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Friday, 16 December 2011

Review 1: Gears of War 3 RAAM's Shadow DLC

I am a huge Gears of War fan.

I've followed the whole franchise since I was first shown Gears of War 2 about 3 years ago. Ever since I have read every book, read every article on Gearspedia and followed the comic book storyline.

Recently epic games released the second DLC pack for Gears 3 which was RAAM's Shadow. The synopsis of this DLC is as a prequel. The players take on the characters of Michael Barrick, Lt Kim Minh Young, Tai Kaliso and Alicia Valera. Jace Stratton features as a cameo.

On the exception of Valera these characters all feature in other parts of the Gears universe, and unfortunately it is these previous introductions that cause issues with continuity. The DLC claims to be set a few months after emergence day, an event where a horrible race of beings called the Locust horde attacks the human world.

The first issue then is with the presence of Michael Barrick in the group. A year or so after E-Day the Chairman gives the remains of humanity four days to reach the now capital city before he uses a super weapon called the Hammer of Dawn to destroy every major city as an act of asset denial. When this happened many humans survived the attacks and started to disassociate themselves from the Government. Being referred to as Stranded.

Shortly after this the Chairman created 'Operation Lifeboat' where Stranded families would be brought into the capital city and looked after if the men joined the COG (Coalition of Ordered Governments) army. In the comic books Michael Barrick is introduced to us a Stranded turned Gear, having taken the offer of Operation Lifeboat despite not having family.

RAAM's Shadow is set before the Hammer of Dawn strikes, therefore Barrick can't be in the COG army yet. Plus he mentioned the Stranded in dialogue, punching a big hole in the continuity.

Second problem is with Jace. First of all Jace and Barrick appear to meet for the first time in the comics and defiantly do not suggest that they have met each other before. I think Jace would recognise one of the soldiers who rescued him personally.

Jace is also too old in RAAM's Shadow. He is depicted as a teenager, which if this is based only a few months after e-day is wrong. In the comics it goes through Jace's back-story and shows him as a young child during emergence day.

Finally there is an issue with the Kryll, a bat like creature featuring in gears of War 1 and RAAM's Shadow. Kryll can't come out during the day according to Gears 1, yet they do in RAAM's Shadow.

One thing that was a nice touch was explaining why RAAM and Kim in Gears 1 seem to have a prior knowledge and hatred of each other. There was potential to create issues here but thankfully the writers avoided it.

The existence of Tai is also potentially problematic although thankfully not much storyline is focused on him so no mistakes seem to have been made. Tai features in Gears of War 2 and much of his history is told in the books.

I find it irritating that the writers haven’t done a better job of eliminating these problems, you'd think for such an expanding storyline writers would be more careful.

Having said all this the DLC is defiantly worth it and is fun to play. Especially if you already have the Season pass!


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