From the very first previews, everyone talked about Gears of War talked in hushed, reverential tones. After the first hands-on showcases, it had a virtual lock on an armful of Game of the Year awards. Other games have had that kind of hype but fell flat when it was time to step up to the plate. Gears defied the odds by being exactly the great game experience designer CliffyB promised. Startlingly original? No. Balls-out fun? Hell yes!