Review: Gears of War 3 Season Pass

Horde Command Pack – 800 MSP ($10)
New Maps: Azura, Rustlung, Blood Drive (remake)
New Characters: Bernie Mataki, Big Rig Dizzy (variant), Onyx Guard
Other: Greatly expands upgrade capacity in Horde, adds rockets to silverback

The Horde Command Pack released less than two weeks after the game shipped, making a bit of a splash due to its small size — less than 2MB. Arguably the nastiest of the DLC, the HCP isn’t even actually downloaded content; it’s a script to unlock expanded Horde fortifications and character models already on the disc. I’ll let others argue over ethics of charging for access to disc content. Certainly it’s nice not to tie down your connection for half an hour waiting for the pack to download.

But is it worth buying? That depends on what sort of player you are. For many people, Gears of War multiplayer is synonymous with Horde, and they’re going to spend hundreds of hours fighting Locust waves. In that case the HCP is a no-brainer; the upgrades are not only practical life-savers (especially the high-end laser wires), but the new levels on all fortifications will provide greater motivation for those who are achievement-driven. It’s a bit crazy to think that I’ve been playing this game since day one and I’m still working on fully upgrading my HCP fortifications.

That said, not everyone plays Horde. Chances are if you’re only a casual player of Gears you don’t even know who Bernie is or care about a different outfit for Dizzy. The Onyx guard offers no inspiring dialogue to differentiate him from other generic guard skins. This leaves the maps, which are among my favorites (across all DLC/shipped maps). Unfortunately for the DLC, Epic released those for free (with two others: Clocktower and Bullet Marsh) several weeks later as part of the Booster Map Pack.

This is what $10 gets you. In one screenshot.

So, to review: if you love Bernie and Dizzy or plan on playing much Horde, definitely grab this because it’s the only way to get the full upgrade experience. Otherwise, just grab the Booster Pack.

Verdict: Maybe

On to DLC 2: RAAM’s Shadow

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