The Horde Command Pack, the first DLC content to release for Gears of War 3 was flat out, not worth the money. It's content that should have been included in the game. In fact, it was made up of content included in the game but was intentionally locked to charge players for it aftewards for use in one mode, while the maps it offered were given out to everyone for free in the other mode.
That was a bad way to start the Gears of War 3 season's pass offerings and Epic Games is determined to make up for it with the second set of DLC. Titled 'Raam's Shadow,' the second Gears of War 3 downloadable content comes next week with a hefty 2GB download, adding several hours of campaign play.
Gears of War 3's main campaign is divided into five acts. Raam's Shadow is an entirely new act, set before the events of the trilogy, on the day after Emergence Day. Instead of the characters of Delta Squad we know and love from the trilogy, players take command of Zeta squad, a unit comprised of familiar characters from the series and books. Player one controls Michael Barrick (the bald, bearded character featured on the season's pass cover art), with Minh Young Kim (Gears of War), Tai Kaliso (Gears of War 2), and new character Alicia Valera rounding out the squad.
The story of Raam's Shadow is simple. The Locusts are invading and attempting to ink out the sky so the Kryll can begin annihilating the human population of Sera. Zeta squad is helping the evacuation of Ilima City and players witness what the cities of Sera looked like before the war took its toll. Players even get to see the origins of Jace Stratton, further tying the DLC into continuity.
Raam, the primary antagonist of Gears of War 1 not only returns as the villain of these added chapters, but for the first time in the franchise, players actually have the opportunity to play as the Locust (including Raam himself) in the campaign. While the majority of gameplay puts players in the shoes of Zeta squad - with 4-player co-op support - missions do switch back and forth between controlling Zeta and controlling Raam's group as they clear out the city streets of COG forces, taking orders on the fly from Queen Myrrah as they setup ink emplacements to darken the skies.
Players playing co-op in these missions will have two of the additional players jumping into the heavy shoes of Maulers and the other getting to command a Theron Elite who wields a unique weapon: a sawed-off shotgun with forward-mounted blades. If shotguns weren't already dangerous enough, players can now charge enemies with this unit and impale them. This weapon is exclusive to the Raam's Shadow DLC campaign and will not be a part of the multiplayer component for obvious balancing concerns.
Since Raam's Shadow is campaign-focused, it does not feature any new multiplayer maps. Since a few were just released over the American Thanksgiving weekend for free, it's not needed. Instead, the DLC also includes six multiplayer character skins and one new chocolate-themed weapon skin just in time for the holidays. There are also 250 achievements points to earn.
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Gears of War 3‘s ‘RAAM’s Shadow’ DLC will be available on December 13th for 1,200 Microsoft Points, and will be automatically downloaded for those who purchased the Season Pass.
UPDATE: Read our full Raam's Shadow Review for our thoughts.
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