Gears of War: Judgement Day
The Vegaa Man Studios Gamer Review Exclusive
Set fifteen years before the events of the first Gears of War "Judgement Day" is the purest first-hand experience at some of the turmoil taking place while Marcus Fenix was behind bars elsewhere. Having been captured and held for questioning you as the player are tasked with reliving the memories of four COG soldiers, two of which, being Cole and Baird, are household names in the Gears of War franchise. While few gamers may dismiss "Judgement Day" as a reskinned version of Gears of War, what gamers will get in return is a deep look at the events surrounding Gears of War 3 and what the end of the Pendulum Wars looked like right after the Locust army arrived. For the casual gamer, the mythology of the franchise may not play any significance to the player however, those who have been heavily invested in the lore of the game since the mid-2000s would greatly appreciate the journey. The hidden Easter egg at the end of the game's spin-off mode named “Aftermath” actually ties into the Gears of War 3 game. With Gears of War being a dominant gaming franchise for almost two decades now one would think the story behind such a popular brand would run out of aesthetic and momentum. However, what "Judgement Day" gets right is the world-building that slowly burns for years to come and bridges the gap in the world of Gears of War. While most spinoff games get lost in the hype of their cash grab micro transactional greed, "Judgement Day" only demands the classical blood, sweat, and tears of gaming progression to succeed further in the cosmetic ladder of the game itself.
While "Judgement Day" can be looked at as a cult classic all great gems have their pitfalls. Minor as they may be one of the cons faced with players of this game is the difficulty spike throughout its campaigns. Some key features and interfaces within "Judgement Day" are stripped to the bone in this installment in the Gears of War games. Rather than moving with your squad equipped with an arsenal suited for an Army of Two mercenaries you are instead restricted to a two-weapon minimum. At first, it doesn't feel like a distraction until running and gunning into reloading heaven becomes your epiphany while you and the game over screen become reoccurring neighbors. "Judgement Day" is a rare example of what happens when a dev sticks to their gut instincts, continuing their pilgrimage towards the video game hall of fame status.
As a gamer, I found myself frustrated at times while overcoming chaotic situations within the game's story mode and how easily the death mechanic seemed to be effortlessly programmed in the game's code. And concerning this, it wasn't until the end of my journey in the game's campaign that I was left with a lasting impression of feeling very astonished by the immersive game-play of "Judgement Day" and the fact it didn't hold back to show you all the turmoil the humans of the Gears of War universe had been enduring for decades. Casual gamers of the franchise might dismiss this game as a sleeper. However, be that as it may, "Judgement Day" is a game not only created for the Gears of War fan but a love letter to the die-hard fans of every title to come from the Gears of War name. Taking a look at the hierarchy of the Cogs and the narrative surrounding the supporting cast is a fitting touch to everything in the game's lore before Gears of War 4.