Tag Archive: gears of war 3

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.

Ah, the end of the year. A wonderful time to look back on all the gaming that was had this year—and to commend the best of the best that consumed all of our days and most of our nights. Or, my days and nights, anyway. Here are my personal top 5 videogames from the year that was 2011—those that helped ensure another year of me sustaining my Casper-like complexion.

Ray’s Top 5 of 2011:

#1: Batman: Arkham City

Formats: PS3, Xbox 360
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Rocksteady Studios
The greatest comic book fan service we’ve ever seen for a comic franchise also takes action-adventure gaming to a new level. After playing Arkham City, I couldn’t help but compare every other melee combat system I played—and none held a candle to this gem.

#2: Gears of War 3

Formats: Xbox 360
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: Epic Games
A perfect series finale that ties up all the loose ends, Gears of War 3 took great elements from its predecessors to create one of the most cinematic single-player experiences available while being tempered with one of the most robust multiplayer suites available.

#3: Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

Formats: Xbox 360, PS3
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
A perfect ending for Ezio Auditore’s story, Revelations sets us up for a thrilling conclusion while still providing a brilliantly told historical thriller that’ll only have you craving more. Combine that with an addictive, novel multiplayer, and you’ve got one of the better all-around experiences this year.

#4: Mortal Kombat

Formats: Xbox 360, PS3
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: NetherRealm Studios
The rebirth of one of gaming’s classic fighting franchises was memorable for many reasons. A coherent story mode that made sense and a return to crisp, combo-laden 2D combat were two of the main keys, but when you couple that with solid extra features and a large (but not obnoxiously so) roster, this was a clear Flawless Victory.

#5: Dead Space 2

Formats: Xbox 360, PS3
Publisher: EA
Developer: Visceral Games
From what might be the most intense opening sequence I’ve ever played, Dead Space 2 pulled me in like few survival horror games do anymore. Javelin Gun for the win!

Ray’s Off-Topic Awards:

New Character That I Wouldn’t Throw a Life Preserver If They Were Drowning: Caddoc – Hunted: The Demon’s Forge
Whether it was whining about bugs or contemplating the meaning of life, Caddoc was a little too smart for his own good as the bruiser of Hunted: The Demon’s Forge—and he was better at getting on my nerves more than he was at slicing apart his enemies.

Popsicle’s “The Colors, Duke, The Colors!” Most Colorful Game of the Year: de Blob 2
A cute story to entertain the kiddies with some decent platforming for older gamers, De Blob 2 features bright, colorful landscapes of reds, blues, and greens you create as you progress in this interactive color-by-numbers family-friendly adventure.

Best Job at Filling John Madden’s Commentary Void: Bill Clement – “We’ll be tied going into the third as long as we’re still tied here at the end of the second.” – NHL 12
Every now and then, someone will step up and let their own backward logic escape their mouths. Naturally, that always reminds us of John Madden, the all-time master of puzzling color commentary, and this year, NHL 12’s Bill Clement went five-hole on us for the easy tally.


What do you guys think of Ray’s picks? Let him know on Twitter (@RayCarsillo) or drop in a comment below!

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


More gear for your Gears

It’s pretty common knowledge that I’m somewhat of a collector. I even admit as much in this month’s issue of EGM’s roundtable discussion (Issue #251, available now on newsstands). So when it was said that Gears of War 3 would be coming out with an Epic Edition, well, it was a no-brainer what version of the game I’d be getting, and fortunately, I was able to get mine a little early.

So incase you don’t know, or are still on the fence, here is a breakdown with a couple of pictures of what comes in the $149.99 Epic Edition of Gears of War 3.

  • A copy of Gears of War 3 (kind of obvious)
  • The Octus Service Medal of Adam Fenix, Marcus’s father (made of real metal)
  • A code for an Adam Fenix multiplayer skin (look on the actual Octus medal)
  • A code for five special weapon skins (Lancer, Retro Lancer, Hammerburst, Sawed-off Shotgun, and Gnasher Shotgun)
  • Several photos of Adam Fenix in his traditional Gears armor, his last will and testament, blueprints for the Hammer of Dawn, which he helped launch (and fans of the fiction will know later used to wipe out most of Sera with in an attempt to stop the Locust), a personal letter to Marcus, and a certificate for the Octus Medal
  • A COG flag
  • A special book detailing how Gears of War evolved into the powerhouse franchise it is today with foreword by Adam Sessler
  • A model of Marcus resting on some molten rock with imulsion leaking out and surrounded by a diorama featuring Dom, Anya, and several other Gears.

All in all, definitely a good bang for your buck if you are a true Gearhead (which I happen to be). What was especially enjoyable was all the references to the expanded universe novels by Karen Traviss (who also wrote Gears of War 3) in the collection of goodies, showing that this was targeted at the true diehards of this stellar franchise. So if you have the extra cash, as it is a purchase that is worth more than two full retail games to begin with, I’d strongly recommend this addition to any Gears fan’s collection.

