Review: Gears of War 3 Season Pass

Gratuitous Carmine picture to conclude.

Season Pass – 2400 MSP ($30)
Maps –  13
Characters – 17
Other – Horde upgrade expansion, three-hour campaign,
Tiered prestige mode, guardian playlist,
Full access to dedicated servers

Cynics might argue fanboyism or an effort to ignore buyer’s remorse, but I can honestly say that I, personally, have no regrets over my decision to buy the Season Pass. Having been largely unemployed since the game’s release I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy every aspect of the game thoroughly, and so whether it was new campaign, new maps, new characters, or simply more achievements to motivate me each new DLC pack has been worthwhile in some way.

Going off my four verdicts alone, the two unqualified yeses are for DLC costing $25 (unless you’re lucky enough to snag them on sale). Each of the maybes had a different caveat: for the Horde Command Pack, it was basically “don’t buy it unless you mostly play horde;” for Fenix Rising, it was basically “don’t buy it if you mostly play horde.” As most Gears players will fall into one of those two camps, then in addition to the two “must-haves” they’ll buy a third $10 DLC anyway — at which point they’ll have spent more money for less content than the Season Pass delivers.

Having said all of this, though, I recognize that some people will want a smattering of all the game has to offer but don’t have a lot of time to invest in any one angle. For those people, it’s less a matter of “is this DLC good” and more “can I really justify spending almost as much for add-ons as I did to get the whole game?” And, honestly, my answer has to be no.

The Gears 3 Season Pass, as with most season passes, is ultimately for people who plan to devote a reasonable amount of time to Gears of War. If you’re already a CoD Elite member and just bought Halo CEA then the likelihood is that Gears 3 shipped with more than enough content to keep you entertained. You also probably know better than I do how much of an aggravation it can be to try to play online games if even one of you is missing some (or all) of the game’s DLC. Sadly, as the industry heads further in the DLC direction, it’s going to become nearly impossible to play a game online this far after release without also buying add-ons.

In closing, then, you just have to decide whether you want to play Gears of War online and, if so, with whom. If you don’t, or if you only want to play privately with friends, then you can skip the Season Pass and almost all the DLC (though I still recommend RAAM’s Shadow). But if you plan on playing public matches (with or without friends), then the Gears of War 3 Season Pass will be well worth the money.

Verdict: Yes

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