Return to Sera

When Gears of War 3 launched in September of last year, we were promised a string of high-quality DLC that would expand both the single player campaign and the top of the line multiplayer. Ever true to their word, Epic has delivered every step of the way and that streak continues now with the Forces of Nature DLC.

The final piece of the Season Pass offer (not to say there won’t be more DLC in the future), this DLC, priced at 800 Microsoft Points ($10) for non-Season Pass subscribers, provides five more new maps that can be played in all multiplayer modes, sees the return of the fan favorite Guardian mode, and includes seven new gun skins and four new character skins. Not to mention all you achievement hunters out there will have fun going after 10 more achievements for a possible 250 points from this DLC just like all the others before it.

For those who are unfamiliar with Guardian, it is basically a game mode where one player on each team of five is named “Leader” and the rest of the team has infinite respawns as long as that player remains standing. Forcing players to balance going on the offensive to try to remove the opponents’ leader, and to stay back and help protect your own leader, who is permanently marked with a bright star above their heads so both teams know where they are at all times, is the beauty of this game mode. Sometimes entire matches can be finished in five minutes, while other times you’re looking more at a series of 10-15 minute rounds depending on skill and play styles.

The five new maps are also something to behold and can greatly affect matches due to their stark differences. Three of them (Artillery, Cove, and Aftermath) are completely original while we see Raven Down from Gears 1 and Jacinto from Gears 2 re-imagined to the point where they are unrecognizable. Raven Down and Cove are extremely tiny maps forcing constant confrontation while Jacinto has many nooks and crannies to dig into and provide a natural formidable defense. Artillery is also much more spread out than any other map and encourages your team to move as a single unit to hopefully pick off your foes whereas Aftermath has a lot of high points perfect for sniping.

The skins are also nice touches and I know a great many people were thrilled to see Mechanic Baird as there were sometimes entire teams of Delta’s resident wise-guy as I was playing. Along with this, Commando Dom (best described in the Gears novels), Savage Grenadier Elite, and Savage Hunter were also included in the skins.

So how does this latest Gears DLC compare to those that have come before it? Quite simply, it provides the same level of quality we’ve come to expect from Epic with the Gears franchise. There were, however, a couple of Day 1 glitches that popped up in the post-game stat tracking, but I’m sure that’ll be patched sooner rather than later and really doesn’t take away from the overall game play experience. So, if you are a fan of Gears of War and find yourself easily sucked into online match after match, much like yours truly who kept saying ‘just one more’ until 5AM yesterday evening (morning?), then this is easily a must have.

SUMMARY: With new and re-imagined maps, the return of Guardian mode, and some new weapon and character skins, the Forces of Nature DLC maintains the streak of high-quality DLC that Epic has already delivered to us for Gears of War 3.

  • THE GOOD: Return of classic Guardian mode
  • THE BAD: Day 1 stat tracking glitches
  • THE UGLY: This is the last DLC of the Gears 3 Season Pass

SCORE: 9.0

Gears of War 3: Forces of Nature DLC is an Xbox 360 exclusive.