I spent a couple of hours with Gears Of War: Judgement before its release -- I played a single player mission and then I hopped into the new co-operative mode. For the first time since playing the Gears Of War series, I remember distinctly feeling as though I was playing in auto-pilot, and that made me feel a little bit sad.
It's not because Gears of War: Judgement doesn't add fresh mechanics, or doesn't push the series in new, meaningful directions -- because it does -- it's simply fatigue. It's easy to forget that, upon its initial release, just how original Gears of War felt. The bumper reload mechanic, the cover system -- many of the things we now take for granted in third person shooters actually originated, or at least was popularised, by Gears of War.
But that's the problem -- we now take it for granted.
So after years of playing Gears of War sequels or Gears of War derivatives, it's hard to get excited about a new game that never really feels like a genuine 'proper' move forward for the franchise. Gears of War: Judgement is clearly a spin-off, and while it does interesting things with storytelling and unreliable narration and what not, it's difficult to shake that feeling.
I think that's my problem with Judgement. It's a great game, well put together and reasonably innovative, but at this stage it feels like a dead concept and it's difficult to justify investing time or money in. And, again, that makes me feel a little sad.
What are your thoughts? How are you guys and girls finding Gears of War: Judgement? Let us know in the comments below.