By Joseph Leray
Members of GameStop’s PowerUp Rewards system who pre-order “Gears of War: Judgment” will be given access to the game’s multiplayer demo three days early. The demo will consist of “Overrun,” one of “Judgment”’s new class-based multiplayer modes. “Overrun” pits two teams of five against each other -- the human COG forces must defend a generator against a team of Locust.
The demo will be available for everyone when “Judgment” is released on March 19, but those who pre-order through GameStop can start playing as early as Saturday, the 16th. Any experience points earned will be carried over into the main game, if the player buys a new, retail copy in the game’s first week of launch.
Other GameStop-specific pre-order bonuses include a Young Marcus skin, which shows off the game’s iconic protagonist as he was on Emergence Day, and a Lambent weapon skin. All pre-orders will include the classic Hammerburst weapon.
I like the fact that any XP earned will carry over to the main game, even if it’s one-week purchasing window seems a little harsh. I really enjoyed playing the “Gears of War 3” multiplayer beta, but it was frustrating to know that I’d have to re-do a lot of the work in the final retail build.
However, it’s a shame to see that pre-order bloat continues on unabated. Pre-order bonuses range from fun to simply unoffensive. Retailer-specific bonuses are annoying, though, and this one seems to up the ante -- not only is the multiplayer demo exclusive to GameStop, you’ll have to sign up for their PowerUp Rewards program to boot. It’s free and all, but it’s just one more step between me and cutting a Locust in half with a chainsaw bayonet as soon as possible.