Maybe its hype is so great that it can never live up to it, but I felt that Gears of War was underwhelming. It was visually gorgeous, but it looked about the same as Half-Life 2 on max settings, only dirtier and grittier. One chapter in the single player campaign reminded me of the church in Half-Life 2’s Lost Coast. The 2nd person perspective that everyone was talking about just seemed like a marketing gimmick to me. The game’s basically in third person perspective except when aiming, which brings the player into first person perspective. Calling it 2nd person is kind of a stretch. I would have thought 2nd person is when the player is staring face to face at the character he’s playing, but I don’t see how a game could be played that way, so maybe true 2nd person perspective would be hard to accomplish.
During the multiplayer matches, I felt that the maps were too small, even for a 2 vs 2 game. I’m disappointed to hear that the player cap will be at 8. I think multiplayer matches will get repetitive if all the maps are as small as the ones I had a chance to play (a graveyard one and another one out on the streets with cars for cover). There seems to be only a one or two ways to get around in each map. Maybe a capture-the-flag or attack/defend mode in multiplayer would spice things up more. What I do like about multiplayer is the reliance on the buddy system. Having a buddy revive you is great incentive for people to play as a team and provide cover for each other.
The single player chapter I played seemed pretty generic. I was more impressed with the enemy AI in F.E.A.R. than in Gears of War. While my teammate’s AI did pretty much what it was supposed to do (provide cover and yell orders), there was one time where I looked back, wondering where one of my guys went, and
walking into a doorway that was blocked by rubble. He was glitching or something, so I just left him behind, but I think he spawned back next to me at the following checkpoint.
I hope Gears of War doesn’t turn out to be another one of those games that look amazing, but don’t have any substance to back it up. The single player campaign wasn’t something that I hadn’t played before, and with the player cap in multiplayer, I think people will get bored of it after the novelty of "oooh eye-candy" wears off unless they add a couple more modes in.