Scout-kun is a lie... right?

The Ballad of Baird

For random rambling. Please keep your posts tasteful and respectful.

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User avatar Mister_Prophet
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Subject: The Ballad of Baird

Post Posted: 21 Mar 2013, 07:43

I'm making this thread mostly for people like UB who like Gears of War but are iffy about this new iteration. I've only had the game for a single day and all my MP comments will be Overrun Mode thus far, but I aim to change that once I have a chance with Survival (the gametype everyone is all butthurt/curious about because it means no Horde).

If you've talked with me about my opinion on Gears then you already know that it wasn't until Part 3 that I gave this series a serious batting of eyelids, and that is mostly because of Horde. I hate Marcus and I hate his one percenter problems. His dad sucks dicks in hell. But anyway, Baird is awesome, so yay Gears Judgment!

Campaign

As I understand it the game is broken into two acts, Judgement and Aftermath. It starts with Baird and buddies being hauled into court to give testimonies at some military trial as World War Locust is literally taking place outside. Priorities you might ask? Dude, this is Gears of War, Bro! Having a go at this in COOP, I was Baird and my buddy was Cole. The other two characters are a generic Epic female protagonist and some hilarious Russian guy. Right away...yeah, the gameplay is close to what it was in GoW3, but there are some minor differences. You use grenades a bit differently (better in my opinion, as I was always thumbs with them before if I wasn't sticking them to walls), the boom shield is a little more flexible as you are not limited to the pistols anymore when using it, and you have less trouble leaping off ledges. The campaign plays out similarly to previous games; combat zones separated by locker rooms full of guns and ammo, new scenarios and monsters introduced as you go along. I've only seen a couple of new enemies so far, but the most notable is the Rager.

What I like about the campaign is that they have triggerable ingame story mutators that you can choose to enable that tell a "declassified" version of an upcoming combat situation. These could be a different enemy appearing, more enemy varieties to appear in the mix, some kind of level timer tied to a kill event that means your death if you don't do it fast enough, and other things like throwing visual handicaps due to dust or environmental gas, things like that. In some cases they will force certain weapons or remove certain luxuries. It's an interesting dynamic that really gives you more control over what difficulties you want to face and what's nice this time is that enemy appearances are randomized anyway, so you never know what kind of situation you are going into. In one sequence me and my buddy rushed into a courtyard to face an onslaught of maulers and therons, and when we one of us got killed and we reloaded, we rushed out expecting to face the maulers and ran into a herd of boomers.

In some parts of the story you are ordered to hold a certain area as waves of enemies pour into a location, obviously a nod to the game's Horde fans but also a good way to show off some of the skills you'll need in Survival. One interesting tidbit, and this is new, are the appearance of placeable turrets that you can carry and put down. In the story sequences we played these turrets were pivotal to our survival, and what was cool was not that they can be destroyed...but that they can run out of ammo, and you have to be responsible and replenish them amidst the onslaught of locusts. It's a cool idea and it kept us running. It kind of makes the game like Left 4 Dead in places, if I may make a comparison.

Visually the game looks the same as part 3 but I find the locations a lot more interesting. Seems like the quality of level design is on par or better than what were made for the Gears 3 extra maps (the elemental pack levels come to mind). There was one area inside a military archive where parts of the room are on fire...and me and my buddy, no joke, just stood there for a good while admiring it. The fire looks that good. I expect as much from People Can Fly, whose saving grace in Bulletstorm was the levels. These guys no how to use the Unreal engine.

What else can I mention so far....okay, guns! All the previous guns are back, including my beloved Retro Lancer. With my preorder bonus I also have the classic Hammerburst, but I still prefer the semi-automatic version, also included. The sawed off has been given the simple but amazing feature of being able to fire its barrels one at a time or together, greatly increasing its usefulness. New guns. Okay, the Breachshot is the Rager's primary weapon, and is basically a heavy rifle with no scope, but it hits like a truck. Another new rifle is the Mis...Miz...er, Misuki lets call it. Something Russian. Not as much punch as the longshot, but having a semi-automatic scoped rifle in Gears of War...FINALLY...is a blessing. There is also a new grenade launcher that has yet another ridiculous name, but I've only used that in Overrun. Otherwise, there are new grenade types, including one that can heal teammates (weird but you won't ask questions when it saves your life) and a scout grenade that increases your enemy perception radius, though both of these are more for multiplayer. Speaking on that in a moment...

Overall, it's odd how lambent enemies show up at odd places given that this is a prequel, but the voice overs given during the mutators that tag them in seem to make sense (they were rumors, rarely seen, by this point. Confused for locust variants I guess. You're not playing this for story, are you?).

Overrun Mode

I played a little of this over the weekend and a little today. Basically it's like really good team mode from UT, an evolution of what Beast Mode was in Gears 3. And it's actually really fun, though I'm pretty bad at it. One team is the locusts, one team is the Cogs, and you have three target zones a map. One checkpoint victory for one team pushes the other team back. It's very similar to Assault from UT, only smarter, and quicker.

