For the longest time, players have gotten used to the multiplayer modes that could be found in the Gears of War games, getting comfortable by playing through Beast mode, working together as teams in Horde mode, or just plain having fun through other general skirmishes. Still, sometimes a change comes along that's for the better, something that shakes up the multiplayer community that reminds them that the developers still give a damn about what they're playing with.
That's exactly what People Can Fly is doing with the latest Gears of War game, Judgment. Along with telling a single player story that follows the upbringing of Baird and Augustus "Cole Train" Cole, it's also mixing up the multiplayer options valiantly. Players should still be able to return to a few familiar favorites, but it's the new ones that are likely to be the standouts when the game launches this March.
We know about two of the modes that are being included, which we're breaking down below. But there are already some whispers about others that are being thrown in, and one that's been confirmed by Epic Games and People Can Fly is Extraction.
Though neither company have dropped details on this mode yet, it sounds like a "get out alive" sort of mode, where players have to fight through enemies in order to reach a certain checkpoint on a map. It's up to the other team to stop them dead in their tracks before they get there. We're guessing some sort of allotted time limit will be included, giving the running team only a certain amount of minutes before whatever's distracting them bolts. (Again, this is SPECULATION, not official – but that's a good guess.)
Now, as for the two modes that ARE official, let's talk about each one.
In this mode, which was first introduced back at E3, teams of five are pitted against one another in closed-off maps, trying to either protect or overtake a certain goal in the center, consisting of two emergence holes and a Hammer of Dawn beacon. On the one hand, you've got your COG soldiers, featuring an Engineer (Baird), a Soldier (Cole), a Medic (Sofia Hendrik) and a Scout (Garron Paduk), who each have certain advantages in battle, whether it's shooting from above, laying down booby traps or repairing provisions like turrets and other items. Survive in the full amount of time and the Hammer destroys all Locust forces.
On the other, the Locust are the strikers, including the Bloodmount, the Corpser, the Grenadier, the Kantus, the Mauler, the Serapede, the Tickets, the Wretches and the Rager. You must decide which ones are the best for the job, breaking through the COG's defenses and eventually reach the emergence holes, thus unleashing an unholy wave of Kryll that can rip the COG soldiers apart.
Playing both sides has its advantages. The COG may appear to be underhanded, but with the right balanced team, you can easily set up strong defensive standpoints and destroy a whole bunch of Locust forces. On the flip side, with such a wide assortment of soldiers and the ability to ambush from more than one side, the Locusts can easily gain control of a point on the map and slowly – but surely – work their way to the generator, thus destroying it.
Though a bit condensed compared to the generally sized maps, OverRun Mode is filled with just the right amount of tension and competition, and is a lot of fun from the sessions I've had with it thus far. Expect this to be a fan favorite in no time flat.
The second mode is an untraditional one for the Gears of War world, as most players have gotten used to playing as part of a team. But in Free-For-All, you'll forego your bonds with your fellow COG or Locust soldiers and mow them down just as effortlessly as your enemies. It's really a matter of testing "of wits and will," according to Epic Games, as one player will emerge with the most kills available. It's a bit brutal, and, again, not what everyone might be used to, but it's a magnificent shake-up that really teaches you the basics about survival.
Other modes are expected to be announced for the game well before its release, but thus far, with the two revealed here and Extraction on the way, People Can Fly is proving that it can certainly keep up with what Epic Games has done thus far. And with various Xbox Live options and support to bring your friends along for the ride, there's no reason Judgment can't join the other Gears greats on the popularity front.
We'll see how Judgment fares when it arrives on March 19th.