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Feb 07

GOWJ: Epic Giveth & Taketh Away!

Gears of War JudgmentWe are now just over a month away from the release of Gears of War Judgment. Epic Games has in turn been releasing more game info on the regular.

But not all news is good news as in the two latest Epic podcasts Epic released some info that was a downright sucker punch in the gut of long time fans but then managed to save face with some excellent news regarding weapon balance.

The campaign for Judgment is looking to be really good

GOWJ sure is shaping up to be quite a confusing cookie to comprehend as I now refer exclusively to the multiplayer. On one hand they have done their best to try an improve on every aspect of gameplay (as we’ve discussed before) making the game faster, smoother and mechanically more stable. But is a solid game if there is nothing to do in the game? I mention this because to date in GOWJ it has been confirmed that the game will ship with only 4 MP game modes:
 

Overrun A class based game mode that will be the only MP mode that will feature the COG vs Locust. The amalgamation of Horde and Beast mode with no confirmation if Horde or Beast mode will be returning.
Free-for-All The first ever Gears MP game mode to not include teams. Each player will stand alone in a COG vs COG race to the top of the scoreboard.
Team Death Match The most popular game mode ever (in any game) returns with a few alterations. In this version, Judgment conforms to the standard format of counting up kills instead of counting down lives as in GOW3.
Domination The natural evolution of KOTH? As its namesake in CoD there will are 3 points that need to be captured simultaneously. I’d like to see some fortifications included but that is unlikely.
Maps – In another first for gears, there will be specific maps for different game modes.
E.g. Overrun will have asymmetrical maps while FFA maps will incorporate more verticality.

GOW3 was widely criticised for probably having too many game modes and playlists which resulted in player numbers being diluted over the many lists but having only 4 modes may be a bit too extreme in the opposite direction. I would thus assume that Epic and PCF may have put slightly more effort into the campaign and overrun than the MP. This is of course completely understandable considering we are at the end of the current console cycle and not investing too much effort in a multiplayer that will not require long term support makes more sense. That being said with them only including (proper) team based game mode (Domination, as the changes to TDM make it only a hair length away from FFA) game mode is kind of a low bow to all long time fans because has always been a team game.

But possibly the biggest disappointment has to be the total exclusion of any singe life game modes like Execution or Guardian which have been one of the signature characteristics Gears since the beginning of time. Not only is it a disappointment to loyal Gears enthusiasts but a possibly crippling blow to the competitive GOW community.
GOWJ Red vs BlueSlim MP options aside, Pete Knepley and Jim Brown from Epic Games did announce some promising news regarding the weapon balance in GOWJ. For the most part it seems that Epic and PCF have taken all the feedback from fans via the forums and twitter and have made some fantastic changes (on paper) to the weapons.

We’ve already heard about the removal of stopping power and damage boosts from active reloads which were added to speed up play and in addition to that we have now learned that ammo pickups will be automatic and damage over distance modifiers have been normalised which will both go a long way towards further speeding up play.
 

Starting Weapons

Lancer - Increased rate of fire / Decreased damage per bullet
- Headshot multiplier removed
Retro-Lancer - Increased rate of fire / Decreased damage per bullet
- Decreased recoil
- Tweaked accuracy/burst fire
- “Retro poke” damage decreased
Hamerburst - Increased rate of fire / Decreased damage per bullet
- Fully semi-automatic (cap on fire rate)
- No-scope recoil increased
Classic Hamerburst - Burst fire
- Semi-automatic
- High recoil
- 3 burst kill
Markza (new) - 2 Shot headshot
- Very weak body shot
- 1x Zoom
Gnasher - Unchanged
Sawed-Off - 2 Shot clip
- Fire rate > Gnasher (long reload)
- Spread & damage = Gnasher
- Can still kill multiple targets
Snub Pistol - Unchanged
Melee - 2 Shot kill
- Penalty for missing

GOWJ New Wepons

Pickup Weapons

Digger - Moves faster underground
Boomshot - Damage slightly less than GOW3 active Boom
- 3 Shots
Booshka (new) - Similar damage to Boomshot
- Grenades bounce off walls/cover
- 3 Shots, 2 clips
Schorcher - Unchanged
- Goes under/over Boomshield
Torque Bow - Shorter charge time
- Smaller AOE damage
Longshot (sniper) - Scope = GOW2 scope
- 2x Zoom
- High body damage
- Penetrates targets
Breachshot - Single headshot
- Bodyshot > Markza but < Longshot
- No scope (no zoom)
- Strong melee
Boltok - Damage increase
- Single headshot / Double bodyshot
Boomshield - Can equip any weapon
- Can be planted
- Can be headshot with Boomshield
- Grenades stick to Boomshield

Grenades

- All grenades stick
- No grenade can be planted
- Each grenade starts with one (except incendiary’s)

Frag Grenades - Damage reduced
- AOE reduced
Ink Grenades - Reduced AOE for stun (only in smoke)
- Instant detonation
- Cannot use tatcom through ink
Incendiary Grenades - Increased damage
- Pickup Only

Knepely and Brown also confirmed that as in GOW3, they will continue to monitor feedback and game stats and make tweaks and changes to balance where necessary.

Pre-Orders

If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy of GOWJ yet, we’ve compiled a convenient list of all the local retailers that will have GOWJ available as well as which incentives are available where.
 

Retailer Price Incentive Note
Games On R499.00 - Classic HB
- Young Dom
- GOW1 DL Token
Free collection in store. (CPT Only)
BT Games R545.00 - Classic HB
- Young Marcus
- Young Anya
- GOW1 DL Token
- 800MSP
Free collection in store.
Takealot R549.00 - Classic HB
- Young Dom
- GOW1 DL Token
Zaps Online R580.00 - Classic HB
- Young Marcus
- GOW1 DL Token
AWX R590.00 - Classic HB
- Young Dom
- GOW1 DL Token
Kalahari R601.00 - Classic HB
- Young Dom
- GOW1 DL Token
CNA R649.00 - Not specified Can be bought on account.

Note: There will be no Limited or Collectors Edition released.
SA release date: 22 March 2013

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