The four Cog classes are the engineer (Baird), scout (Russian guy), Soldier/commando (Cole), and Medic (the girl). I found the cogs much harder to play then the locusts, whose variety of classes I preferred, but of the four I only really had meaningful time with the scout and the soldier/commando. The scout was a class made for people like me. You can climb walls and get to certain crows nests easier, and you have that nifty radar grenade I was telling you about. The biggest threat to these guys were the wretches, which share the wall climb ability. I liked the Cole class also simply because he was the only one that started with a Lancer and the ammo grenade toss was a team saver. His grenade launcher takes some getting used to, but fortunately I had years to master the eightball. Baird is useful obviously for his ability to repair fortifications, which are automatically deployed in this mode...though I kinda stuck out like a sore thumb when I used my torch. His turret is good in a pinch, think Team Fortress. It can get destroyed easy but you have a lot of freedom on placement, and its gunfire is almost insta kill on the most of the weaker locust types.

The locusts have a lot more classes than the cog, and the big bruiser types become available the better you play. Surprisingly I did very well with the ticker, whose job it is to eat fortifications and enemy grenades, the latter of which adds to your suicide bonus, something I did a alot. These classes are meant to die, but die well. I wasn't so good with the wretch, but you get the ability to scream/stun dudes and hop over fortifications, making them nimble and effective. They also are the only guys that can scale walls on the locusts end. I wasn't so great with their melee though. Grenadiers are grenadiers, closest class to a standard Cog loadout, and their ability to toss grenades makes them unique, as none of the cog classes have the frags in this mode. The Kantus is pretty much the same as it was in Beast Mode, but I found the heal move a little more dynamic, and you can use it to buff your teammates as well. I don't like the fact that I'm stuck with the classic hammerburst instead of the gorgon pistol though. Next is the Rager, which I found more effective as a sniper than using the Rage mode, but I need more practice with it. The only other classes I unlocked were the mauler and the centipede, and god is the centipede scary fun to use.

That's it so far. I won't have my final seal of approval until I finish the campaign and try this Survival Mode, so more on that later.
Last edited by Mister_Prophet on 18 Feb 2014, 19:38, edited 2 times in total.
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User avatar PromiserOfDeath
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Subject: Re: The Ballad of Baird

Post Posted: 21 Mar 2013, 08:04

R.I.P Unreal 3

User avatar Jigoku
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Subject: Re: The Ballad of Baird

Post Posted: 21 Mar 2013, 08:24

RIP Unreal *series.
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User avatar Mister_Prophet
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Subject: Re: The Ballad of Baird

Post Posted: 21 Mar 2013, 08:39

Go cry about it in another thread.
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UBerserker
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Subject: Re: The Ballad of Baird

Post Posted: 21 Mar 2013, 09:35

Cry elsewhere out of OFFTOPIC.

---

So the Arcade seems more like a Platinum Game campaign a la Vanquish, meaning the concept is gameplay/fun first then the rest (the Campaign is short too but replayable as fuck).

Are the Corpsers still playable in Overrun? The underground Spider things.

Definitely will pick this up then, I really like the sound of those random monster spawning battle mode in the Campaign, you don't see much stuff like this nowadays in games. And Baird and Cole are my favourite characters of the old team.
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User avatar Mister_Prophet
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Subject: Re: The Ballad of Baird

Post Posted: 21 Mar 2013, 17:12

UBerserker wrote:So the Arcade seems more like a Platinum Game campaign a la Vanquish, meaning the concept is gameplay/fun first then the rest (the Campaign is short too but replayable as fuck).


I can already tell about the pace of things, given how it's panning out, so I'd say about as long as Gears 3 campaign overall, but the integration of these SP mutators are really well thought out and certainly make the experience ten times as interesting for me. Plus, those randomized enemy appearances I mentioned...really good move. The vibe I'm getting is that they dismantled Horde 2.0 and blended it with the SP campaign and Survival.

UBerserker wrote:Are the Corpsers still playable in Overrun? The underground Spider things.


Yes they are but I did not get to unlock one of them yet myself. I have fought them, and tagging them with the scout's radar grenade shows them underground, which I thought was both awesome and scary. Once they get to the main objectives, like the centipede and maulers, you need to kill them quickly because it takes about a second for them to win the match.

UBerserker wrote:Definitely will pick this up then, I really like the sound of those random monster spawning battle mode in the Campaign, you don't see much stuff like this nowadays in games. And Baird and Cole are my favourite characters of the old team.


Surprisingly Cole has been quiet in the campaign, but we haven't gotten to his "testimony" part of the story yet. Also, I noticed on various reloads at checkpoints that the dialogue Baird says in his voice overs changes, so you don't hear the ssme crap over and over...but variations of the truth.