So what do you all think of the Epic Edition? Is it worth your cash? Are you planning on getting one? Have you already pre-ordered it? Let us know with comments below!

Originally Published: April 18, 2011, on Comicvine.com

I normally would have a “Comics to Video Games” article ready for you folks right about now (and don’t worry I’m working on the next one), but I was reading an interview the other day with Ian Flynn, a writer best known for his current run on the Sonic the Hedgehog series published by Archie Comics, and found out he’s going to be the main writer behind a new monthly Mega Man comic book series.

This latest video game series from Archie Comics comes out in the beginning of May and it will chronicle the Blue Bomber’s run through his nearly dozen games, starting with Mega Man 1 playing out across the first four issues, and will answer the big questions, like how no one was able to figure out when Dr. Wily was up to no good. It’s not like he had ten giant skull shaped fortresses built. Oh, wait. Hmmm. Also, I wonder if there will be any mention of Mega Man Soccer in an annual or something.

Anyway, this got me thinking about the flood of both monthly and limited series comic books we’ve seen in recent years based on video games. City of Heroes, Halo, inFamous, Gears of War, Prototype, and even DCU Online, which of course is a comic based off a video game based off of comics. So what’s with this sudden influx of video game based comics at our local retailers?

Now, comics based off of video games are nothing new. After all, Sonic, has had his own ongoing series for nearly twenty years now. But to see so many new comics based on games is a little off putting. An idealist might say comics are simply being used as tools to help flesh out stories that can’t be fully told in a 15-hour game. But what if they are really being used just as promotional items to bolster game sales instead? Or are comic companies trying to jump on the bandwagon of a popular game franchise in the hopes of making a profit, knowing that the key comic book and video game demographics are one in the same? Or maybe it is a little of all of the above?

Can ongoing video game comics also hurt the base franchise as there could be unintentional limits placed on the game developers? There would have to be constant communication between both the game developers and the comic book writing and editorial teams in order to ensure that what is being done in the comics isn’t radically different from what is happening or going to happen in sequel video games upon their release.

If Josh Ortega kills off someone in the Gears of War comic, he had better let Cliff Bleszinski and Karen Traviss know so that person doesn’t show up in Gears of War 3, otherwise there are going to be some mighty ticked off Gearheads out there. And what if Cliff had planned on making that character a major player in the Gears universe? How much say does the original game creators have when it comes to forwarding the plot of a comic that is being looked at as canon? It just seems that adding more moving parts to such a complex and detailed story might come off as limiting from a creative standpoint, especially while the main series is still really ongoing and even while just trying to flesh out previously mentioned references from the original property (like the Pendulum Wars for Gears).

And this brings us back to my inspiration. Mega Man. Does doing a comic that follows, for the most part, a story we already know lessen the mass appeal of a comic? Why should I read something I’ve already played through several hundred times? Can you really flesh out a character that much with a few thought bubbles while it’s blasting another foe into oblivion? If anything, it might take away from those original gaming experiences, especially from the old NES days, where the player was left to their own devices to fill in gaps in a protagonist’s personality and whatnot. So are original stories that add to and build on top of already existing canon the only real option in that case to ensure a profit will be made and to protect a property?

Despite this, does every new video game need a comic book? I read the six-issue limited series for Prototype and I felt what I got from that comic was not worth the price I paid as a lead in to the actual game. In fact, the comic ruined the game experience some as it spoiled a lot of the game’s surprises. The same goes for the Gears of War comic. Some issues have been great, but I didn’t need a one-issue back-story on Tai. I don’t need a character that is dead to be fleshed out. It just reeks of trying to turn a quick buck if you ask me. It dilutes the potential of building the franchise naturally and feels very forced in some cases.

But I really don’t mind franchises diversifying, and actually enjoy seeing new adventures with my favorite characters that continue the story beyond the original product (you should see my Star Wars expanded universe novel collection). I do feel that there should be some sort of criteria before a franchise is expanded though like with a game based comic. Wait until the main story, in most cases nowadays the story being a trilogy, is complete before you start filling in the gaps. Imagine if a comic or novel like Shadows of the Empire in Star Wars, which takes places between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, had been released in 1981, right between Empire and Jedi. I think that it coming after the fact made it much more powerful and interesting. Similar to the games Halo: Reach and Halo 3: ODST. They were better stories because the universe had already been fully established and then writers went back to fill in the blanks.

So what do you guys think? Are you fans of video game based comics? Are there too many out there flooding the market? What should be the criteria for a game based comic to be published? And how much creative freedom should the writing and editorial teams have with long established characters like Mega Man? Will you buy the Mega Man monthly upon its release? Let us know with comments below!

Originally Published: March 1, 2011, on youtube.com/RCars4885

I come to you once again with your weekly geek fix from my mother’s basement! To kick off Volume 2 this week and shake off the rust, I review Gotham City Sirens #20 from DC Comics and Bulletstorm for the Xbox 360. My hot chick pick of the week is Leeann Tweeden.