Gears of War 3: Raam’s Shadow DLC preview
The downloadable chapter tells the story of Zeta Squad, with player one assuming control of one Michael Barrick. Raam’s Shadow marks Barrick’s first appearance in a Gears of War video game, and he’s otherwise known only to those who’ve read the wider Gears of War literature. But there are at least a couple of other familiar faces to those who’ve played only the games; Minh Young Kim, who ended up on the wrong end of General Raam’s blade in the first Gears of War, and Tai Kaliso, who met a tragic fate in Gears of War 2. Raam’s Shadow also serves as the surprise origin story for another major Gears of War character, but I’ll leave that one for fans to discover for themselves.
It all kicks off in Ilima City as Zeta Squad and other Gears attempt to evacuate citizens before an approaching Kryll storm devours them all. The Kryll, of course, being the creatures from the first Gears of War that inhabit darkness and can best be described as a combination of bat and piranha. The trick was to stay in the light; if a human ventures into darkness or shadows, the Kryll will strip their flesh from their bones. These creatures never made a return appearance in Gears 2 or Gears 3 (apparently killed off in the wider Gears of War canon outside of the games), which I always thought was a tremendous shame; it was a clever inclusion in the first Gears of War that made for some fun light/dark puzzles.
Aside from these things, Raam’s Shadow plays out much like a standard Gears of War 3 act. That said, there appear to be no collectibles for those who like that kind of thing. Essentially, the main reason to come to Raam’s Shadow is for the additional story and fan service that it brings to the Gears of War franchise. And in that sense, it’s a nice and lengthy chunk of campaign-styled story – just don’t go expecting the gameplay to deviate too far from what you know and love in Gears of War 3. The ability to play as General Raam is a welcome inclusion that will be extremely satisfying to long-serving Gears of War veterans, and there are six new character skins for the game’s multiplayer component. It’s definitely worth a look, particularly for those who really engage with the series’ story.