by Joseph Leray

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[This is a thorough runthrough of the campaign portion for "Gears of War: Judgment." Stay tuned as we'll be covering the multiplayer side of "Judgment" later!]

Gears of War” has always felt heavy.

Soldiers slam into cover, carried by the momentum of their weighty armor. Bodies explode in huge, chunky bits when tagged with a frag grenade, and the sawed-off shotgun kicks mightily when fired, more like a turn-of-the-century blunderbuss than the lightweight lasers that so frequently arm the heroes of other science fiction. The way Damon Baird clean-and-jerks the Mulcher onto a piece of waist-high concrete -- giving the Gatling Gun a little heave as he spins to face whatever oncoming monstrosity has crawled from the ground -- makes me feel tired.

At one point near the end of “Gears of War: Judgment,” the normally rambunctious Augustus Cole remarks that he’s running out of energy, that he can’t take much more abuse from the Locust storm troopers. The same might be said for the series as a whole: humankind’s inexorable march to victory over the enemy Locust reached its apex in “Gears of War 3,” and there’s nothing left to do but lay down one’s burdens.

It’s no coincidence that “Judgment” feels so stripped down, then. The heavy machinery of “Gears of War” has been dismantled and reconstructed by developers People Can Fly into something lighter, sleeker, more efficient, and more principled.
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By Joseph Leray

In some ways, it will be a relief when March 19 rolls around, when Epic Games and People Can Fly finally release “Gears of War: Judgment.” We’ve seen trailers for the campaign and the multiplayer, and had the development team walk us through this prequel’s connection to the main trilogy. We’ve covered it’s pre-order bonuses, even the ones that skirt a little too close to pay-to-win monetization for my tastes.
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Hardcore Gears fans will be rewarded with an extra campaign with the prequel provided they earn the highest ranks in the main story.
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By Joseph Leray

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“Gears of War: Judgment,” the People Can Fly-developed follow-up to the long-running active-reloading sim, will have a Season Pass, according to Epic Games. The pass will cost 1600 Microsoft Points ($19.99) and give players access to at least two unannounced packs of post-launch content.

While details are scarce, the two DLC packs covered by the Season Pass include six multiplayer maps and two new modes, as well as some weapon and armor skins to customize your in-game Locust-slaughtering golem. According to Epic, buying a Season Pass gets you a 20% discount compared to buying each add-on individually, as well as early access to new multiplayer maps.
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By Joseph Leray

Microsoft has promised “vigorous action” against users pirating Epic Games’ and People Can Fly’s upcoming “Gears of War: Judgment,” after copies of the game started appearing on torrent sites -- the most popular of which has over 1600 leechers now. The problem is that “Judgment” isn’t due for release for another month.

According to a Microsoft rep speaking to Eurogamer, the company is aware of the illegal torrents and is investigating the source of the leak with their security teams and law enforcement. Microsoft is hoping to “address the situation immediately,” which means, if previous leaks are any indication, console bans for anyone caught playing “Judgment” early.
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By Joseph Leray

When “Gears of War: Judgment” launches next month, it will do so with a raft of pre-order bonuses. Everyone who pre-order’s Epic’s newest People Can Fly-developed active-reloading sim will receive a token to download the original “Gears of War,” as well as the Classic Hammerburst rifle for use in multiplayer and four character skins.
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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.
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Jonesing for more chainsaw-gun action? Then check out the above video detailing the latest in Xbox's bloodiest exclusive. The good devs at People Can Fly are hoping to breath a little more life out of the meat-grindiest of 3rd person shooters with a unique tale starring the blonde, punching bag engineer Baird and his involvement with Kilo Squad. Also, it's a prequel taking place around after E-day but before Baird joins up with Marcus, Dom, and the rest.

As PCF takes over the reigns, they're injecting more than a little bit of their flavor to keep vertern players and newbies on their toes. With a somewhat arcade feeling to the traditional grim, methodical pacing of the first three, "Judgment" seems to have enough to want to merit an all new entry.
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