Gears of War is what people who don't play video games probably think all video games look like. Meaty, rubble-strewn and dribbling splatter, its soldiers-versus-lizards storyline suggests entertainment of the direct-to-DVD kind, where characters are little more than a means to an explosion and the only brains are smeared across a wall.
That's how Gears looks, certainly, but how it plays is a different matter. Rather than an eye-bleeding Unreal-alike or an all-night pass to the local offal house, Epic's game moves at its own distinctive pace. Each level is a carefully-constructed maze of cover that will confound anyone bent on mindless blasting, while the weapon-set balances every strength with an equal and opposite weakness elsewhere.