Gears of War hands-on

Friday 12 May 2006
Is sci-fi Xbox 360 shooter Gears of War the next Halo (before Halo 3, anyway)? If our hands-on time with the game in a team deathmatch is any indication, we'd have to say "hell yes."

In a special, extra-large room of its E3 pavilion, Microsoft dropped players into 4-on-4 matches between the human Cog faction and the alien Locust Horde. Play was round-based, like Counter-Strike - the match wasn't over until one whole team's forces had been eliminated.

Players on both teams used the same standard-issue assault rifle, albeit with a very non-standard feature - each had a chainsaw built into the barrel. You haven't played Gears of War until you've snuck up on an enemy, slammed on the B button and sliced them diagonally in two, blood spurting in all directions. It's brutal and hilariously over-the-top.

While power tools to the chest are certainly definitive, not all kills are quite so final. An enemy that has been shot still has a chance to be revived if a team-mate can get to them in time. Of course, if an enemy comes across them instead, a tap of the X button will perform a foot-crushing 'curb stomp' and put them out of their misery for good.

Above: With an array of gut-splattering weapons, Gears of War promises to be a relentlessly brutal experience