Epic Games has been providing plenty of support for Gears of War after it came out last year. While the quality of the content is very good, it has to be mentioned it doesn’t come cheap. Of course, you could get the season pack, but still I feel it alienated the fan base. More so, when you have to pay to “prestige”, which is an option to reset your level. The level cap in Gears of War 3 is level 100, and I’m not really sure, why it was kept behind a pay wall to reset this.
Such doubts aside, the new map pack called Fenix Rising, is quite brilliant and is a polished effort from Epic Games. You get four new characters here; two for each side. Considering the fact that I’m not even level 50 in the game, I have to wonder how people have even reached level 100 in a week from launch. This shows how dedicated the fanbase, and also how good the game is.
Unlike the previous DLC which contained some singleplayer bits, this is purely intended for multiplayer. You get 5 maps here, namely – Academy, Anvil, Escalation, The Slab and Depths. These are all from the single player levels, so if you have finished it then you will be quite familiar with them.
Anvil is set in a fortress, and is pretty well designed with a lot of branching paths. Escalation, if you remember is a Gears of War 1 multiplayer map, which was extremely popular. I have fond memories of that map, as I spent a lot of time playing there, and of course the design of the map is what was appealing to me. There are a few improvements here though. The lighting is much better with glow-y lamp posts that really increases the atmosphere.
It’s quite a contrast from the vanilla map, as that one was dark and gloomy but featured enough lighting for visibility. Sometimes I feel this map pack is worth buying due to the Escalation map itself. Depths as the name suggests, takes place underwater. No, no, you won’t be swimming and stuff. It’s just a location that is set under the sea. The map design here is quite good and I must say, I quite enjoyed playing here.
The Slab is a prison level that is good for gritty action. The level design here is decent with a lot of paths, which can get confusing if you don’t memorize it well. It quite resonates with the gameplay Gears is known for. So if you want some good action, then this map is the best one available in the game. Then we have the academy which is quite generic, and but is a good map nonetheless.
If you have a season pass, then you really don’t care about any review as you are a hardcore fan. But if you don’t I recommend getting this map pack if you enjoy the multiplayer and want some good maps to play. Overall, all the maps are well made. I wouldn’t suggest spending money on them though, it’s better if you get the season pass as you can enjoy the previous content as well. Standalone purchase will set you back by 800 MSP, which is not worth it.
This map pack was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Well designed maps. Polished content.
Not worth the asking price. Some features locked behind pay wall.
Overall, all the maps are well made. I wouldn't suggest spending money on them though, it's better if you get the season pass as you can enjoy the previous content as well.