Release of the Week: Gears of War: Judgment (360)

He's cute.

He’s cute.

The Xbox 360’s premier third-person shooter is back for one more run before the next console generation begins this fall. The series that revolutionized cover based shooters is getting a prequel featuring Damon Baird and Augustus Cole during a tribunal hearing as they recall all the good times they’ve had. Like Halo 4 before it, Gears of War: Judgment is being developed by a new studio. In this case it’s People Can Fly, the developers behind Bulletstorm, who were acquired by Epic Games back in 2012. Now it’s time to see if the series will stay strong despite a slew of key departures from both Epic Games and People Can Fly.

Kilo Squad, led by Baird, it being put on trial for events that occurred shortly after Emergence Day. I’m not up to date on my Gears lore, but I don’t think that particular holiday actually has anythings to do with the giant nipple plates on every soldier’s armor. The squad was fighting to save Halvo Bay from getting overrun by a new, horrifying enemy. Throughout the campaign you’ll have the option to “declassify” information, increasing the difficulty and unlocking new weapons or alternate scenarios.

The Gears of War multiplayer is getting a couple new modes. The first is Free-for-All, in which everyone kills everyone and “Down but Not Out” is disabled. The OverRun mode is a little more complicated. Two five-player teams battle each other in objective-based combat. The teams alternate between Locusts and COG soldiers with their loadout determined by the class they choose. There are four maps for OverRun/Survival and four maps for FFA/Domination. Maps are supposed to have more verticality  then in previous games.

Judgment should give Gears of War fans what they want, but probably won’t be doing anything special to draw in new fans. You probably already know if you’re interested in this game or not. If you want to know more, or just really love how well teal and orange go together, head over to the Gears of War page over at

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (360, PS3, PC, WiiU)

For those not in The Walking Dead loop, this is the game based on the TV show based on the comic, not the game based on the comic. From the developers behind Kinect Star Wars (there’s a pedigree you can trust — Pete), Activision’s licensing machine brings you a first-person zombie shooter following brothers Daryl and Merle Dixon in the events before the start of the TV show. Unless you’re a giant fan of the TV show, you may want to hold off on this one for a bit.

Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory (PS3)

This Japanese (surprise!) Role-Playing Game is the third in the series that  follows a woman named Neptune. She is thrust into an alternate “Gamindustri” in the year 1989 where the countries of “Lowee”, “Leanbox” and “Lastation” are all swept up in a metaphorical console war. It’s basically like NeoGAF but with cute anime girls in skimpy outfits hitting things with impossibly large weapons. Actually, that sounds exactly like NeoGAF… (Shameless plug for ourselves: read more about the previous two entries in this series in Swords & Zippers here and here — Pete)

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (3DS, WiiU)

Monster Hunter is one of those series that Japan thrives on and North America only has a mild interest in. This particular game is the reason that the 3DS’s Circle Pad Pro add-on exists. The 3DS version of this game includes local co-op only while the Wii U version offers full online multiplayer, which is important for a Monster Hunter game. Your progress will transfer between the two platforms if you own the game on both platforms, but it will most likely be a pain as it’s Nintendo we’re talking about.

Lego City Undercover (WiiU)

This is the rare Lego video game that’s based purely on a Lego brand. This Nintendo published action-adventure game follows undercover cop Chase McCain. It’s a sandbox game and McCain can use various disguises, so really this is just a cross between Grand Theft Auto and Hitman. For kids. Early reviews have been quite positive, so if you own a Wii U this may be one of the last few quality games you’ll see for a while that don’t have Mario on the cover.

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