I'm gonna play more tonight but if you have any other questions than ask me.
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UBerserker
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Subject: Re: The Ballad of Baird

Post Posted: 21 Mar 2013, 21:04

I can see they were definitely going for the replayability after knowing this different dialogues matter.
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User avatar Mister_Prophet
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Subject: Re: The Ballad of Baird

Post Posted: 22 Mar 2013, 21:34

Okay some hands on the new Not-Kinda Horde mode:

Survival

Okay some things you probably know already:

-Ten rounds instead of fifty
-No money system
-No obtaining fortifications (they exist already)
-No changing/finding weapons in the zone
-Class Based
-No respawn penalties

Now, the actual hands on. They weren't lying when they said this gametype was hard. It is rough. It got to the point in Horde where me and my buddies got so good at it we were used to hitting the fifty waves on Insane and used all the debilitating mutators. The first thing we did was load up three guys (AI controls the characters you don't have players for) and we picked Hardcore to start (the available hardest out of the box). These things....pushed....our....shit....in.

A big part of orientation is getting used to the classes. This mode is way more tactical than Horde, with each class having very important responsibilities. I grew comfortable with Baird, whose gnasher shotgun and turret began to work like clockwork for me, but my job was repairing the fortifications so at the outset I was mostly running from gate to gate, fixing them with my blowtorch and counting on support from medic buffs and cover fire. The way it turned out for us was that despite my efforts, the gates would simply get trashed and once a fortification is completely destroyed, that's it. So knowing this, it was a matter of seeing how long I could keep them standing. Besides gate tending, Baird was actually a good assault class given that he is the only one with a gnasher and I found I was on spot for taking out mid-tier enemies like grenadiers, ragers, Kantuses, bloodmounts, and Kantuses riding Bloodmounts (yeah). My turret was just as fragile as it was in overtime mode (like the eholes/generators you can't repair it) but god damn, was it pivotal as an extra gun in a pinch. My biggest worry was the brusier types, like the mauler and corpser who could take out my freshly repaired fortifications in a tearful instant.

Cole is goddamn invaluable, as you and your team are going to go through ammo. I wouldn't even play the mode unless you have a human on Cole detail, and whoever gets Cole has to be johnny on the spot. Ammo tosses are timed so a bad throw can cost you a wave if say, Baird doesn't get a gnasher refill or Padlov (Russian guy) doesn't get his sniper ammo. Cole also has to be the most aggressive guy, or one of them. You just need his grenades when groups show up near gates or when the big boys show up. No Joke. I didn't play as the girl, Sofia, but I can testify that she is way more useful in Survival than I noticed in Overtime. When my Baird had to fall back to combat mode because we lost a gate, me and a friend were able to preserve a location for two whole waves with him heal/buffing me and me tanking enemies with the gnasher at point blank. If you're playing the scout you are a little more independent than the other classes, although you are still reliant on ammo tosses by Cole. His starting ammo supply ain't so great so it's a good idea to get a supply right away or certainly between waves. I said before that the rifle he uses doesn't have the punch of the Longshot, but you really need to get good at pulling headshots. I don't think I would suggest people use him unless they can do this on a dime, because at the rate enemies appear and rush the defenses, picking at body shots just takes too long and wastes too much ammo. His grenades are pretty useful to the team for spotting enemies through walls but they are easily devoured by tickers, so smart players will learn fast to place their tosses on spots just above the ground or above doorways.

The gametype works similarly to Overrun, only as the cog. You have three locations per map, and you get pushed back to a different spot if you lose your central defense point (e-hole covers/generators). The objective is to survive all ten waves before the enemy is able to push you back to the last defense point and take it out. The best comparison I can make in regards to challenge is Left 4 Dead, where you wanted as many human buddies as possible. I think the mode works best with a full team of guys mixing and matching strategies. The three of us worked well with Baird, Cole, and Sofia, but I would have killed to have another human Baird with me. In terms of the AI, they are okay. Not quite as reliable as the bots from the first Unreal Tournament, and different classes perform better here. The computer more or less sucks at repairing as Baird but are okay with deploying turrets. AI Cole is good for ammo drops and not much else. I never noticed the AI Russian doing anything other than dying or tossing radar grenades. Of the AI, Sofia is the most noticable for the med grenades, but generally...they are there as a last resort and you are going to want friends.

Do I miss Horde 2.0? Yes. Do I think Survival is a fantastic gametype? Yes.
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User avatar TheIronKnuckle
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Subject: Re: The Ballad of Baird

Post Posted: 25 Mar 2013, 08:52

Your posts are also so deliciously detailed and well thoughtout/planned :D
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And only idiots know everything

Z-enzyme
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Subject: Re: The Ballad of Baird

Post Posted: 25 Mar 2013, 09:09

I strongly believe that Prophet should write game reviews for magazines. Or... Does he do that already?

UBerserker
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Subject: Re: The Ballad of Baird

Post Posted: 25 Mar 2013, 17:10

The campaign is lovely.
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User avatar Mister_Prophet
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Subject: Re: The Ballad of Baird

Post Posted: 26 Mar 2013, 06:17

Yes, they really hit it out of the park. I really appreciate the little horde-styled interludes in certain areas.
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