Gears of War 3: RAAM’s Shadow DLC Hands-On Preview
RAAM is basically a juggernaut and nigh indestructible, but that doesn’t diminish the sick glee you’ll get from using him. Nothing can stand before him as long as you’re smart about how you use your Kryll shield. You can use the Kryll to eat the drivers of the COG’s Silverback robotic power-suit weapons, or knock Raven helicopters out of the air. You just need to be careful of fire and explosions, as they’ll send your Kryll scattering in fear and leave you vulnerable.
RAAM chapters are interspersed with chapters played as Zeta Squad, and despite playing for one side and then the other, the DLC pack hangs together pretty well. You might be directly at odds with your former goals from one chapter to the next, but that fact doesn’t necessarily negate the story being told. After all, we already know how this ends — in Gears 1, RAAM kills Kim and then Marcus and Dom kill RAAM. Everything we’re seeing here is already a foregone conclusion.
What excites me about RAAM’s Shadow, more than I thought it would, is that the DLC takes some of Gears 3′s improvements to the single-player campaign and applies them to Gears 1′s world. Fighting Locust as they climb out of emergence holes (and failing to plug those holes, creating larger problems for yourself) reminded me a lot of the original game and why I loved it so much. But you’ll still see some of the new editions, like some of the weapons that made it into Gears 3 and some of the newer enemies from the latter entries in the series.
Hopefully RAAM’s Shadow pays off what it sets up in the early going of the DLC pack — a high-stakes battle between the unstoppable RAAM and the actually-kind-of-endearing Zeta Squad. I’ve been surprised by the quality of the characters and how good it feels to get back to a classic Gears experience. We’ll see how it shakes out when RAAM’s Shadow launches on Dec. 13.
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