After five years, Marcus and the rest of Delta Squad have sailed off into the sun, or in the case of the end of the game, at least just stood there and looked introspective. Gears of War 2 had single-player DLC but it was in the form of just one deleted chapter from the main campaign and honestly felt quite bland. Now, RAAM’s Shadow is here with a large chunk of single-player DLC.
RAAM’s Shadow takes place in Ilima City, not long after E-Day, and a kryll storm is coming. You take control of Barrick, leader of zeta squad. In it, have a few familiar faces in the form of Kim from the first game and Tai from the second Gears of War. Not only does the squad have to contend with the kryll, but locust are emerging and bringing seeders to ink the sky and create utter darkness for the kryll to attack. Zeta squad must evacuate as many people as they can from Ilima before the storm comes.
But that’s not all. For the first time in the series history, you take control of RAAM and his kryll. In co-op mode, the other players will be controlled by two maulers with reflective shields and a theron guard with a sawn-off shotgun with a bayonet. Although controlling one of the favourite characters from the Gears franchise may be the reason why you want to pick it up, it is ultimately disappointing. RAAM has his kryll attack where he points kryll at the humans and a long blade to charge and slash them down but that’s it. Sure it looks and feels like RAAM is a badass but playing as him can begin to drag. There are genuinely only a couple of instances of controlling him but it really is hit and miss.
The sense of controlling this badass is pretty cool, even though he moves pretty slow, but the whole DLC has a change of pace compared to the regular Gears of War 3 campaign. We all fell in love with the original Gears, and since then the pacing and scope to the campaign in Gears of War 2 and 3 got larger, RAAM’s Shadow features more of the claustrophobic, and sometimes more thrilling encounters. In RAAM’s Shadow, the area of Ilima you explore is pretty small but how it intertwines and leads you feels great. You will fight your way through a desolate bank and school and really feel the city’s loss. Plus, we once again get to lose emergence holes.
RAAM’s Shadow went back to how Gears of War 1 felt, and the story of Zeta Squad feels like it could continue somewhere down the line. If the rumours are true and a Gears of War trilogy prequel is in the work, colour me excited.