"RAAM's Shadow"'s greatest strength is its premise. A prequel set in the hours following Emergence Day, the first piece of campaign DLC for Gears of War 3 hints at what Ilima City looked like before it was destroyed, both by the Locust and the COG's scorched-earth reaction. There's a sense of melancholy that permeates the three-hour campaign as you run through a city you know will soon be ruined, accompanied by characters who will soon be dead.
Gears of War 3: RAAM's Shadow
There's a discernible rhythm to every level of design in the the Gears series. There's the ebb and flow of intense firefighting and measured walking; the surprisingly steady tempo of shooting, taking cover, gaining ground, conceding ground, flanking, and armadillo-rolling-into-shotgunning; the delicate timing of the active reload system. High-level Gears play has a way of mesmerizing people with its locomotion.
In almost all respects besides bodycount, the humans fare better than the Locust. Playing as the titular RAAM seems like it should be fun, but it’s not.
It’s more interesting to notice that “RAAM’s Shadow” feels and plays more like the first Gears of War than the third, visuals and engine aside. Gears 1 had a unity and cohesion of both level design and mission structure that, I think, went missing in 2 and 3 but returns in “Shadow,” perhaps because of the DLC’s urban landscape. While the level design of 3 feels busy and trench-like, most of the original Gears and “Shadow” feel more open, like an arena. It’s less about winning and maintaining ground than it is using cover to flank and maneuver, and the firefights never feel staid or stale.
THE VERDICT - Gears of War 3: RAAM's Shadow
Reviewed by Joseph Leray
|7:00 PM on 05.23.2013|
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