Gears of War 3: Fenix Rising Map Pack Review

That doesn’t mean any of the maps play badly, and Epic does still have the high level of polish available for all five. Depths, for example, takes place in an undersea facility and brings a great BioShock air to the proceedings. The map itself has high ceilings and large, open areas, but a central section that allows for quite a bit of flanking. Slab, on the other hand, the map modeled after a Seran prison, is made up of tighter corridors and drab walls, and has a lot of situations in which players need to bring the fight to the enemy from flanking positions in order to be victorious.

The final map, Escalation, makes a return from Gears of War 1. It’s set on Marcus Fenix’s father’s property and consists of a massive staircase, with sniper rifles at the bottom near one spawn and fewer weapons at the high vantage point at the top. Escalation was already a fairly well-balanced map, made more so by the new distribution of weapons and the nerfing that’s been done to the Longshot since the original game. It also has a new coat of paint, like other revived Gears maps, and plays as well as it ever did.

All the maps are fun and competent editions to the Gears 3 lineup, and a couple are fairly pretty (read: not so brown) to boot. Taken on the whole, they’re not quite as inventive as some of the other offerings Gears 3 has thrown out, but they still offer lots of strategic combat opportunities, and they’re worth a download for any Gears fan looking for some fresh ground to bloody.

Fenix Rising also offers a little something more for the most hardcore of Gears fans, although making it part of a DLC release feels like a bit of a money-grubbing move on Epic’s part. The pack includes a “Re-up” option that lets players who max out their multiplayer level to start over, gaining a new icon that indicates their level of dedication. It’s almost exactly like the Call of Duty series’ Prestige mode, except with Gears of War 3, you have to pay for the Prestige of being recognized as a high-skill, long-time player. It’s fine if you’re already into buying the latest DLC package (or if you have the Season Pass for Gears 3), but it’s still kind of a rough way to treat Gears fans by making them pay for the privilege of continuing to advance their online profiles. This is the sort of thing that should be available to everyone.

Still, at a cost of just $10, Fenix Rising is another worthy addition to the multiplayer offerings for the game. They live up to the quality of previous Gears maps and bring more variety to all three multiplayer modes. The Re-up feature is a nice addition too, even if you shouldn’t have to pay for it, and should encourage players to keep in the game for a while to come. As always, though, the worthiness of the DLC pack’s purchase is directly proportional to how much you enjoy multiplayer Gears 3.

Pros:

  • Five quality maps
  • Great price
  • With three multiplayer modes, adds a lot of value
  • “Re-up” capability is nice

Cons:

  • Maps aren’t as distinct or interesting as earlier offerings
  • Re-up should have been free

Final Score: 80/100

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