Gears of War was Microsoft's hit holiday title in 2006 much like Halo 3 in 2007. Gears of War was created by Epic, the makers of Unreal Tournament and the famous Unreal engine used in games such as Mass Effect and Lost Odyssey.
The graphics is really Gears of War's strong point. It is a beautiful looking game. As I explored each level, my draw would drop to the floor because of what I was seeing. Even though it is a year old, it still looks better than a lot of gamers that have just come out and games that are coming out in the near future. The only real problem is that like Mass Effect, Gears of War suffers from texure pop-in. They textures only take a moment to fully load, however. The framerate is consistent throughout gameplay, but will stutter a little during cut scenes.
The skeleton in the closet is the story. The game mentions plot points but never goes in depth. Eventually the player just stops caring, since at every point that the story seems to start to develop, it abruptly stops. The story that is there doesn't even finish. It feels as though someone hit stop in the middle of a movie and then skipped straight to the credits. It is obvious that Epic wants to make this a trilogy, but this is not the way to do. As a consumer that bought their game on the day of release, I feel cheated. I will probably hesitate on their next games, in fear of a Gears of War 2+, much like Gears of War PC involved a lot more extra content over the 360 version.
The multiplayer is the only reason to come back to Gears of War. When it came out, it was topping the LIVE charts which had been dominated by Halo 2. Unfortunately, the multiplayer does not last and it does not compare to the multiplayer experiences I have had with Halo 3 and CoD4, the top two LIVE games as of right now.
Gears of War is an average game dressed up as a high profile title. Unfortunately, it also managed to sell millions of copies, so there is no reason for Epic to try and make Gears of War 2 an excellent game deserving of the sales it will recieve.