Shadow of the Past

He was one of the bigger and uglier Locust that we had seen up to that point. His stoic ruthlessness was evident from the first time we saw him as he laid waste to Gears left and right, protected by an all consuming cloud of Kryll that he could control with a flick of his fingers. Only after a barrage of Torque Bow arrows into his thick hide could we finally claim a small victory in the war for Sera. And even though he never spoke more than some unintelligible grunts, his mere presence and difficulty catapulted him up as one of the better video game villains we ever had to face off against. But so many questions always surrounded the great Locust General RAAM. Until now.

The first campaign based DLC for Gears of War 3 is a prequel that takes us through events all the way back before the very first Gears of War. Shortly after E-Day, Gears everywhere are trying to find survivors who cannot defend themselves and get them to safety. This is where we find Zeta Squad, comprised of some old and new faces alike, as they try to evacuate a city before an approaching Kryllstorm that will consumes all human life, paving the way for the city to become yet another Locust overrun fortification. The Kryllstorm is being led by General RAAM. Opposing him directly in Zeta we have Minh Young Kim from the original Gears, Tai Kaliso from Gears 2, Barrick from the Gears comic books, and the new Alicia Velera rounding out the squad.

What is great about this DLC is that while it is telling the story of some great characters who we only had fleeting moments with in the main trilogy and fleshes out their stories, you’re basically getting an additional Act with 3-4 hours of content that fits perfectly into the Gears mythos and that alone makes this worth it for Gears fans.

But what really makes this DLC special is how it takes Gears 3 attributes and mixes them with Gears 1 moments that make perfect sense. Representing Gears 3, we were given segments to actually play as RAAM and finally feel the true power of the Locust General as we control the Kryll now, giving us the balance we found in Beast Mode vs Horde Mode. Meanwhile, we’re thrown back into Gears 1 situations like plugging emergence holes and ducking and dodging RAAM’s Kryll, giving us that strong sense of nostalgia that makes us appreciate even more how far the franchise has come. There are other little moments that remind us of scenes and scenarios from both ends of the franchise, but I’m not going to spoil any of the surprises that the DLC has in store for players.

Along with this, there are the infamous multiplayer features that are staples of Gears DLC. With the pack comes the chocolate weapons skin option, basically making your weapons a rich, dark brown color and making you almost want to take a bite out of your Lancer Chainsaw Rifle yourself. Not recommended in game, of course, although Epic may want to look into chocolate Lancer licensing for real for next Easter. Those Peeps will never see what’s coming to them. Unless they’re Locust Peeps shaped like tickers…

Anyway, another key component for the DLC’s multiplayer additions will be to actually play as RAAM and the members of Zeta squad in multiplayer versus and Horde modes and allow those fans of Minh to maybe exact revenge on RAAM or simply re-enact that grueling scene from Gears 1 where RAAM shows off his brutal might against Minh.

All in all, if you are a Gears of War fan, this is a great little untold story in the timeline of the series and when you throw in new characters and weapon skins for multiplayer, this is a must have for all fans of the series and is most definitely worth the price tag.

SUMMARY: An entire new act in the Gears’ universe highlighting some old favorite characters is more than worth the price for anyone who is a fan of the series.

  • THE GOOD: Fan favorite characters return to flesh out some more of the Gears’ backstory
  • THE BAD: Being a prequel, you know how the story already has to end
  • THE UGLY: The exploding human bodies after they are swarmed by RAAM’s Kryll