I spent roughly an hour or 4-5 games playing Gears of War Judgment while I was at PAX Prime to give you guys a general idea of what to expect and my overall thoughts on the game. I want to start by saying I think the game is making a lot of changes that are really great for the franchise and that I think this game will be significantly more polished than Gears 3.
I don’t have too much faith that the rest of the community or at least the vocal minority will be able to come to grips with some of the changes being implemented in GoWJ. I will say however, if you are a competitive Gears of War player you should be very interested in a lot of these changes. All of this information has been cross-referenced with Epic for accuracy. I am explaining them through my own interpretation.
What I would like to know about is matchmaking and playlists which I didn’t get information on.
Retro Lancer/Sawed Off Return
I don’t particularly care for either weapon. If the Sawed-Off returns in a similar state as it is in Gears 3, I’ll be fine with it. The Retro doesn’t seem to bode well with a number of players. NONE of the weapons function in the same manner as previous Gears titles. Basically minor tweaks to each of the weapons in some form or another.
This is personally the weapon I dislike the most so I was hoping for some type of changes to recoil and the ability to fan the trigger at high speeds. From my experience at PAX it seems to function exactly the same as the previous two Gears titles. This means quick trigger fingers will dominate the field. Factually, there is more recoil than either Gears 2 or 3, but realistically it’s too minor to notice. Also worth noting that when aiming down the sights it no longer goes into first person, rather it gets slightly closer similar to Gears of War 2.
I thought the weapon felt good. It’s one shot to the head or 3 shots to the body for a kill. I thought the headshots kind of negated the use of a Longshot rifle, but the Breehshot isn’t as accurate long range. Verdict is out on it, I think the community will have more of an opinion after they get their hands on the game.
Has 3 shots. Saw people griping about the 7 shot Boomshot in a FFA video — it’s 3.
Straight up and to the point, this does NOT fit Gears of War. The stim shield is basically a power up that regenerates your health significantly faster than normal. This is not Quake or Unreal Tournament, that has to go.
DBNO (Down But Not Out) Removed on FFA
This seems like it would be an obvious decision. I think there are going to be some very unhappy campers should this make it’s way to other gametypes outside of FFA. I personally liked the decision on FFA because it feels natural for the gametype. I’m not sure what that means for the rest of the gametypes.
Speculation: I think DBNO will also be removed in TDM, King of the Hill and either Execution or Warzone. None of those gametypes have been confirmed.
Crosshair Visible during Hipfire
I have heard a lot of mixed feelings on this one, most of the negative discussion being from players that haven’t actually played the game yet. So let me go ahead and say, I didn’t even notice the crosshair while playing and when I did it was from the Breechshot because I had never seen its crosshair before. It had absolutely no affect on my gameplay. Now this could be because I have played Gears for 6 years, so I’m blind to the aiming reticule. This should be properly analyzed by someone that has little to no experience playing the game.
The reason this was added was not to make the game more accessible, but rather to make it more “consistent.” I’ve always been one to point out when I miss shots as opposed to blaming “sponging.” This is to assist players in the “I’m actually missing my shots,” category.
Control Scheme Changed
Yeah it’s definitely a different experience, mainly because Judgment is attempting to speed up gameplay while making it a less frustrating user experience. The two biggest changes with the control scheme are the grenade tosses and weapon switching. Grenades can now be thrown with the left bumper (LB) with a quick press which throws it overhand. It can also be thrown by holding the left bumper (HOLD LB) which will bring up the typical grenade toss we’re accustomed to seeing.
I found it odd that players are tossing grenades from their left hand (I’m right handed) and it’s thrown across the body so you’ll have to position yourself slightly to the left when throwing. I never really got it down because I didn’t play enough.
The other major change is that weapon switching is no longer controlled by the D-PAD….rejoice!!! Switching weapons is significantly faster so if you’re in the heat of a shotgun fight and you know your opponent is really close to dying but you’re out of ammo, you can very quickly switch to your secondary and put in some shots. D-PAD controls are also changed for HUD, but don’t really care to be honest.
Freedom of Movement (You Can Mantle Over Everything)
I don’t know how to categorize this other than you have the ability to drop off of nearly any ledge. There were a couple that I found that didn’t work, but yeah you can fall off of a building. There are almost no edges on the map that can’t be used to drop to a lower position on the map (as long as your not on the lowest level). You do take fall damage, so if you’re about to die and you decide to hop off of a ledge you may die.
I’m not sure how people will perceive this change, but it certainly changes the approach towards maps. I found myself using pathways and routes that I would not have thought about before in a Gears game. I thought it was quite fitting for Free-For-All.
Mantle Kick Under Review (Currently In the Game)
We’re all well aware that the mantle kick is fairly inconsistent, so is Epic. It’s currently in Gears Judgment but it’s under review.
Wave Respawn Removed
WIN. Wave Respawning was one of the most frustrating aspects of Gears of War 2 and 3. I believed it was removed for consistency purposes on gametypes like FFA and I believe King of the Hill. For those unfamiliar or that don’t quite understand the “consistency” factor think of a game of King of the Hill (on Gears 3). There is a chance that you could die and respawn anywhere between 17 seconds – 1 second, depending on the respawn timer.
Now that it’s currently removed with Gears Judgment. We could be looking at a very consistent respawn times from the point that you die, to the point that you respawn which should vastly improve gameplay balance.
Stopping Power Removed
WIN. This was changed for consistency purposes. I’ve explained the reasons behind stopping power’s importance in Gears of War. This will definitely widen the skill gap.
No Longer Wall Tag Grenades
WIN. Those frag-tagging campers now have to earn those kills.
Frag Grenade Blast Radius and Damage Reduction
WIN. Couple this with the no wall tagging and grenades are now pretty cool. Players will need to throw a grenade and stick someone or have them damaged and chuck a grenade that finishes them off. Seems like it takes two well placed grenades to get a kill or one directly underneath the feet.
Ink Grenades No Longer Stun
WIN. This was changed for consistency. You know that time when you feel like you rolled that ink, but you get stunned anyway? Gone.
Faster Weapon Pickups
WIN. For no other reason than it picks up the pace of the game. It’s so fast in fact, that I literally did not think I picked up a weapon a couple times.