Gears of Boredom – Why Gears of War Judgment Isn’t Worth Your Time (or Money)

Once again, we are entering the realm of yet another sequel prequel.  The Gears of War saga has been one of the best selling franchises during this generation of consoles.  If you never played the series it can be best summed up as a cross between the 1980s movie Tremors, Predator and The Descent – with more blood, GOWTREMgore and chainsaw bayonets.

Epic Games and Microsoft did an amazing job of supporting the game with patches and developing it into one of the most compelling storylines in recent shooter-game history.  Much like the original Star Wars Trilogy was enough to keep fans satiated with what many consider to be the best cinematic story/opera of all time, it is being plagued with the corporate desire for profit rather than creativity and finality to a great story in the form of the godforsaken prequel. 

Quite a bit has changed at Epic since the conclusion of the Gears trilogy as well.  Primarily the departure of Cliff Bleszinski and other longtime members of the development team.  While it isn’t surprising that people come and go in the world of gaming and game development it isn’t exactly boding well for a series that has really lost a lot of its luster now that the story is over.  Not to mention the fact that the ‘improvements’ and tweaks being made to GoW Judgment seem to be cosmetic at best.

Looks more like a member of GWAR or the Legion of Doom than a Locust.
Looks more like a member of GWAR or the Legion of Doom than a Locust.

If you are a fanboy/girl of the series none of what has been mentioned will convince you to part with your favorite franchise.  It is one of the things that makes you what you are to corporate gaming studios – the dedicated lemmings that also populate the Call of Duty and Halo sales charts are the same… numbers on a graph.

This is why it isn’t surprising at all to see Epic pushing out one final (or first?) chapter of a game that has had a conclusion for awhile now.  They are coming up on the end of an entire generation of consoles; and there isn’t much time left before they start pursuing some sort of new blood-soaked trilogy that will impress us graphically, theatrically and monetarily.  It is almost a certainty that Epic will design some sort of new GoW-esque title for the next generation but that isn’t going to stop them from milking their cash cow one more time before laughing their way to the bank with the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

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E3 Recap – Games To Keep An Eye On and Games To Give The Stink Eye

It was a great week for game fans of all ages last week, but that doesn’t mean that some announcements didn’t disappoint us.

There are some games that have great demos out there right now and there are also some games that shouldn’t have demos (because they are that terrible).

Keep and Eye On:

Spec Ops: The Line (Respawn Entertainment/2K) – This game plays smoothly and feels like a modern military version of Gears of War (executions and all).  In playing the demo there is something left to be desired from gameplay that seems slightly uninspired.  There isn’t a lot of holding your breath in worry that an army of baddies is coming to put you down.  However, the multiplayer gameplay looks like it could prove to be enjoyable, if not at least something different from Call of Duty’s first person syndication every year.

 

 

Madden 13 (EA Sports) – Finally, Madden has come out of the E3 gates with something to talk about other than their yearly subjective roster update.  Real-time physics, connected careers and a new XP system of progressing your players in career modes is a breath of fresh air that every football gaming fan will appreciate.  There are some tuning issues they are still working on for much of connected careers (which is to be expected); but hopefully they can use the next month or so before the game goes ‘gold’ to fix these things.  Don’t expect perfection off the bat, but you should expect some new joy in how Madden actually plays this year.

 

 

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (Konami) – Finally, something playable was present at E3 and did it ever live up to the hopes and dreams of Metal Gear fans!  Raiden was a character that upset many of the Metal Gear ‘purists’ (elitists…myself included) but when Kojima decided to make Raiden into an awesome Cyborg Ninja from Hell in Metal Gear Solid 4?… I was convinced that Raiden was cool enough to be a desireable character.  At this point, MGSRR is looking more and more like Ninja Gaiden put into the shoes of Metal Gear and it looks amazing.

 

 

Hitman: Absolution (Square Enix) – One of the favorites to make people gush over the wonders of Agent 47’s ability to silently make enemies hunker down in fear.  This is proving to be a game that you should be very excited about.  The gameplay is solid and the story of Agent 47 is usually an intriguing one.  Let’s face it, Hitman is a game that really has its set of fanatics and then the rest of the gamers that want to get their fill of digital violence.  The beauty of Absolution is that it seems to have a better feel and look than Blood Money.  There is a fine line for the Hitman series to walk right now but it is avoiding our list of stink eye games… for now.

Give the Stink Eye To:

NCAA Football 13 (EA Sports) – Talk about giving a game a fresh coat of paint and sending it out for the user to beta test.  NCAA Football 12 was decent, but with major flaws on release day that weren’t patched for over a month and a half (player tendencies after re-naming rosters, etc.).  NCAA Football 13 changed throwing trajectories but didn’t implement real-time physics like Madden 13.  They have the same button schemes this year, but after that similarity NCAA falls to the field with a thud.  The menu interface hasn’t changed and the game doesn’t seem to look different at all.  The demo is out there for you to give it a try – but it could be a 1GB file you regret downloading in the first place.

 

 

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (Treyarch/Activision) – This series has been played out.  The fact that they are going to the year 2025 isn’t as impressive as some people want to make it out to be.  Not to mention the fact that they are ‘bringing back’ zombie mode.  What is going to be different from Black Ops or even Modern Warfare 3?  Nothing really.

You already know what to expect if you are a COD fan and that can be a good thing if you love COD games.  Black Ops 2 is like the third Transformers movie at this point –

All of the explosions, the hot girl that replaces another hot girl (albeit, with an accent) and our typical schlubs ‘heroes’ to save the world from bad foreigners (Insert xenophobia here) and you have yourself a “Brand New” Call of Duty Game.

