When I first got Gears of War, I thought there was no way it would live up to all the hype, but it would be a good way to kill time until Halo 3 came out. When I started playing, I was unimpressed. The lack of a jump button and the cover mechanic seemed unnatural. But when I found myself still playing the game several hours later, I thought, “Maybe there’s something to this.” I’ve now beat the game on Hardcore difficulty a few times, and I can safely say that the game lives up to the hype. It’s beautiful, and the gameplay is addictive. There is always a second player, which is controlled by either the computer or another human, so co-op is just as enjoyable as single-player. The way these huge guys throw themselves into cover is satisfying, to the point where using cover and rolling around is a rewarding experience, not something that gets in the way of the firefight. The plot is poorly explained, but there’s a real sense of urgency that comes through, and at the end of the day, it’s just a lot of fun.