An. Awesome. Game.
First of all, the storyline, although a little blunt at times, is intense and addicting. You are Marcus Fenix, an old Gear who has been placed in jail for being convicted in some trial. It's hard to say what you actually did but it builds up the suspense as you are put to harder and harder tasks and having the past flung into your face. This can only be seen in the beginning and the new honor you obtain in the end but it is at times relevant. Ok so now that you know a little bit about yourself, now it is time to learn about your squad. First of all the guy that busts you outta jail is Dom Santiago. He is an old friend and will stick it out with you to the end. He is fairly reliable and when you split up may go with you or may go with someone else depending on how long you guys will be spliting up. He can also be played by another player in co-op. The rest of your squad will usually be made up of two other people, but will change as some die in the storyline. Now that you know about your squad, you'll want to know what your up against. The hordes of Locust are alien like monsters that have done a good job annihilating your race and have settled underground, coming to the surface to kill any Gears or Stranded up here. A small extra to the game are the stranded. They are some humans still alive that have made some bases out of well defended homes. They aren't too happy to deal with the Gears but in the campaign, who is? I won't go into the story too much more so I won't spoil it.
Next up is the actual gameplay (two paragraphs). It is intense. At first you'll have a chance to get up from cover to do other stuff but when you get to higher difficulties, you'll find yourself pinned down and so close to cover that if the game HAD a glitch of seeing through objects you wouldn't have to get up to shoot anyone. Usually the most intense and funnest parts of gameplay are when you're facing unknown odds while the Locust are closing in on you and more are coming up from holes in the ground. The game usually gives you a choice on how you want to take them out. You can do excellent positioning to kill them off with the least amount of damage, shoot out at them from anywhere regardless of the best place, or try to flank them and close up there holes with a grenade before your overwhelmed. Also there is no real health bar in the game. When you are being shot at are getting blown to pieces, the Gears of War logo starts burning into the center of your screen. It won't affect gameplay much but if it becomes complete your as good as gone. Your squadmates will definitely fall down before the end but if its during the actual gameplay you have a chance of reviving them by going up to them and pressing the action button (X). Unless a bigger Locust comes up and hits them again they will survive and revive themselves at checkpoints. Since you've stuck it through this far I'll give you some information on the weapons. At first you are stuck with a semiautomatic that most Locust carry around (sorry don't know it's name). It's red-orange and if you just like to hammer your enemies and then get up close it's pretty good that way. Then you will get the Lancer, a fully automatic blueish gun that is both useful and fun. The fun thing about it is that it has a freakin chainsaw bayonett. Get up close and rev it up (B), and then use the fire trigger to get an automatic kill on your enemy. The only problem with it is that it goes into a cinematic sort of kill and since the game is still going on you can be overwhelmed and killed before your even done. It will also lower if you are hit while revving it up and won't work while reloading. Just a couple of warnings about it. One if your enemy has the Lancer he can use the chainsaw on you and in the suspense it can be hard to keep him from ripping you in half. Two there are some enemies that explode after death and after ripping them in half you won't have much of a chance to avoid them because you'll stall just when you finish. Other guns are the shotgun. It's useful on the locust that don't use guns and up close as with today's shotgun. I wouldn't reccomend bringing it to a firefight if you like to stay back but it's useful if you want to get up close and personal. Another gun is the sniper rifle. You won't always find the gun easy to get but with the scope it is very useful. Headshots are a must-know-how-to-do when you start into Hardcore and Insane difficulty. The last gun (besides pistols) you will get in Campaign mode is the Torque Bow. It fires a shell that sticks the targer and blows it to bits. Not very useful until you get into fights with troikas and face off against the leader himself, plus it only carries six shots and you can only get ammo from other Torque Bow's (you do not gain ammo from the blue cartridges). The next two guns you may want to know about are the pistols. One is your standard pistol and fires quicker bullets but are less powerful. The other is what looks like a revolver and is a little more powerful but a little less fast. Both I don't reccomend using in a regular firefight unless you're outta ammo or are blowing up a propane tank. And finally are the grenades. You can carry up to four and they are pretty useful. Especially against troikas and can plugup the Locust's Emergency Holes quicker. Also if you are facing some of the bigger Locust (that can be killed by normal weapons; can be used on regular Locust but not reccomended) you can get up close and by pressing the melee button (B), you can tag them and blow them up. There are possibly more weapons to unlock but I haven't gotten to the online play yet.
Ok now let's take a look at the graphics. Like most Xbox 360 games they are A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. They are awesome and the Third Person gives you a chance to take in on the beauty. The game gives you the option to use a button (Y) to look at points of interest but unless it goes into a cinematic sort of thing than you have free control of the camera. The environment is amazing and the realness of the setting gives you some suspense and after long fights you'll be taking more time to look at the scenery so you can rest. The only problem is that the graphics may take time to load and you'll see a sort of plain version with the details coming up.
The cinematics only take away from the gameplay once in a while and they are very good looking. Only when necessary do they come on and they are well worth the wait to get back into the action. They also give you a good resting time but if you are too excited to do that just press the action button (X) and keep on going.
I haven't gotten live yet so this online review is incomplete but I have played co-op. In split screen it can be tedious at times but having the extra guns makes it well worth it and you get use to it pretty quickly. The only real things that keep this game from being perfect are things like some loading times and a short campaign. The loading times aren't too long and the tips it provides can be useful for beginners but are totally random so don't rely on them too much. The campaign is pretty short, although your first time through you'll load so many checkpoints it may not seem it. Other than that the game is awesome.
For the conclusion the game is awesome. It has all you could ask for for a shooter game and even a sort of horror game at times. The game is both fun and action-packed and well worth the $59.99 at the store. Hope you guys who read this got some information and hopefully swayed you to get the game or at least try it out.