GAME REVIEW: Gears of War 3 – RAAM’s Shadow DLC

Fans of third-person shooters have become accustomed with getting the same, stale DLC over the years – usually new maps, but every once in a while, an extra game mode or weapon is thrown in for good measure – which is why an add-on like “RAAM’s Shadow” is such a welcome surprise. A five-chapter campaign that takes about three hours to complete, the story shifts focus from Marcus Fenix and Delta Squad to follow the exploits of another group of COGs (Zeta Squad) as they attempt to evacuate Ilima City in anticipation of a Kryll storm being implemented by the Queen’s go-to badass, General RAAM. But wait — isn’t General RAAM dead? Yes, he is, but this takes place before the events of the original game, shortly after E-Day.

Though Zeta Squad doesn’t quite have the personality of Delta (although it’s probably unfair to compare the two considering you spend so little time with the former), it does feature several familiar faces like Lt. Minh Young Kim from the first “Gears of War,” Tai Kaliso from “Gears 2,” and cigar-chomping Michael Barrick from the “Gears” comic book series. Rounding out the quartet is female COG Alicia Valera, whose only real purpose in the story is connected to another “Gears” character from the latest installment.

While diehard fans will certainly enjoy the prequel-esque nature of the campaign due to how smartly it weaves into the fabric of the “Gears of War” universe, the highlight for a lot of people will be getting to play as General RAAM himself, who you take control of in corresponding missions throughout the campaign. But although RAAM offers a unique gameplay experience, it’s not very challenging. Sure, you’ll have fun charging at enemies with his oversized knife, or mincing them to pieces with his ever-present shield of Kryll, but because he’s near-invincible, you never feel the same sense of danger as you do while playing as a COG. Most people won’t mind, however, because “RAAM’s Shadow” is still good value for its price, with additional goodies like six multiplayer character skins and a new chocolate-themed weapon skin. If this is what fans can expect from future DLC, then you might want to think again about picking up a Season Pass.