Review: Gears 3 Horde Command Pack

Recently released was the first DLC package for Gears of War 3 that features new maps, characters, weapon skins, upgrades to the Horde mode’s fortifications, and a few new achievements. Let’s take a look at what is included in this DLC package for 800 Microsoft points or $10.

The Horde Command Pack brings upgrades for those who enjoy the Horde mode that will help provide some assistance in your fight against the Locust. This command center, which is described as a panic button of sorts is unlocked when the player has upgraded their turrets to the maximum level and it also can be upgraded. The command center starts at level one with snipers, the second level is mortar strikes, and finally call in multiple hammers of dawn. The next major update to horde mode is the upgraded decoy which will turn into a computer controlled Onyx Guard that will assist you in battle. The third update is the sentry is equipped with fire bolts to help weaken Beserkers. If you think that the sentry won’t be able to finish the job, then upgrade the Silverback to equip it with rockets to explode the Locust scum into bits.

Also along with these upgrades to the horde mode, players will find three new characters and three maps that can be enjoyed across all modes. The two newest maps are entitled Rustlung and Azura, with the third map being a Gears of War 2 map remake of Blood Drive. Fight alongside Bernie, the Onyx Guard, and Dizzy in his old mechanics big rig uniform of overalls. Now let’s take a look at the maps included in the DLC.

Azura– This map is the brightest of the bunch with vibrant colors of green, yellow, and blues. This map was made especially for horde mode with an overlooking tower and two funneling stairwells that can be easily defended against the waves of oncoming enemies. Also along with the overlook is a power weapon spawn that cycles between a boomshot and the hammer of dawn. This symmetrical map will allow players to quickly get a handle on where weapons spawn and how to hold a defensive point when playing the objective game modes such as king of the hill and capture the leader.

Rustlung– Taking place in the interior of a ship, players will find many different path ways around the map with port hole doors, ramps, and even the ability to unlock torpedo clusters as pieces of cover with a button on each side of the map. With the wide open spaces the map plays well for king of the hill and will also provide quick skirmishes when playing team deathmatch. I enjoyed the map’s look and feel based out of the first campaign level, but didn’t find the longevity to want to play it often.

Blood Drive– This Gears of War 2 remake will have fans rejoice as one of the most popular maps for horde mode and team deathmatch returns. Not much has changed in the terms of where things are located on the map, there is some visual upgrades and touches that will bring a new feel to the map. One of the things I noticed was that the initial spawn points had some items removed and remade to coincide with the overall feel of the map that this is relief zone with hospital rooms and triage centers. Now in the spawn players can escape via the windows that overlook the stairwells if they get chased by opponents. New player will be able to get a quick handle on the map and the center where most of the fighting will be taking place for the power weapons on each side. I am really enjoying the remake of the map and can see myself voting to play for it when it comes up in matchmaking in any mode.

While initially purchasing the Horde Command Pack players might find some disappointment in the fact that if their fortifications levels are not maxed out they will have to wait to use the new sentry guns, decoys, and the command center that is unlocked with maximum level turrets. What can immediately be used with the DLC is the weapon skin, characters, and playing on the new maps. So while it might take some time to unlock the new features in horde mode players should still find confidence in purchasing the DLC to enjoy the new maps and unlock some of the achievements. So for the first DLC being released some players might want to pass on it unless they have already done everything in horde and want something new to upgrade while they play since the new maps can only be played in private matches. The good thing about the DLC is that as long as the host has the DLC unlocked all players can preview the maps in any of the modes, including horde. It was also announced that later this month Epic will be releasing a multiplayer map pack which includes the three maps in the Horde Command Pack and two more maps for free. So let us know what you think about the first DLC of if you will be waiting for the free multiplayer map pack later this month in the comments below or shout out in the forums!

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