We stole the chance to play Gears of War at the X06 event at Barcelona, and our playtime reinforced two things: this game is destined to be a system-seller, and it's time for Microsoft to show us something beyond the first level.
The game at X06 was shown in three different set ups: single player, two-player co-op and a 4-on-4 multiplayer match. The single player demo consisted of the same starting level we had played before at E3 and in Leipzig, which introduces ex-con Marcus Fenix as he helps marines fight of the underground enemies, the Locust Horde. The main difference was an improved frame rate; it looked stable and smoother than we'd seen it previously.
The multiplayer co-op mode consisted of the same first level, called Ashes: Trial by Fire. Two player action was available via Xbox Live, direct system link, or even on one Xbox 360 using a split screen. One player chooses Marcus while the other takes control of squad mate Dom. The game in this mode is almost identical to the single player version, with Dom's action being controlled by a human player instead of just the AI. When one player dies, the other player can attempt to revive them by standing over their corpse and pressing the A button. If both players kick the bucket, it's time for a restart from the last saved position.
The eight-player, 4-on-4 deathmatch mode felt similar but featured sped up gameplay compared to the single player and co-op missions. That might be due to the absence of huge destructible objects which play sucha big part of the single-player experience.