Generally favorable reviews - based on 81 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 58 out of 81
  2. Negative: 0 out of 81
  1. Mar 28, 2013
    A prequel that the series desperately needed. It's not the epic story you've anticipated, but it delivers a strong punch, and with the addition of the Smart Spawn System and the Declassified missions, it is the fastest paced - most action packed Gears yet.
  2. Mar 25, 2013
    Gears Of War: Judgment is like a crown with no jewels; it’s still solid gold, sure, but that something is missing is all the more obvious for the size and magnificence of the gems which were once there.
  3. Mar 25, 2013
    Judgment is not a revolution, but a nice ending (for now) to one of this generation's most emblematic franchises.
  4. Mar 22, 2013
    While the new weapons do have a place in Gears Of War: Judgment, none of them have enough impact to encourage players from abandoning the traditional Lancer plus Gnasher combo although that dramatically changes in multiplayer.
  5. Mar 22, 2013
    Gears of War: Judgment is the period at the end of the Gears of War sentence, and in creating it, Epic Games, People Can Fly, and Tom Bissell have created a masterpiece in video game punctuation. Personally, I look forward to their next sentence, when dust-choked, declassified chaos is the default, not the option, and Bissell’s huge talent is deployed in favor of something truly innovative.
  6. Mar 22, 2013
    I didn't get what I initially wanted: A great campaign. What I got instead was something that was almost better. A multiplayer mode that birthed quite a bit of enthusiasm and some challenging and thrilling trials deeply engrained into the core gameplay.
  7. Mar 21, 2013
    Only its brevity and the limited multiplayer modes keep Judgment firmly in the ‘not a real sequel’ world, but it’s a template for the next generation of Gears and a licence to experiment with the series’ most sacred mechanics.
  8. Mar 21, 2013
    It’s Gears at its very best, fierce gunplay mixing with a fabulous ebb and flow across smartly designed maps. It’s nothing revolutionary, rather existing elements melded into a satisfying whole. It’s the kind of thing that makes Judgment a more long-term investment than its campaign demands, but even the single-player’s familiarity and conservatism can’t take away from the base thrill of pulling the trigger or revving that chainsaw.
  9. Mar 20, 2013
    I was ready to expect “just another Gears game,” except I was pleasantly surprised by what I got to play. Sure it’s not completely new, but People Can Fly has moved Gears of War in an alternative, more arcade-feeling direction that I can totally get on board with.
  10. Mar 19, 2013
    For all its larger than life swagger and cartoonish bravado, it’s actually kind of refreshing to see Gears of War take a less-is-more approach with this game. Size certainly matters, but what you do with what you’ve got counts even more.
  11. 80
    A great game with enough to please fans of the series and even welcome new players. A new control scheme might add a bit of frustration, but this is quickly forgotten when you dive into the great multiplayer. Team Kilo Squad and the addition of a new star system which awards special play throughs of levels in single player mode add to an already enjoyable title.
  12. Mar 18, 2013
    As a side-experiment with class-based multiplayer and more aggressively arcade-influenced shooting, Gears of War: Judgment doesn't feel essential in the same way its predecessors did. If three games in five years left you with your fill of Gears of War, Judgment may not be enough to change your mind. But as a well-executed supplement to its parent series, Gears of War: Judgment is easy to recommend.
  13. Mar 17, 2013
    Judgment doesn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to either Gears or third person shooters in general, but with just a small change in perspective it does help to reframe it as something identifiably different. It is still the same game underneath, and we probably didn’t need four of them in six years, but arguably Judgment does more to justify itself than either of the two direct sequels.
  14. Mar 17, 2013
    While the emphasis on fast-paced replayability and a more intimate, nuanced narrative do wonders for Judgment‘s single-player campaign, the game is ultimately held back by its surprisingly meager multiplayer offering.
  15. 80
    It is a good game, but not a great game. It does some good things for the series, but yet misfires a few steps along the way. Sure, the visuals and sound are solid, and there is an interesting story, but this same story manages to miss a beat now and then, like the lack of a details for Baird and Cole at this juncture in the Gears timeline, and not enough of a story at all for the new characters Sofia and Paduk. At the end of the day fans of the franchise will no doubt enjoy much of what is offered, as will newbies to the series, but I can’t help but feel that it is somewhat less than the games released before it.
  16. Mar 17, 2013
    Judgment is gorgeous in its destruction and the gunplay is simply unmatched, as has been the case with every Gears title since its inception. The fact that the game doesn't offer anything significantly new is definitely a point against it, but it remains undeniably fun to play.
