In the shoes of a locust
Raam’s Shadow (downloadable single player content for For: Xbox 360 From: Epic Games Cost: 1200 points (or free if you bought a season pass)
The last time Epic did single player downloadable content (DLC) for Gears of War it was content rejected from a game and then added as ‘‘new’’ content. But Raam’s Shadow is different: it’s custom made for GOW3, stars perhaps one of the series’ most recognisable villains and adds to the backstory. This is the sort of downloadable content that I’m prepared to pay for.
Designed as a prequel to the Gears trilogy, Raam’s Shadow takes place in the hours following Emergence Day, when the locust first revealed themselves to the Seran population. Players take the role of Michael Barrick, a balding member of Zeta squad. There’s no Marcus Fenix, Dominic Santiago or Augustus Cole in this content.
This is the first time Barrick has appeared in a Gears game, but he will be well known to fans of the comic book series. Joining him is Lt Minh Young Kim, who had a fatal run-in with General Raam in the first Gears game, and Tai Kaliso, who met his fate in Gears 2.
Raam’s Shadow also features one character who is introduced about the mid-point and who gets to play a much larger role in later Gears games – but I won’t spoil that for you – and the overarching story in this DLC is that Zeta squad has to evacuate survivors from Ilima before a kryll storm engulfs the city.
Gears fans will remember kryll are vicious bat-like creatures that had a great section in the original Gears of War, where you had to use light to avoid them.
The DLC takes about three hours to complete and spans about five hours in the story. Fans of the Gears games will feel right at home with the game play, but Raam’s Shadows brings a couple of new elements to the table.
One element is you get to use the devastating weapon, the Hammer of Dawn, but from a top-down perspective – blasting locusts forces, and secondly, you get to control General Raam as he forces his way through Ilima city against COG forces.
Raam is a formidable combatant and he’s surrounded by a shield made of kryll, which not only protect him from arms fire from COG soldiers, but can also be used to unleash an attack on foes, engulfing them in a black cloud and exploding them in a puff of red mist.
Raam also has a fairly devastating knife attack on downed COG. He moves slowly on foot and never takes cover – he doesn’t need cover – but it’s a nice touch playing from the perspective of a locust commander.
Raam’s Shadow doesn’t bring anything revolutionary to the Gears series, but it adds much needed backstory to the series.
I also liked some of the little touches like Zeta squad setting off metal detectors in the Ilima Savings and Trust bank as they searched for survivors.
Multiplayer fans will also be pleased to know that the DLC brings six new multiplayer characters and a new weapons skin pack.
Fans will do themselves a favour by downloading this content.
Raam’s Shadow, for Gears of War 3: Evacuate survivors from Ilima before a kryll storm engulfs the city. Downloadable content worth paying for.