Gears of War 3 wrapped up the trilogy in a fairly definite fashion, tying up most—if not all—of the loose ends that had been established over the course of three games. The book had been closed on Dom, Marcus, and the rest of the Delta Squad, leaving the prospects for any further expansion in the universe on shaky ground. So Epic decided to go backwards and bring it back to the beginning, literally, with RAAM's Shadow.
RAAM's Shadow is set during Emergence Day, the iconic event in the Gears universe where the Locust horde burst forth from their subterranean homes on the planet Sera to overrun the human population on the surface. The game primarily follows the Zeta Squad as they try to evacuate survivors from the city of Ilima before the Locust can unleash the "Kryllstorm," a mob of flesh-eating predators that are basically piranha with wings. Gears vets will remember the Kryll with a mixture of emotions, primarily fear and anger mixed with nostalgia.
RAAM's Shadow plays pretty much as you'd expect, with the Zeta Squad acting as fairly cookie cutter analogues for Marcus and the gang. However, that changes when your perspective shifts partway through the campaign and you step into the black shitkickers of General RAAM.
RAAM, the final boss of the first Gears of War, is a wonderfully different experience. He moves at a plodding pace, and has only two weapons: a swarm of Kryll that block bullets and can be directed to reduce foes to gibs within seconds, and a massive knife that impales enemies or separates head from body with shocking ease. There is no use of cover, as the cloud of damage-soaking Kryll that surround you basically make into a hulking black tank…with a knife. It's as badass as it sounds.
In addition to the single player campaign, which last a decently lengthy 4 hours or so, there are also six new multiplayer characters and a "chocolate" weapons pack to round out your 15 dollars well spent.
RAAM's Shadow is now available on Xbox Live for 1200 MSP ($15.00).