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Alongside a new map and mode, Gears Judgment has received its first major title update.

Does it improve some of the game’s major issues? No, not really…

The highlight of the title update is to add improvements to the servers. These must be very subtle, minor tweaks, however, because I haven’t noticed much in the way of change. You’re still plagued with regular disconnections from the host and the game never seems to migrate to a new host, simply choosing to kick you back to the title screen. There were never any major lag issues during gameplay, but the issues with hosting remain diabolical and are in urgent need of fixing.

Meanwhile, Survival continues to suffer from imbalancing issues, as well as unfair spawning. It’s also become increasingly apparent that most human players are in desperate need of basic training in order to play to full effect.

9 times out of 10, you’ll be sat waiting in the lobby, then when you finally get a game, it’s usually mid-wave 1 and the Locust have practically destroyed all barriers, making the emergence hole easy prey.  A fundamental flaw.

Locusts have also been known to spawn at the emergence holes before a team has even had a chance to spawn and reach them. As you might expect, the E-Hole is destroyed almost immediately, therefore not offering a team a chance to retaliate. The Title Update addresses this in part, but in no way is it of an acceptable or fair standard.

Also, when playing in splitscreen, the second player sometimes can’t see prompts as to when barriers need fixing if both are playing as Engineer. It only happens sometimes and it’s quite random, but its a real game-changer if you need to support each other at a critical juncture. This sometimes happens for other classes as well.

To a lesser degree, some of the locust also need to be nerfed. In particular, Grenadiers are in serious need of damage reduction, as well as Wretches and Tickers. Grenadiers can kill you with a single bullet of a hammerburst. They’re also capable of wiping out whole teams with wildcard frag grenades that you never see thrown. Grenades also have a ridiculous blast radius making them nigh on impossible to avoid. Meanwhile, Tickers only need to explode next to you and will kill instantly, even if you’re not in their immediate proximity. As for Wretches, they’re more hop-happy than the Easter bunny making them extremely difficult to hit, and they need only swipe once to completely cripple you. I understand Survival defaults to a Hardcore difficulty and is meant to be a challenge, but when standard armies of Locusts are causing more problems and dealing more damage than Corpsers, Serapedes, Ragers and Boomers, you know something is up.

It’s also become obvious that people are unsure of what they’re doing when it comes to playing Survival. Surprisingly, this doesn’t seem to be as much of an issue with Overrun, despite the similarities. In Survival, you’ll be teamed with people who, more often than not, are all about glory-hunting and kiling sprees. As you might expect, this doesn’t bode well for a team based mode. At this point, you’re actually better having off having a team of AI playing alongside you as they will at least attempt to support the team and defend the objective. At this point, I feel some form of training should be necessary to play.

In contrast, the AI in the campaign is as poor, if not worse, than that of Gears 3. The computer certainly won’t go out of its way to pick you up if down, and when the action gets a little crazy they’ll either be on the front line duking it out, or sat back not supporting you at all. It really is either/or.

gears-of-war-judgment-3

Still, there are some positives to come from this Title Update. It’s nice to see XP boosts in-between matches. These were all given to us in bulk after long play sessions, and it meant waiting while the bar counter went through 3-4 levels at a time.

There are also some Boomshield exploits that have been fixed. Players can no longer chainsaw other players with the Boomshield equipped, nor can they zoom in with the Markza. These exploits gave distinct advantages to players who knew about them.

The worrying thing, however, is that Epic and People Can Fly are not focusing on the core issues plaguing the game. I’ve highlighted just some of the major ones above. Add them to the limited range of maps, and the game is likely to have an extremely short shelf life, despite the VIP Season Pass. Survival, one of the most attractive reasons to own the game, is flawed and broken, and cannot remain ignored.

…Previously…

3/5

Overrun, Survival and the Class-Based System are a great fit for Gears. The Declassifieds and stars in campaign also offer decent replayability. The game is riddled with bugs, glitches, poor AI and loading lag, however and the narrative is only sub-par

…After this patch…

3/5

The game remains mostly unchanged, save for minor fixes that barely had a chance to affect anyone’s overall enjoyment. Judgment is neither worse or better for this patch. At this point, the development team are focusing on the wrong things. Survival, in particular, urgently needs to be addressed. 

…Current Rating…

3/5

Gears Judgment remains flawed in many areas. Here’s hoping more of those are addressed in the next title update.