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Forces of Nature, Gears of War 3.

Posted April 2nd, 2012 by captain x

The final installment for owners of the Gears of War Season Pass certainly improves over the Fenix Rising pack, but does it match the lofty heights of Raam’s Shadow?

This is essentially a collection of three new maps and a re-imagining of two old favourites Raven Down and Jacinto. The theme is about extreme weather, although the Razor Hail of Gears2 does not make an appearance, the maps do offer some variety in environment structure, but there is only so much excitement to offer when yet another cloud of fog rolls through.

Something else that occurs to me and while it may be a minor thing which I totally understand why, but the mirror image layouts are getting a little old now. In fact the handy overhead map that splashes up before spawning just serves to highlight these map designs are actually quite ‘samey’. In fact in the course of trying out the selection, there were times sat in the dark of night when I couldn’t discern which new map was up without a second look at the name.

The maps themselves offer a fair mix of variety, the majority hold extensive outside areas although a couple of them feel claustrophobic enough to be held internally. Then of course there is Raven Down, which although a classic small scale skirmish map that has been beautified by the addition of snow still descends into a chaotic fragfest.

Snipers will revel in a couple of the levels, Aftermath being the most open and even though the remade Jacinto map does offer some elevation and decent campsites, it also offers plenty of opportunity for the other team to sneak around behind you chainsaw at the ready.

I have enjoyed the new maps, but they lack interactivity features like the Kryll vs. generator sequence on Bullet Marsh effects like this should be improved upon and offer more strategic options rather than charging through the fog.

 Closing comments

The bundle is completed with some new character skins, weapon skins and some obligatory achievements. However this does not detract from the fact that the Gears of War Season Pass started well, peaked with the return of the Raam, and has dwindled in its autumn.

It’s all very well throwing out a healthy selection of maps, but I think less is more; there are no standouts that I would want to play again in another Gears game. In fact I have said it once before and I’ll say it again, it really is about time Epic offered us the return of the Mansion level from Gears 1. Now that was a level, along with Canals and Gridlock that put many Gears enthusiasts on the road to enlightenment, it would probably be the most popular DLC they could ever put out.

 

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