Gears of War hands-on

The map we played offered plenty of room for cover - rusted-out cars, small concrete walls, chipped staircases - and much of the gameplay relies on your ability to seek and effectively use cover.

The A button is used for what the developers call 'all move' - any special move (that is, anything cool that isn't just jogging in a direction) is executed by pressing the A button and following the icon on the screen. Once you've taken cover, push forward to mantle over the obstruction, left and right to dart over gaps in the structure, you name it.

The game looked very polished and felt very playable for an incomplete piece of software, but the fact that Microsoft had the faith to let gamers play it for themselves speaks volumes. If this experience is any indication, the Gears of War hype is justified.

Above: Gears of War promises to rock Xbox Live in a big way. We'll see you there