Gears of War: Judgement, I’ve been telling folks this whole time, is this spin-off prequel to the Gears of War trilogy that explores the story of series stalwarts Damon Baird and Augustus Cole before the main protagonist – Marcus Fenix – finds and enlists them into his squad.
As of this week, that description is no longer the full story. Don’t get me wrong – it’s still about Damon Baird and Augustus Cole before the events of the first Gears of War.
But as Epic Games have revealed this week, after you’re done with Judgement’s main campaign, this is also a bonus mini-campaign that tells the story of Baird and Cole
You go about unlocking the Aftermath mini-campaign by accumulating stars throughout the main campaign, for skilful performance, such as killing with headshots, et cetera.
For a boost to your campaign stars, you can also take on Declassification side-missions, which take on an interesting meaning in the context of the game’s story.
The main campaign in Judgement is told in a series of flashbacks that explain what happened that led to Baird’s entire team getting court-martialed and accused of treason.
The flashbacks are presented to gamers based on evidence publicly aired in the court records – but they’re not exactly the full story. There are portions in the file marked in black ink.
When you take on a Declassification side-mission, then, you are essentially peeling back that black ink, to uncover what Baird and his team actually encountered. In terms of gameplay, according to Destructoid, these translate into harder challenges.
One Declassification turned all the Wretches in a particular chapter into Lambent Wretches, which interestingly do not even make their debut in the main trilogy until Gears of war 2, a game that takes place some 15 years after Judgement.
In other words, the Declassified mission is implying that the Coalition of Gears government had in fact knew about Lambent Wretches some fifteen years before players, as Marcus Fenix, would know about them – Lambent Wretches had existed from the very beginning. For some reason, however, the government had chose to bury that information and keep it sealed off from public eyes.
Between Declassified missions and Aftermath, yes, Gears of War: Judgement isn’t your typical video game prequel. It’s got a little more than that.
And then some (check out our impressions of the new OverRun multiplayher mode here).
Gears of War: Judgement (M18, price: S$69) for the Xbox 360 hits stores in Singapore March 19, 2013.