So... it's old news that I love the Gears of War series. I mean I seriously love it. I got into console games because my better half got me playing Gears of War. I went to PAX Prime in 2011, and the highlight of my trip was playing Gears of War 3 and kicking all kinds of ass at it.
Part of why I love it is that it treats its female characters with respect. Epic took notice of all the women who played it when they were making Gears 3, and we got the awesome that is four playable female characters. They told us that we had a place in the fight, that Gears belonged to us as well as our male compatriots.
Okay, let's leave aside the usual criticism of the game itself (spoiler: it's kinda crap). It's far too short. The writing is god awful. The voice sync with the character models is horrible. And they added a single female character called Sofia, and made her cliched and stupid and gave her skin tight armor that emphasized her ass.
Do not ask how fucking annoyed I am that this game was made and thus tainted my enjoyment of Gears of War. Just read this article, and you will have absorbed my general opinion of it. As far as I'm concerned, this game was never made and I will not write of it again after finishing this review.
Can you play a female character?
If you're playing four player co-op during the main campaign, and if you pick one of two female characters in the multiplayer. Yawn.
Are the women sexualized?
Yes and I am so fucking disappointed by it. Sofia, the female character in the main campaign, wanders about the place in skin-tight pants and sleek armor where the guys have the usual big chunky Gears of War armor. Skin-tight pants are not appropriate attire for a fucking warzone.
Is there a similar level of customization for the female characters as for male characters?
Yes, which is practically none.
Are the numbers of NPCs balanced between males and females, and do they have a similar overall level of power?
No. There's two, total, and one doesn't show up in the story. During the main campaign, Sofia is a cadet who's ordered around, pushed around, and even has her personal life put on show at one stage during the trial of Echo Squad. Impressed I am not.
None. I can't decide if this is a good thing or not, considering the quality of writing in this game.
Forget this. Go buy Gears of War 1, 2, and 3. Play them start to finish and admire the general awesome. If you've already got this game, take a moment to berate yourself for spending your cash on this silly crap, and go trade it in for something else. GoW: Judgment isn't as overtly sexist as many other games I've encountered, but it's still far below par for a Gears title and I regret that I wasted a weekend on the main campaign.