felt like I had enjoyed my time with it at first, but it’s about time that I gave this game a full review.

-We start off with a flashback of Marcus and Dom trying to save Marcus’s dad way back when. Cut to n0w where we see that most of what remains of the COG is living at sea on a giant boat in order to try waiting out the war with the Locust and the Lambent. Before we continue, quick recap of the first two games. In Gears 1, a bunch of weird creatures called the Locust Horde come up from underground on a planet called Sera. A military organization known as the COG detonates some sort of bomb in their underground home that seems to kills most if not all of the Locust. In Gears 2, we see that the bomb didn’t kill all of the Locusts and that a new threat has risen in the form of some sort of infection known as Imulsion is beginning to spread among the Locusts. We then proceed to kill pretty much all of the Locust again. Now in Gears 3, we are somehow still losing this war despite the humans’ vastly superior performance on the battlefield. Also, we get a message from Marcus’s dad who he thought was dead, who tells the Gears that he has a convenient machine type thing that can kill off all of the Locust and Lambent everywhere on Sera and that for some reason that either wasn’t explained, I forgot several months ago, or both, he needs the Gears to come there before he can deploy it. At the risk of sounding like an idiot, this story blows. Seriously, it’s a bunch of stupid contrivances that make for a nonsensical story-line that works perfectly well as long as you don’t read into it AT ALL.

-Basically, the gameplay has stayed the same from the first two games in the series, with the emphasis on effectively taking cover to avoid taking too much damage from enemies. There are a few new guns and a new grenade type to go with the new enemy Lambent, but there really isn’t much to affect gameplay except for a couple of Lambent enemy types that die quickly but attack in swarms, making the game feel a bit reminiscent of Left 4 Dead.

-A very random thought came to me as I was playing through the last few chapters of Gears 3 earlier today, this game totally follows the “trilogy rules” that were established in Scream 3. The final boss is pretty crazy, and needed to be blown up. We find out something new about an event from the first game, i.e. that Marcus’s dad knew the locust queen before the invasion  and that the Lambent are actually what forced the Locust out of their hole. I have to interupt myself and give a bit of warning. I’m spoiling some stuff. I don’t like spoilers anywhere, but I don’t think it matters much in this case. Anyone that gave a shit about this game beat it seven months ago, and anyone that hasn’t yet never will. So yeah, the other trilogy rule is that any character can die. In this case, the partner from the beginning, Dom, has a very contrived “honorable sacrifice” death around halfway through the campaign, and Marcus’s dad died as a result of him testing the machine thing on himself, which made it kill him because all of his cells were Lambent, but he wasn’t all infected looking… because? Oh, I don’t care.

-I have to admit that Gears of War 3 was still pretty fun, but maybe I was just trying too hard to like it. The more I think about it, the more I find problems. The biggest problem that I came up with today was the lack of color. This may sound like nitpicking, as I’ve said that I only talk about bad visuals when they interfere with gameplay, but some parts are so dark that I had to turn the brightness WAY up on my TV just to be able to see anything. And even after that the graphics are such a murky mess that enemies became hard to see until they were either right up in your face or shooting at you continuously. This isn’t just a problem with Epic Games, either, Bulletstorm had some beautifully detailed and colorful environments with very distinct scenery and enemies that were easy to see. There’s even a part in Gears 3 where you’re outside in the sunshine and the game still looks like a murky cluster-fuck of walls and debris.

-Anyway, on to multiplayer. There are plenty of different modes, such as deathmatch, capture the flag, ect. My biggest problem with competitive multiplayer is the lack of choice that you have as a player. Sure, the game has plenty of weapons for you to pick from, but good luck killing anyone with anything other than the shotgun. Still, I appreciate a modern multiplayer game that doesn’t feel like it needs kill streaks, classes, ect. to be fun. There’s Horde mode, returning from Gears 2 as the game’s biggest form of staying power, this time with the addition of earning points to buy guns, ammo, turrets, barricades, ect. to help you out as the waves get tougher and tougher. It’s a fun little diversion, but you really need some friends to stand much of a chance at it. Finally, there’s Beast Mode, a sort-of anit-horde mode where you take control of the Locust and attack some AI controlled human characters. It’s a neat idea, but the first few characters that you get suck ass, requiring you to grind the first few waves for a while to get points and buy better characters, which is something that I absolutely will not stand for.

-Overall, Gears of War 3 sucks. Yeah, I said it. The gameplay is alright, I guess, but the weak story, pointless extras, and lazy execution earn this one my personal dissaproval. Hardcore fans may forgive its issues, but there’s no denying the stupidity of the game as a whole. 4/10

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