Last week I was over in Poland at the People Can Fly studios for a bit of a hands on before Gears of War: Judgement is released later this month – and it was revealed at this event that a brand new multiplayer mode is being added to Gears of War: Judgement called Survival.
Survival is a class-based co-op experience that feels like the logical expansion to the original Horde mode from Gears of War 2.
The premise is quite straight forward. You are part of a 5 person team with each character having a unique function and special ability and you need to protect the emergence hole cover from an onslaught of Locust enemies.
There are 10 waves, with each wave becoming increasingly difficult. The Locusts’ only goal is to destroy the emergence hole cover. Once they have destroyed that you are moved back to the next hole cover and if they break through that then you need to protect the generator. If you lose the generator you lose.
To win you just need to withstand all 10 waves… easy right?
There are 4 classes that can be chosen
The Engineer is Baird whose unique function is the ability to repair the defence structures which are already placed on the map ahead of time. Once the structure is broken it cannot be replaced so repairing them is very important.
His special ability is an automated turret that he can throw down that will target any locust that comes close.
The Cole Train is back and he’s the soldier in this scenario. Cole is equipped with a lancer and a grenade launcher and is the all out killing machine. His special ability is that he can throw down ammo for the other characters.
There is no ammo on the map so this is vital for a solid team
Next up we have the Medic which is played by the new character, Sophia Hendrik.
Sophia is equipped with the newly tweaked shotgun and has the ability to throw stim grenades which release a cloud of health gas to revive downed teammates or to top your health up… a great little addition when you are up front and taking on all comers.
I predict Sophia is going to cause some problems on release though. Not because playing as the medic is boring but rather that Sophia’s character model is overly sexualised. You mainly see Sophia from behind and you can see the developers spent a fair amount of time ensuring that view is perfect.
The Scout is played by another new character in Gears, Garron Paduk; an ex-UIR soldier who has joined the COG since the Locusts arrived.
He’s your sniper and can climb up certain spots to get a birds eye view of the battle and lead the tactics. His special ability is a beacon grenade which when thrown highlights all the enemies around the area to everyone in your team.
Before the game starts you get to choose your class and you can see what the other players are choosing so if you see your four friends all going for the engineer then it would be logical to go for the soldier so you can re-stock your colleagues when they have used up all their ammo.
Then every time you die, which happens a lot, you can choose to change your class if you want.
There are a few tricks to the classes and how they work together, the only one we were told however is that if an engineer is repairing something and a soldier drops an ammo case next to him then he won’t need to reload his repair tool making the repairs that much faster.
The Locust Waves
As expected the locust waves get harder and harder every round starting with tickers and wretches and by the time you get to the 8th level the dreaded Serapede appears which threw our team into disarray resulting in us losing out on level eight every time.
However the Serapede isn’t the worst Locust in the match, there is actually a brand new enemy called the Rager. The Rager starts of with the new Breacher rifle which holds 4 shots per load and is a slow but powerful rifle, with an axe on the end for awesome melee combat.
However, that’s the easy part. When you annoy the Rager enough he throws down his weapon and transforms into a smaller Berserker, he then starts charging. But unlike the Berserker he is pretty nimble so you’re not just going to dodge out the way and keep shooting him.. especially when there are 4 of them raging at once.
I asked PCF studio director, Sebastian Wojciechowski, how long he thought it would take the Gears community to complete survival mode on Insane mode. He just laughed and said that no one so far has even gotten close but he has no doubt the community will sort it out pretty quickly.
Survival is shipping with 5 maps to start and while it wasn’t mentioned I think you can bet the house on new levels appearing via DLC over time.
It’s a great new addition to the Gears of War experience and one that I am looking forward to diving in to with the old team.
Gears of War: Judgement ships on the 22nd of March and can be pre-ordered right now from most local retailers
Only one of these is from Survival but you don’t care, you just want the screenshots right?