'Gears of War: Judgment' Survival Mode Is Meant to Replace Horde Mode, Unforunately

By Trevor Ruben , Updated Mar 18, 2013 09:52 AM EDT

People Can Fly and Epic are releasing the latest 'Gears of War' title this week, but the game is launching without its most famous mode: Horde mode. Horde may be out, but Survival Mode is in. So what exactly is Survival Mode? If you already know about the new Ovverrun mode then you're on the right track.

Ovverrun pits two human teams controlling the COGs against the Horde, the latter with a set of characters similar to the "Gears of War 3" beast mode, while the former uses various classes introduced in the campaign to defend a set point in a map. It sounds like good fun, but if you were hoping to hop into a rigorously long Horde mode session at some point, like you might have done in "Gears of War 3," you're totally out of luck. Survival mode is Ovverrun without humans controlling the opposing Locust characters, which sounds a lot like Horde, but falters in one major area - it only lasts ten rounds. Obviously, People Can Fly either didn't have time to implement a Horde mode or never intended to port it over from either of the last two "Gears of War" titles. Instead, it feels like they re-purposed assets for Ovverrun and called it a day.

Even IGN, which granted the game a 9.2 in its review, didn't have much nice to say about the Horde mode replacement.

"Survival strips away the joy of playing as the Locust, so it's something you'll likely settle for when friends aren't around for OverRun. Essentially, Survival aims to make up for the absence of Horde -- OverRun and Survival both bring elements of the now-standard wave-based mode, but take it in different directions. It's a shame to see such a reliable series staple vanish, but OverRun, and Survival to a lesser extent. substitute just fine" writes IGN reviewer Mitch Dyer.

When you look at the rest of the multiplayer suite - only four competitive maps and four Ovverrun/Survival maps - you'll see a pattern of a rushed release. Epic clearly wanted this title out before the next-generation started rolling through and began requiring new game engines, so they tasked People Can Fly with putting together a new campaign as quickly as they could. Reviewers seem to agree they at least did a serviceable job, with some even celebrating the campaign as new and fresh.

"Bringing People Can Fly in was a good choice, because the developer has managed to make fighting the Locust feel dangerous and new again, despite this being my fourth trip to Sera," writes Joystiq's David Hinkle.

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