Blending unmatched twitch-action with an incomparably oppressive atmosphere and multiplayer that will monopolize your broadband for months, Gears of War is the game the 360 was designed to play.
Talked up for months in a marketing campaign whose cost undoubtedly dwarfs the gross national product of most third-world nations, we can safely announce that Gears of War delivers on the promises developer Epic has made. Here's how it suckered us...
Gears of War zigs when you expect it to zag - where you'd imagine a guitar-heavy, thrash metal-laced soundtrack, Gears of War belts out a hard-hitting symphony packed with fanfares and themes that get your blood pumping far more than any generic electric guitar could.
This theme of surprise is carried over into the gameplay as well. Gears of War doesn't just focus on your standard running and gunning, but rather delves into some fantastic twists on the tired shooter genre.
The first time you run up against a blind Berserker (who can only be killed outside using the lasers of orbiting satellites - which you can call down using a pointer called the Hammer of Dawn), you'll understand the drastic departure Gears of War has taken - a swerve which fulfills the promise of next-gen like no other title yet. When you try to guide hero Marcus Fenix over a rotted-out wooden floor without dropping him into a nest of bloodthirsty Locusts, you'll know the definition of innovation.
That is, if you can get past the graphics. Huge, muscular combatants move like giant men wearing heavy gear, fine details are everywhere, and splattering blood never looked so beautiful - and we mean that in an uncreepy, non-Hannibal Lecter kind of way. It just looks incredible.