For its time, the game was incredible as it featured a 2 player co-op single player campaign (online or offline) in which aliens are attacking the human like planet known as Serra (not Earth). So right away it has the in a galaxy far, far away, a long time ago (think I got that backwards). The aliens however have come from beneath the planet in the crust having lived their waiting for the right moment to strike. All the enemies as well as the characters have a human to humanoid look to them, with an art team that created a real tough, rusty, edge to them but also giving them a sense of being every so slightly advanced race then our own. With the planet looking like a modern day Rome or Italy with everything polished giving the planet its own unique style of advanced, military like art, with statues everywhere along with beautiful structures from every building in some areas. A beautiful disaster after the attack from the horde of Locust (being the underground enemy) with the humans very own technology destroying much of the beauty as well as the ozone layer just to fight against the enemy from below.
The multiplayer was amazing with 4vs4 teams of different (but standard) types of modes. Holding down the run button let you 'Rhodie Run' keep your head down while you could grab on to any piece of cover, as easy as getting off cover to moving to another piece of cover was what quickly became known as wall bouncing. Doing this against an opponent with a shotgun left people stand still trying to hard aim at you left them dead without a scratch on you while the other opponent doing the same thing led to unique battles unlike any other gamer ever. That combines with just simple character selection from characters you had come to know and appreciate as well as the aspect of every head shot giving the player a rewarding pop sound as the enemy's head would explode leaving the body limp to drop wherever in-game physics let it. While no one could forget about the Chainsaw Bayonet introduced to the main assault rifle in the game, leaving not a huge selection of weapons, which was simply no necessary staring every match with a Lancer (chainsaw assault rifle), a shotgun and a pistol, with one smoke grenade. All other weapons were map based.
A lot of things in the game made it unique but the online mode known as 'Execution' was a big one which most of the fans of the game played after getting used to things. The mode meant you could not kill an enemy from far away, meaning you had to get up close and personal with them, to chainsaw them, or even curb stomp them as they are downed bleeding out with no chance of a teammate to help them get back up. Even if you do become revived you can only be revived 3 times total. This helped make matches quick, personal, and fun with people always getting creative kills no matter the skill level... the better player always just had the upper hand but nothing can stop the best player from dying with them getting caught off guard or simply a little luck being with a less skillful player. In the 'Execution' mode you could kill enemies from a distance but that meant a headshot with ONLY a Sniper Rifle or a pistol (start with a semi-auto Snub, while a powerful revolver was a map pickup just like the Sniper Rifle). Aside from that you could also use a grenade or the 'Torque Bow' which was a hydraulic bow and arrow that included explosive arrow head that were timed, as soon as you began to hold an arrow back... while sticking an enemy gave you a satisfying thunk sound, if not simply enjoying their body explode one second later. All characters; Locust and Human were all the same size with the same advantages. Lastly the Hammer of Dawn was a weapon rarely found online which brought down a beam of laser explosions to the pinpointed area laser designated, sending the signal to a satellite to use anywhere but an in door/enclosed area.
I could go on and on, but whether by accident or on purpose, Gears of War was amazing for the time it was released before DLC was a must it had free map packs. Before the nearly pointless customizations in Call of Duty first person shooters, the game was so simple yet so original, as well as gritty and bloody. It was the most fun I have ever had when it comes to an online multiplayer experience leaving the players to make up unspoken rules as well as respect other players in a way I had never seen before in a game, with everyone speaking to each other well before party chat was invented. It was the perfect time for the perfect game. All time favorite game ever.