I recently re-engaged the Heavy Gear game after dropping out of it about 8 years ago. A friend in the business ran a demo of Blitz for me and sucked me back in. While I love the simplified ruleset that Heavy Gear Blitz represents, one of the things I missed from the "old days" was the richness and depth of detail that DP9 always put into the worlds they created. Sure, the RPG sourcebooks were still out there, and Blitz was targetted more at folks that wanted to have a very fast, very deadly, very playable miniatures experience. But as a gamer who at one time owned every yellow and black striped book they put out, I missed the detail.
I am happy to say that Operation: Drop Bears Dive has me fully re-engaged.
The storyline and development of the 08th Air Assault Regiment is up to par with any of the amazing storylines that the Pod assembled in the past. The unit has a rich history and a past that saw its share of action and its share of shame. The development of the Bear line of gears into the Koala is well written and plausible, even - no, especially - in the cash-strapped WFPA. The characters introduced are ready to drop into a roleplaying experience - fleshed out and anything but 2 dimensional.
For the Blitz player looking to get some new crunchies, there is plenty to be had here. In addiiton to the obvious addition of the 08th "Crazy Eights" and the Koala and Dingo series gears, there are scenarios, rules for playing with characters in Blitz (which while repeated from the Shattered Peace series are a must have for Blitz players), Legacy Unit rules for resetting the timeframe to the original CEF invasion during the War of the Alliance, plenty of great scenarios, and City Militia rules for the South. Some may complain that bits of this don't fit into the story of the Crazy Eights and the WFPA, but there is something for any player of Blitz with a Polar, PRDF, or CEF army.
I am a stickler for layout and design, and this book continues the trend we saw with Terra Nova Gambit - a move towards a slightly different art style that captures the essence of the world while paying homage to what came before.
All in all, a great buy and a great read. I expect to be painting a Crazy Eights force soon, and to enjoying a well written expansion to the HG 'verse for some time.