Gears of War 3 is a great game. I awarded it a perfect score back in September, and I stand by my decision to do so. While its by no means perfect - an oxymoron, yes - its simply a fantastic package I had very little issue with. I love the visuals, the controls, the minute-to-minute gameplay and combat. Hell, I even like the characters a little, and I completed a Creative Writing degree. I should, by all accounts, hate Epic's strained, cliche writing; but I don't.
So, as you might expect, I greeted news of RAAM's Shadow's announcement with much fanfare - consisting of me cheering on my seat at home, alone in my room. I'm not big on map packs, but additional story content? My kinda' thing. With Gears 3 ending on a particularly conclusive note, Epic have wisely dialed back the clock to when the Locust threat first emerged, and thrown in a particularly delicious new character to muck around with.
RAAM's Shadow is set in the days following Emergence Day, when the Locust first rose from the Hollow to wage a genocidal war. As part of Zeta Squad, you control Michael Barrick, a former Stranded who grudgingly joined the CoG's 'Operation Lifeboat' and became a Gear. Barrick is a well-loved character from the comics, notorious for his brute strength and fearless attitude towards the Locust.
But Illima is in trouble. The beautiful metropolis is now but a deserted ruin, crawling with Locust setting up shop. Zeta have been sent in to assist with evacuation procedures, with a Kryll storm brewing on the horizon, threatening to engulf Illima at nightfall. The arrival of a certain General RAAM only serves to exacerbate the situation, as he personally leads the Locust forces toward capturing Illima, once and for all.Click here to read more...
Platform: Xbox 360
Developer: Epic Games
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
It could be argued that Gears of War has had the biggest influence on the current generation of consoles. After all, it popularized the cover-shooter template, prompting a surge of copycats and followups. It was the first game to showcase the visual merits of the now ubiquitous Unreal Engine 3. And it's Horde mode, while not original conceptually, has no doubt been retrofitted into countless titles since.
So, as you can imagine, Gears of War 3 has quite the burden on its improbably muscular shoulders. Not only must it continue in the fine tradition of its predecessors, but it must also bring the convoluted story to an epic close. Having been afforded ample time by a mid-year delay to finally realize their vision without compromise, can Epic send the trilogy out on a high note, or will it simply fall flat?
Gears 3 picks up two years on from the sinking of Jacinto. Marcus, haunted by visions of his dead father, now patrols the CNV Sovereign, the former Coalition of Ordered Government's flagship carrier. Sera is in dire straits, with the Lambent infestation all but claiming what the Gears once called home, hence their mobile base of operations out at sea. But when Chairman Prescott returns, bringing evidence of Marcus' father, Adam, alive but not very well in Locust captivity, Fenix resolves to find his father and retrieve the solution to the Lambent problem.
Click here for more from Felix on Gears of War 3...