The lights are on
Today at PAX Prime 2012 in Seattle, I got to play Gears of War: Judgment’s new free-for-all mode. This is the first entry in the series that supports a FFA in multiplayer. The all-out battle was a tense ride, but the attendees of PAX scrubbed the floor with me.
The gameplay is identical to what we detailed in previous coverage of Gears of War: Judgment (check out our extensive online hub for exclusive online content). Weapon swapping is mapped to the Y-button, there is now an offhand grenade button, and the overall control scheme is more in tune with modern FPSs. The slightly snappier controls scheme allows players to make more on-the-fly combat decisions, which helps staying alive in FFA easier.
The map I played was a sprawling, elaborate library archiving COG history. Vast shelves of literature and twisting staircases make up the arena. The rows upon rows of books makes line-of-sight a problem, resulting in close-quarters combat. The shotgun or lancer chainsaw is a good bet for this map. Players can also vault over or walk off ledges in Judgment, lending new importance to the Y-axis. Enemies can vault over you and attack from behind in an instant. The result is a faster and more frantic version of competitive Gears multiplayer.
FFA mode is a huge change of pace from the Gears series’ traditional team-based multiplayer modes. With no teammates to resuscitate you, felled players are dealt a swift death. There’s no crawling along the floor while bleeding out here.
The overall gameplay is still much slower-paced and deliberate than the twitchy combat of Call of Duty or Halo. I had a hard time going toe-to-toe with the PAX attendees, and was routinely outmatched in any encounter. I’ll blame my penchant for Lancer chainsaw kills and poor use of roll-dodging. I earned my two precious kills with the shotgun, which is the perfect choice for the library’s cramped space.
Gears fans eager for a big shake-up to the series’ multiplayer formula should like FFA. Non-fans that have been previously turned off by the series’ sluggish gameplay won’t find anything new to love. I may be awful at it, but I’m glad to see FFA join the roster of exciting modes such as OverRun and the four-player co-op campaign. Gears of War: Judgment arrives on Xbox 360 March 19, 2013.
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At least it wasn't Cyberia.
It's also good to see that the environs are even more lush than GoW 3's as well...
As long as they have a tweaked horde mode I'll consider it
I would like to see a Bulletstorm sequel sometime in the future...
I hate Gears spawn system. What is the point of yelling "Reinforcements" ten seconds AFTER the enemy has spawned behind you. Then sometimes I barely spawn and a couple of seconds later the entire enemy team spawns in the exact same area. Gears also has too much weapon camping, they should increase weapon spawn times.
Both Horde and Beast modes worked well as Gears multiplayer styles. They utilized the natural gameplay mechanics and encouraged strategy rather than frenzy.
The typically slow and thought-out style of Gears doesn't seem to mesh with the hectic free-for-all style of combat, but I suppose it's worth a shot or two.
I'm more concerned with the campaign, personally. I'd like to see a backstory with a touch of depth so that the characters can really come alive. Then again, that's just me.
I'm actually looking forward to FFA. I usually play Gears solo and most of the time I run into 5 guys teaming together. Needless to say, I get steamrolled.
Love Gears 3's multiplayer, love what I'm hearing about Judgement.