Every couple of years or so, you see, use or experience something that you know is a quantum leap forward within its genre. You know, like audiences in 1977 felt (including my 10 year-old self) when the first Star Destroyer crept onto the screen in the opening scene of "Star Wars." That kind of feeling.
I felt that last night when I played "Gears of War" on the Xbox 360 for the first time. It's amazing. Really. You know how most video games have detailed intros with great graphics, and then you wait for that moment when the gameplay actually starts, knowing that the camera/POV is going to pull back and the figures will get blocky and cheaper looking? That doesn't happen here. The detail and fluidity of movement is astonishing.
I also like that you aren't superhuman. You can die, and quickly, and you are advised to duck and seek cover in the ruins as often as possible to re-group and plot your attack. It feels like you're in a real firefight, under seige from some monstrous insect-like enemy that has figured out how to use firearms.
I also played "Dead Rising", a zombies-loose-in-a-shopping-mall-game ala' "Dawn of the Dead." It was cool and all...a very nice game, and I look forward to continuing it. But it was no "Gears of War."
I've only played a couple of hours, so who knows what could unfold. The gameplay could get repetitive, or maybe it will give me seizures. We'll see. But for now, I must say that it's the most amazing-looking game I've ever played on a home console.
A few months ago I saw the below commercial for the game aired as a trailer before a movie. I normally loathe commericials before movies, but this one had some artistry to it. I liked the lack of sound effects except for the cover of Tears For Fears "Mad World" from "Donnie Darko."