Gears of War 3: RAAM’s Shadow Review

Gears of War 3: RAAM’s Shadow (Available exclusively on Xbox 360)
ESRB Rating: M
Number of Players: 1 to 4
Genre: Action
Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Epic Games
Release Date: December 13th, 2011
Xbox Live: Online Multiplayer

Parent Talk: RAAM’s Shadow is rated M for mature for a reason, it features vulgar language, loads of blood and gore and an incredible amount of violence.  Under no circumstances should younger players be involved with this game.

Plays Like: All the other games in the Gears series.

Review Basis: Finished the expansion with a friend.

It’s an amazing world we live in, in which games can be expanded beyond their original scope thanks to post-launch downloadable content.  Such is the case with RAAM’s Shadow.  That name, RAAM, should be very familiar to anyone who’s played the original Gears of War.  He was the game’s final boss, a huge lumbering Locust that controlled a swarm of kryll and was hell to finish off on the highest difficulty setting.  Now’s your chance to step into his shoes.

The Great:

More Gears!  That about sums it up.  It’s fantastic to have the chance to experience more Gears love, and not just some map pack add-on, like every developer does these days.  Here players have the opportunity to experience something unique with buddies or all by their lonesome.

The Good:

+ Same great gameplay you’ve come to expect.  The same weapons, same cover system, same everything is back and plays just as well as ever.

+ New squad, location and mission.  Players take on the roll of Zeta Squad, which is comprised of two new Gears, and two veterans, Minh Young Kim and Tai Kaliso.  Set before the events of the original Gears their mission is to evacuate the city of Ilima before it is completely destroyed by the invading Locust.

+ A blast with friends.  Grab a few buddies, head online and enjoy what little content is here.

The So-So:

+/- While it’s awesome being able to play as RAAM and his kryll swarm, he moves far too slow and is so overpowered compared to everyone that stands in his way.  After a short period of time most players will likely tire of his one-dimensional gameplay and prefer to go back to the Gears.  Thankfully that’s exactly what happens.

The Bad:

– The story falls flat because it doesn’t feel anywhere near as critical or important as what players have already experienced in the main trilogy.

The Ugly: 

Weighing in at 1,200 Microsoft Points, RAAM’s Shadow feels a bit expensive given the three hours of content.

The Lowdown:

While the admission price does seem a little steep for the limited amount of content, I have to admit that everyone who enjoys this franchise will have a blast with this downloadable expansion pack.  If you plan to play with friends it’s even better.  This is an easy recommend if you have some extra money just burning a hole in your pocket and you love yourself some Gears.

Average Score Scale: 7.0 (+/- 0.5) out of 10

Personal Final Score: 7.5/10 (Inflated)

Reason for +0.5 Inflation: You love Gears of War, are a huge fan of how badass RAAM is, or are just looking to experience something that’s fun to play with friends.

Reason for -0.5 Deflation: You’re not too keen on spending 1,200 MS points for three hours of fun.

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