There comes a point in every franchise’s lifespan were acceptance is key. It’s a measure of expectation. Should the fourth installment of a successful series be fundamentally different from any of the ones that came before it? We all act like we want our games to change, unable to comprehend how we’d be just as frustrated to see any major differences. This occurs when we have that yearning for something new and instead of expecting it in the form of a new IP, we apply that yearning to franchises that have already established themselves. That establishment serves as a foundation that is easier to improve upon than it is to create something completely new. For example, it's easier to imagine dual wielding swords in Halo than it is to forge a entirely new IP that you could get excited about. Sadly, the industry has more of the same and less of the new, with Bioshock being the exception.
It was half way through my time with Gears of War: Judgment that I discovered this. I had all these complaints about how cover to cover shooting wasn't enough anymore, questioning why the series never indulged a more tactical approach, but then it became clear. I don’t like Gears of War, so my expectations or desires don’t matter and they shouldn't.
Mired in a heap of illusory superiority, Gears of War: Judgment overvalues its fan's dedication and their ignoring of it's weaknesses relying too heavily series' foundations. Gears of War has been around for seven years now and has given birth to four titles, so forgive me when I say, a machine gun with a chainsaw attached to it just doesn't do it anymore. The cover system is no longer fun because at a certain point you realized it's just big guys slamming into cover and that's not really great. The "shotgun rules all" mentality while still fitting was annoying two games ago and it's still annoying here. Every encounter involves a shotgun. Every kid online has a shotgun. I don't feel properly equipped unless I have a shotgun. It's not the utilitarian sidearm, designed to be used in all situations, it's a fucking shotgun. Sure, there have been a few new weapons here and there, as well as an enemy or two that have been re-purposed in some way but it’s mostly a static procession.
Playing Gears of War: Judgment is analogous to listening to the newest album of your favorite band, critics may condemn it as their worst yet, while others may praise it as their best, in either case you already like the band. My opinion on something I have a distaste for could never affect someone who likes this. Is it ever going to be that squad based tactical shooter I thought it could be? No and it shouldn't, because for most people who enjoy Gears of War, they enjoy it for the point blank, grind it out, humongous guys shooter it is. Far be it from me to ask People Can Fly to whistle a different tune.