New Years' upon us and Epic Games want to start 2012 right by releasing a new map pack to expand Gears of War 3's addicting multiplayer. The map pack will include five new maps, new character skins, and a new level up system that lets you level up all over again.Think of the new system as the prestige in COD.
Fenix Rising will cost only 800 Microsoft Points, or free if you already purchased a Season Pass which give you free access to upcoming DLC. Here's the list of the new maps, which is inspired from the locales in the Gears of War 3 campaign. No old maps from previous games remastered here.
- Academy –The lineage of the Fenix family can be traced back along a distinguished line of military officers. Officer training at the Oracle Academy was simply the expected path for Marcus, and he had visited the grounds many times in expectation that he would walk the same path as his ancestors. But it was not to be, and Marcus broke with tradition to be with his best friends Dom and Carlos. Like any number of fine Seran traditions, the Academy is now lost to the invasion of the Locust Horde.
- Anvil – The fortress of Anvegad was called Anvil Gate because its impenetrable walls were forged in the fires of war. Huge cannons sat atop battlements that guarded sprawling walls running the line of the UIR borders. Marcus went there to find Hoffman, and they both thought that Anvil Gate would offer protection from the incoming forces of Locust and Lambent. They were wrong, and little remains other than the ruined shell of a once mighty fortress.
- Depths – The excessive opulence of Azura defied all normal reasoning. But Adam Fenix could see the cracks in the veneer of splendor from the moment he arrived at this underwater processing center. And all that beauty mattered not at all once he was held captive by the Locust. Out of options, he had to find a way to contact Marcus, and finally reveal the truths he’d been keeping to himself for all these many years.
- Escalation – Haldane Hall has been the home of the Fenix family for countless generations. But the only history that matters to Marcus’s are his memories of warm summer evenings spent with his mother, Elain, relaxing in the estate’s gardens. Sadly, all the estate’s history and beauty was lost when the Locust destroyed it in an attempt to kidnap his father.
- The Slab – Convicted for insubordination and treason, Marcus was incarcerated in Jacinto Maximum Security Prison. Known as “The Slab”, this prison is not a correctional facility – it’s a place where Sera’s worst offenders are locked up and forgotten. The inmates are brutal, parole is not an option, and the average life expectancy is about two years. But that was before the Locust showed up, and what couldn’t get worse, suddenly did. Now your life expectancy there is around 2 minutes.
New character skins are included. They have a total of four new skins, two for each side:
- Recruit Clayton – Clayton was born a Gear, grew up a Gear, and on the very day he became eligible, he signed himself up to become the capable, confident, and devoted Gear he’d always known he could be.
- Thrashball Cole (Limited Edition) – The Cole Train prefers to take the most direct path to the Locust Horde in any situation. What he lacks in finesse, he makes up in raw energy.
- Savage Marauder – Locust Marauders were the first to form any sort of organization outside of the Hollow – if their brutal infighting and bloodthirsty raiding parties could truly be called organized.
- Savage Kantus (Limited Edition) – The Savage Kantus were profoundly impacted by the loss of the Hollow. They have reverted to a primal, shamanistic state, and their battle cries have taken a dark, melancholy turn. Few sounds are as terrifying to human ears.
Getting the map pack upgrades the way you level. Not really an upgrade, more like a choice to re-level all over again when you hit the max level of 100. Not sure why doing that all over again is appealing, but if its your thing, the map pack allows you to do it all over again three times. Think of it as COD's prestige feature. Each time you reset your level, you earn a new rank icon color each time: 1st Re-up earns you Red, then Green, then finally Gold for the third and last time you hit 100. Hitting level 100 a second or third time will also earn you weapon skins:
- Re-Up Plasma – Animated flowing plasma in gold.
- Re-Up Omen – Shiny, red Omen.
- Re-Up Electric – Animated, golden electric shocks.
Other features aside from the maps of this DLC is only icing on the cake, but With only 800 Microsoft Points for five new maps sounds like a good deal. If you haven't sold your copy of Gears 3 yet, Fenix Rising will be out on Jan 17 2012.