Halo 4 (343/Microsoft) – Did you know that another Halo game was coming out?  Of course you did.   What better way to milk this cash cow of a franchise than to continue the saga of Master Chief from a ‘whole new perspective’?

Much like Call of Duty and even Gears of War, Halo 4 is a game that has many people excited because they worship the Halo universe and think Master Chief is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Say what you want about the books and everything else… if you love Halo you will buy this game.  After that what is there?  One of the ‘features’ listed for this game on Amazon is telling –

The Master Chief returns to battle an ancient evil bent on vengeance and annihilation. Humanity and the universe will never be the same again.”

If you pay attention to the last sentence of their description, it is one of the most hilarious marketing ploys ever.  Consider what has happened over the course of Halo, Halo 2 and then Halo 3.  Then consider what happened with Halo 3: ODST and then the prequel Halo: Reach.  It is something of a guess, but after 5 games that gave us a great trilogy a prequel and even the perspective of a different soldier (ODST) there isn’t much more to care about is there?

It is always a funny argument to hear when a Halo fanboy and a Call of Duty fanboy come into a game store or game department… or God forbid – forums.  Both sides love to present their game as being superior in some way shape or form.  However, in the end they are both arguing over something that they both share in… being duped into buying the same game every year or two.

Gears of War: Judgement (Epic/Microsoft) – Say what you want about the story of Gears of War, it was original and the voice acting was impressive all the way through.  However, the latest announcement is bringing up the same old argument we just made about Halo and Call of Duty.  The most insulting thing you can do to a gamer is try and squeeze out more money for a prequel.  George Lucas was able to fool some people into thinking the new Star Wars prequel trilogy would be worth the excitement.  However, in the end… people still prefer to go back and watch the movies that are now nearing 40 years in age.

This announcement of a new Gears of War game is exciting for people that enjoy the Gears story and gameplay.  Unfortunately, outside of that group of people there are many other gamers that would prefer to see something original come out and blow our minds.  Maybe this is the last Epic game that will grace the 360 before they move on and develop a new series for the XBox 720.  We can only hope that this game is a final conclusion… or pre-clusion?

Building A Game Collection For The Price Of One New Game

By the time you get a new console, controller and a couple new games to play you are going to spend around $600+.

If you are in the market for a new console and would like to get a decent amount of games to play on it we have just the help you need to save money as you start building a new gaming library.

Low Budget Online Gaming

Gaming on a budget? These games are still played by many people online and well worth the small investment.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 = $12 – One of my all-time favorite games.  This is a very fast paced game that has a bit of a learning curve now.  Beware of hackers and glitchers that have taken over some lobbies. 
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Call of Duty Black Ops = $20 – Treyarch put this game out to high praise that they fixed many things that people didn’t like about Modern Warfare.  You will notice that there is quite a split between some people in their preference for Call of Duty titles.  This game is a good purchase to get ready for Black Ops 2 coming out in November.
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Halo 3 = $7 – The game that got every online gamer to think they could ‘Go Pro’.  You will find a dedicated group of gamers that still play this game religiously.  This is a great cheap way to introduce yourself to Halo if you haven’t played the series before.
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Halo Reach = $18 – Where there is Halo, there are gamers playing it online.  Reach changed a lot of things from Halo games before that may remind some people of Call of Duty’s ‘Perks’.  However, you can also download a ton of new maps and modes that give this game a long life.
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Gears of War = $7 – The first Gears of War is still preferred by a smaller contingent of purists.  The series has a tremendous community that is dedicated to the team-based third person genre that Epic Games nearly perfected with this series.
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Gears of War 2 = $7 – The second game of the trilogy was a great success, but some glitches and online issues marred the longevity especially with GOW3 following.
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Gears of War 3 = $24 – This game has a huge fan base even after a year of being released.  The season pass can get you all the modes and maps that were released for this great online experience.  This title is the most refined of the three and rightfully takes its place at the top of many GOW fanatics libraries.
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Battlefield: Bad Company 2 = $10 – The rival to Call of Duty that is based on large team objectives and involves huge maps with a larger focus on realism.  Weapons have more recoil and handle more realistically.
 
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The Lone Gamers On A Budget

For the offline/lone gamers out there, these should be in your library ASAP!
Fallout 3 – Game of the Year Edition = $16 – Getting this game with all of the add-on content is going to provide you with well over 60-70 hours of gaming.  You are set up in post-apocalyptic Washington DC where you will have to battle mutants, survivors, bandits and even radiation to survive.
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Fallout: New Vegas = $10 – This is a separate story from Fallout 3 and gives a nice facelift to some of the things people wanted changed from Fallout 3.  You will have to be sure to eat and stay hydrated in this iteration of Fallout.  Who says you can have too many details?…  Not Bethesda.
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The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion = $10-15 – Before Skyrim there was Oblivion.  A game based in a fantasy realm of knights and kings where you can become a feared assassin or an admired mage/warrior.  Either way, you get to roam a huge world filled with treasure and danger.
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The FEAR Series = $10-12 – One of the scariest series of this generation is based on Sci-Fi and Horror genres being thrown into a blender with a creepy telekinetic girl that haunts you throughout.  You will learn to fear Alma and you will learn to love your shotgun.  A great game for dark quiet nights at home.
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The Assassins Creed Series = $ 10-22 – Cloak and Dagger doesn’t even begin to cover it with this title.  If you want to feel like an ancient bad-ass(assin) you will get this game.  Walk around cities like Jerusalem and follow the story that leads you through the lives of your ancestors, who happen to be assassins.
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The Splinter Cell Series = $8-10 – Sam Fisher is highly trained and voiced by Michael Ironside.  Other than that, he is also equipped with some of the coolest gadgets and gear that have ever graced the planet.  You will not regret picking up this amazing series on the cheap!