You’ve just hired the Z-Team.
While most shooters fall back on map packs to make a bit of money, post release, Epic Games are giving us some more story. RAAM’s Shadow will take you way back to a time when all this was just getting started. It will also introduce you to some new characters, with appearances by some familiar faces. So, Gears fans, were you looking for more story? Or would you have rathered a few more maps?
RAAM’s Shadow consists of a few chapters of campaign gameplay that can be accessed from the main campaign menu in Gears of War 3. The story is set well in the past, before the Kryllstorm, and focuses on a Zeta Squad, a group of Gears tasked with evacuating civilians from the city of Ilima before the Kryllstorm comes. The story isn’t so simple though. As the title suggests you’ll be squaring off against General RAAM, the locust leader from the first Gears of War game. RAAM’s goal is to fill the city with Seeders in an effort to make it dark enough to unleash the Kryll.
Where things get interesting is that you’ll actually be controlling General RAAM (why is his whole name always capitalized? I’m not just doing that, it’s like that everywhere) for a few levels as he takes over the city. General RAAM’s levels are quite simple and involve moving from area to area while defending the installation of Seeders. General RAAM is a lot of fun to control though, his main weapon is a flock of Kryll that he can direct to chew up enemies. This attack takes time to charge back up but is definitely a cool addition to the gameplay.
One thing you’ll notice right away, when playing as Zeta Squad, is that initially the city of Ilima isn’t all messed up like everywhere else in every Gears game. While not a big deal, it was cool to see a lot of these building still intact. RAAM’s Shadow won’t break any new ground in terms of gameplay or even really in the story of the series, but it is nice to see a different chapter of the story for once. Sadly, in the less than three hours it takes to complete, we don’t get to learn much about any of the characters so they end up feeling like cookie-cutter personality types that are just filling in for Marcus and the crew.
RAAM’s Shadow isn’t an essential piece of the Gears saga but it will please fans of the series who wanted to see what was happening in other places, to other people, during the events of the other games.
As with the main campaign, RAAM’s Shadow can be played co-op with four friends and supports scoring. This download also includes some weapon skins and six new player skins for use in multiplayer.
RAAM’s Shadow comes with 250 points worth of new achievements. A lot are story related with Finger of Doom being the one I enjoyed the most. Finger of Doom is unlocked for getting 50 kills with RAAM’s Kryll.
RAAM’s Shadow was a decent amount of fun and a cool addition to the Gears back story but simply wasn’t compelling enough to justify the $14.99 price tag. Hardcore Gears fans may be happy with this, but I want a little more than two and a half hours of gameplay for $14.99.