  17. Mar 17, 2013
    Not only an incredible action game, but the most enjoyable Gears of War game yet--plot holes be damned.
  18. Mar 17, 2013
    Even with the pall of over-familiarity lingering over it, Gears of War: Judgment is a timely reminder that ruthless focus on gameplay, generosity towards players and good old-fashioned design craft can still pay dividends at a time when big-budget action games are at risk of fragmenting into splinters of mindless busywork. Sometimes, being a bloody good shooter is all that's required.
  19. 80
    Both its strengths and its weaknesses are the result of a vision of how the experience of slaughtering tunnel-loving bogeymen should be, and while the results aren't as spectacular or generous as we're used to, they put up a damn good fight.
  20. 80
    Its engrossing multiplayer modes make Judgment easy to recommend, even if we found its main story campaign weaker than its predecessors’.
  21. Mar 17, 2013
    While Gears of War: Judgment is perhaps burdened by the pall of over-familiarity, the changes that developer People Can Fly have implemented are enough, for now, to keep it feeling fresh – and certainly worthy of your time.
  22. Apr 21, 2013
    Judgment feels a bit like an excuse to provide the Xbox 360 with one last first-party game for what is likely to be its final year as Microsoft’s flagship game platform.
  23. Mar 18, 2013
    Gears of War is a saga that is slightly off in the course of this generation, and his star does not shine today as it did in 2006.
  24. Mar 24, 2013
    If it were just the campaign with co-op, Judgment would seem difficult to justify for its triple A asking price, but with the addition of the excellent Overrun mode - and a couple of friends - it's a worthwhile purchase.
  25. Mar 23, 2013
    My middling expectations of the solo-adventure seem to be just: it’s not bad, but obviously a step back when compared to the previous installment. Variety is nowhere to be found and the story never blossoms. The Aftermath campaign only makes up for that a little. It’s the multiplayer where Judgment shines. The action feels fresh, is wonderfully fast and the OverRun and Survivor modes offer a strategic experience that’ll soothe Horde-fans and newcomers alike. With that said, Judgment isn’t the complete package we hoped for, but it is an accessible and brutal multiplayer gamer.
  26. Mar 21, 2013
    Gears of War: Judgment is an attempt to freshen up the series, but without messing with core gameplay. Declassified missions are a cool little thing, but a very superficial one - it's meant to persuade you to complete the campaign one more time. And the campaign seems a little out of ideas and has a mediocre story that teases a big bang at the end, that turns out to be a small firecracker. Still - there's an additional, fun mission and an excellent multiplayer mode. Judgment is worth buying, but not necessarily right now.
  27. Mar 20, 2013
    It still stands in the shadow of those that came before it, and little flaws like loading hiccups and soft textures underscore the fact that Judgment feels like a lesser achievement. Still, it's a heck of a lot of fun, and if you still enjoy utterly destroying hulking monstrosities with one blast of the sawed-off shotgun, you'll find a lot to like in Gears of War: Judgment.
  28. A minor entry in a major series. A footnote in a story that’s already been told. An artificial extension of a series made to fill the tail-end void created by a console cycle stretched too long and too thin...Franchise fans will have some fun here, no doubt. I’m one of them. But I’m also more interested in seeing what Epic has been prepping for the next-generation.
  29. Mar 21, 2013
    We’re directing our biggest complaint to both Epic and People Can Fly for failing to achieve much on the single-player front. The atmosphere kind of lacks all that tension and excitement from previous games (think Gears of War 2).
  30. May 9, 2013
    It's Gears 3, minus pacing and ambition. It's still fantastically enjoyable, but it's easily the least interesting Gears game. [June 2013, p.64]
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 642 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 91 out of 233
  1. Mar 21, 2013
    I decided to write this review because I'm one of the people that got Judgement on release day. Being a huge Gears of war fan I was looking forward to a new title, new weapons and Overrun Mode. And ultimately, I find myself SEVERELY disappointed. I will say the game brings to unique aspects that I did enjoy, but it's glaring flaws outnumber any advancements that game adds. As I mentioned, the game does some things right: The addition of "Declassified" missions is a pretty fun take on the general Gears formula. Some missions require the the area to completed in a certain time span, other require the use of certain weapons for example; in any case, it brings in a new level of "challenge" to the Gears formula, that's much appreciated. These declassified missions are of course optional, but unlock various multiplayer items.

