Gears of War 3 — Horde Command DLC review


Yesterday brought Epic Games‘ first downloadable content pack release for Gears of War 3, the “Horde Command Pack.” It’s included as part of the Gears 3 Season Pass, or can be purchased for 800 MS Points for those who prefer to pay for their DLC a la carte. No matter how it finds its way onto your Xbox 360 hard drive, Horde Command adds a number of new elements to the game: three new maps for use in Horde and Beast modes, three new character skins, two new weapons skins and a handful of upgraded fortification features in Horde mode. All the three maps offer some fun times. 


Azura- Azura is set at one of Sera’s exclusive luxury resorts; it’s a lush map, filled with greens and earthy browns. It’s also a fairly straightforward map, with a large central area that offers some good sightlines for thinning out the Locust hordes from a distance.

Your best bet for Horde success on Azura is setting up your first command post near either the aqueduct spawn or waterwheel spawn at the left and right sides of the map. Use the walkway that the command post is on as a fallback point and take up defensive positions in the two rooms the walkway leads into.

gears of war 3 horde command dlc review rustlungRustlung- This map is set aboard a decommissioned battleship and, as such, it’s got a similar feel to the early missions in the Gears 3 campaign. It’s very large and open in the central area, just like Azura, but the layout of the corridors that break off from this main space is much more confusing. Of the three maps, this is probably the most challenging for Horde play (and, similarly, the friendliest to Beast play).

The best place to defend is probably the munitions bay (look for the half-circle-shaped walkway in the lower portion of the map). It might get crowded here with five, but it’s really the only good spot for funneling Locust forces into out of what’s available. Better yet, play this map on Beast to dominate the puny humans, since they’ll have no place to hide.

gears of war 3 horde command dlc review blood driveBlood Drive- The last of the new maps isn’t actually new at all. Blood Drive is a returning fan-favorite from Gears of War 2. It offers the best defensive positions of the three Horde Command maps, with lots of high ground positions and some solid fallback locations the funnel any interlopers through choke points. While the map looks a little different visually, it’s physically unchanged from its Gears 2 appearance.

It’s easy to dominate in Horde mode on Blood Drive. In Gears 2, before the days of Horde 2.0 fortifications, it was all about planting Mauler shields in strategic locations. Now though? Establish dominance early by setting yourself up at the top of the stairs outside the diner spawn. Then use the diner itself as a fallback location; the door that’s right next to where you’re camping is the only way into or out of it. Getting through 50 rounds should be a breeze.

“Horde Command” also adds some new features to your Horde fortifications. The biggest change is an entirely new category, the Command Center, which you can unlock by spending $360,000 on turrets. It basically works like an “Oh sh-t” button; if things are going sideways on you, hit up the command center for fire support from snipers, mortars and even Hammers of Dawn.

The existing categories also got some upgrades. There’s a new top-level Decoy unlock that turns your animatronic mannequin into a full-blown Onyx Guard bot that moves around and fights with your squad. Sentry turrets now have a fire-based upgrade level, which should be VERY useful against Berserker bosses. Finally, the Silverback can now be upgraded with rockets. That’s a win for everyone.

All told, the “Horde Command Pack” is strongly recommended if you’re a fan of the Horde and Beast modes. These three maps, plus two more, will be available as a free DLC release later this month when they’re added the the Versus multiplayer playlists. If Versus is more your thing, then you’ll want to skip this DLC unless you absolutely CANNOT go without new character skins (Big Rig Dizzy, Onyx Guard, Bernie) and weapon skins (Team Plasma, Jungle Camo). And if you bought a Season Pass when Gears 3 dropped in September, then this one’s a no-brainer. Just accept the download.

 (This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360 on a copy provided by Microsoft Studios)

Product Review

Hue who? Nanoleaf Canvas brings a riot of color and vibrancy to the smart home

Fun and festive, Nanoleaf Canvas feature lighting adds personality and vibrancy to any room. Nanoleaf Canvas features squares that you can connect in any configuration you’d like. Sync to music, play games, or relax in soothing light.

Hey, Sony! If you make a PS2 Classic, it needs these games

158 million PS2 consoles were sold worldwide during its lifecycle, making it the most successful video game console of all time. It was hard, but we narrowed down the PS2's vast library of games. Here are the best PS2 games of all time.

Check out the best Xbox One deals and bundles for December 2018

Microsoft's consoles are just as capable of streaming movies as they are of playing the latest games. Check out our top Xbox One deals and bundles, which include new and upcoming triple-A games like Battlefield V and Fallout 76.

The hottest Nintendo Switch games you can get right now

The Nintendo Switch's lineup started off small, but games have steadily released as the console continues through its second year. Here are the best Nintendo Switch games available now, from Super Mario Odyssey to Fortnite.

Nintendo pulls the plug on making more SNES Classic, NES Classic systems

Nintendo extended production of the NES Classic and SNES Classic into 2018, but once the current supply of consoles is gone, the company won't be making more. Instead, you'll have to use Nintendo Switch Online.

Fancy ‘Kingdom Hearts III’ PlayStation 4 Pro launches alongside game in January

A limited edition PlayStation 4 Pro bundle for Kingdom Hearts III will launch alongside the game in January. The system included has a special design on the side, as does the controller.

‘Fortnite’ removes the Infinity Blade weapon after player backlash

Following player backlash over the Infinity Blade weapon's inclusion in Fortnite's battle royale mode, Epic Games decided to remove the weapon from the game completely. It was not limited to a special mode.

Want to share your Xbox One games? Here's how to do it

Sharing games on modern consoles is possible, but it takes a few steps. Here's how to start sharing games on your Xbox One console, so friends and family can easily access your library.

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in 'Destiny 2: Forsaken'

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.

Want every suit in 'Marvel's Spider-Man' for PS4? Here's how to get them all

Marvel's Spider-Man features a whopping 33 different suits for Peter Parker to wear as he swings across New York City knocking out baddies. Here are all the suits and how to unlock them.

Everything about 'Red Dead Online', including its new microtransaction store

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.

HDR monitors are beginning to have an impact. Here are the best you can buy

HDR isn't the most common of PC monitor features and is often charged at a premium, but the list of available options is growing. These are the best HDR monitors you can buy right now.
Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Prices drop, but our favorite stays the same

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the two big names in the virtual reality arena, but most people can only afford one. Our comparison tells you which is best when you pit the Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive.

Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.