THE GEARS OF WAR SERIES wrapped up its main plot last year with the release of Gears of War 3, which ended the tale of protagonist Marcus Fenix and his war against the Locusts.
However, unable to resist the chance to get a little bit more cash out of the franchise, Epic Games soon revealed plans to continue the series with Gears of War: Judgement.
Rather than starting a new story, Gears of War: Judgement takes a step back, telling the tale of series veteran Damon Baird and Kilo squad during Emergence Day.
In the game Damon Baird acts as squad leader, ably backed up by his constant companion Augustus "The Cole Train" Cole and series newcomers Sofia Hendricks and Garron Paduk.
For those unfamiliar with the Gears of War world, Emergence Day was the day that the war started and the evil subterranean Locusts invaded. This means that the game's primary plot is set during humanity's peak when it was the dominant species on fictional planet Sera.
In keeping with this, the two single player levels were visually very different in design to previous Gears of War titles. Rather than being surrounded by ruined cities or desolate overgrown countryside, the environments in Gears of War: Judgement are huge, multilevel affairs.
For example, the first level we played saw us running through a city being bombarded by Grub artillery, desperately trying to reach a supply convoy traveling through the city.
The environment bristled with activity, seeing whole sections of buildings collapse around us and fires rage through beautifully rendered futuristic cityscapes.
The second level we played took place much later in the game and had a very different feel, seeing us raid a military base lost to the Locusts. The environment again had a far brighter look than previous titles, showing the base at its full glory rather than a state of decay and disarray.
The game has an episodic narrative that starts with Baird being dragged before a military court to "explain his actions" during Emergence day. Each chapter of the game refers to part of Baird's testimony to the court.
In terms of raw gameplay, Gears of War: Judgement is all but identical to previous titles, featuring the same run and gun third person dynamic that tasks you to get from one end of the level to the other, killing anything that gets in your way.
Gears of War: Judgement also has the same cover focus as previous titles, requiring you to take a more tactical approach. The cover system works in exactly the same way as the older games, simply requiring you to press A when near a potential source of cover to duck behind it and avoid enemy fire.