    Overrun mode is a solid addition to the Gears of War formula as well. I will say playing as the Locust provides more entertainment than Cog; both Locust and Cog gain "Points" for achieving various objects, healing allies, killing enemies, etc. But ONLY Locust get to use these "Points" for purchasing upgraded Locust minions, such as a Mauler, or Corpser. Cog get nothing, just a competition for who can get the most points. I feel like perhaps the designers could've given the Cog access to upgraded weapons, grenades or powers to spend their "Points" on, but there is nothing. Overrun is is a fun game mode, but it still leaves players with the feeling that the game mode could encompass so much more and not just be a run off of the Gears version of Team Fortress or Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory.

    Now on to the bad news: This isn't you traditional Gears of War multiplayer experience. I understand that People Can Fly has made an attempt to mainstream the series, but this is definitely a multipalyer experience that will upset the Gears diehards and really feels like a couple of steps back from Gears of War 3. To begin, players are limited to four game types: Free for All, Team Deathmatch, Domination and Overrun (VIP players get 4 more game types... Just the VIP version of each of these that offer no additional maps, no additional benefits other than double experience). Players also get the aptly named "Survival" mode, which is similar to Overrun, but against computer Locust; this is like "Horde" mode, but limited to 10 waves, and you're stuck in rigid classes.

    In any case, back to the standard multiplayer it seems a little rushed and severely numbed down. To begin, you now can select one of up to seven primary weapons to start with (Shotguns are now considered "primary") and you get your Snub Pistol.. Not only that, but you only get two weapons to switch between (with the "Y" button) and your Grenade (which you also can choose between 5 grenades to start with). Being able to select such a variety of weapons and grenades before you spawn severely limits battles over the weapon drops on the maps.

    Judgement also removes from multiplayer, some key concepts brought about by the Gears saga (but oddly enough are kept in Campaign). The first is downing opponents and executions. No more human shields, no more stunning visuals of smacking the heads off your foes with the Longshot like Tiger Woods teeing off at the Masters, now you just kill (except in Overrun). No tagging walls with Grenades to step up mines. In fact, there's not even a bullet power bonus from Active Reloads any longer (just fire speed).

    Really with all the changes, many of the weapons have become underwhelming. The weakness of the Lancer, the inaccuracy of the Retro Lancer, the weakness of the Hammerburst without the bonus power of an perfect active reload, just don't seem to do enough damage. Also, Sniper Rifles and Torque Bows just don't seem to have the same effect in Judgement as they did in game past. Multiplayer in Judgement has really become a Shotgun circle, with each team sprinting at each other, Gnashering or Sawed off until no one is left. With the other weapons becoming so Underwhelming (well minus the Boomshot, Booshka and the explosives), why would a player want to pick any other weapon? The cover mechanics of Gears feel very gimped when your target is 100ft away and they rush straight at you, eat an entire Lancer clip and manage to one shot you with a Shotgun, or survive 4 shots from a Marzka, but can kill you mid range with four Shotgun shots. The multiplayer experience seems like it was rushed, or was developed by entirely different team than the campaign. Even fun additions, like being able to wield a shield with any primary weapon, are overshadowed by the flaws in game play. The sad part is, the maps are very well designed but aren't really appreciated due to the imbalances in game play.

    In summary, this game does have some great additions to the series, but takes so much out of the Gears experience, it feels like a step in the wrong direction after such a great experience with gears of War 3.
    Full Review »
  2. Mar 19, 2013
    The game that killed the series. Everything that all fans liked about Gears is taken away and turned into a more arcade COD like game. Disappointed is an understatement. Full Review »
  3. Mar 19, 2013
    The weakest of the series, i personally hate the more arcade feel of the game. Nothing in this game stand out. In my opinion if you are a fan maybe a buy if you are not a fan just turn around and go play Tomb raider!! Full Review »