In case you missed the memo, Gears of War is friggin' fantastic. It's a no-nonsense shooter that'sbig, brutish and bloody.

We've crawled from our holes to bring you a list of the essential stuff that you absolutely have to check out on your first Gears of War session.

So, grab your COG togs and get stuck into the action...

So, you've got this gun called the Lancer, right, and it's a good gun - it can waste Locust scum from a decent range and spits bullets at a rapid rate, but it's a cheeky little temptress that can get you in some seriously sticky situations.

You see, it's equipped with a chainsaw and, in case you didn't know, chainsaws on the battle field are fun. So much fun, in fact, that in moments that require cool thinking, you're overwhelmed with an irresistible urge to rev that baby up and charge in like a demented lumberjack in the hope of plowing a fleshy trough in someone's chest.

But, believe us, its well worth the risk for the carnage it causes.

Above: Carbide-tipped chainsaw teeth versus Locust flesh. Face it, there's only going to be one winner.

For ultimate satisfaction, sneak up on an opponent smugly manning a Troika gun turret in an online brawl and let them hear the buzzing sound of imminent death for a second before you plunge the steely, bloodthirsty teeth into their fleshy bits.

If walking away from a steaming pile of unidentifiable meat and bone doesn't make you feel like a real man, nothing will.