Everyone who is anyone knows Gears of War well, and with DLC becoming increasingly popular recently it is no surprise to see that Gears of War 2 has hit the lovely cap of 1750 gamerscore thanks to its latest DLC, Dark Corners. Dark Corners steps up beyond the previous content available by offering a new ‘directors cut’ campaign chapter and seven (yes seven) multiplayer maps.
Starting off with the campaign, the obvious highlight of the package, you resume the role of Marcus Fenix (or Dom, if you are playing with a friend) and jump right into the game half way through after a grave discovery (no spoilers, for you late bloomers out there). During playthrough of the retail release Marcus mentions dressing up as Theron Guards, and the time has now come.
Unfortunately the time will end pretty quickly as the additional content is extremely short, taking no more than an hour to complete both the ‘guns blazin’ and stealth option of the new content. Both options take you through the same levels, with slight variants depending on the mode you pick (but little difference overall). The main alteration comes in the way you must play the modes, be it loud with guns firing or slowly pacing behind the enemy to avoid detection. Either way, before long you will be forced into a corner requiring you to start firing – something which seems wasted, as you literally spend no more than 15minutes playing stealth. Whilst the action does come thick and fast, the majority of the level progression is jarred by repeated corridors that are clearly hiding loading sequences in a very ugly manner.
If you are likely to spend a lot of time playing online you will be pleased to know that there are seven new maps to interest you, even if they offer little in terms of depth in comparison to some of the better maps on offer (river, I’m looking at you!). All maps follow a similar flat maze like design, which simple in nature provides the perfect playing field for balanced gameplay.
Unfortunately due to their bland design, with mostly copy and paste assets in familiar surroundings you will likely opt to continue playing the original or retro maps, after you have cleaned up the achievements of course! The only map that is likely to gain large interest is War Machine, a popular Gears of War 1 map.
Whilst Dark Corners is appreciated for giving more content, the price tag attached is laughable; 1200 MS points. I have always believed that 800 points for a few maps (which was common place with previous Gears of War DLC) was a steep price, and instead of offering a fair amount of content for a fair price – someone saw fit to rake up the price 400 points. Considering you can get a large content addition in games like Fallout 3, or full expansions for 1600 with games like GTA IV… Gears of War 2 Dark Corners falls short. If the price tag was a litter fairer, the package could easily have earned better praise.