I've just started playing Gears of War again, for the PC this time. Gears revolutionized shooters when it was released with better graphics then anything before and a cover system that has become more or less standard in shooters since. It is still a fantastic game. I haven't felt excited while playing a game for such a long time that when I found myself cotton mouthed from excessive breathing after my first encounter with a Berzerker I immediately thought there was something wrong with me.
Gears uses targeting and cover systems to create a tactical battlefield. This works great and the game design is sound, but a year or so after release one starts to realize that the system can be vastly improves by making cover less digital (on/off).
It also uses camera angles and shaders for cinematic effect without actually stopping the gameplay, revolutionizing then and a "gotta be standard" today.
Now I just wish I owned a 360 to compare Gears with Mass Effect, another fantastic game that makes use of these same factors to create engaging gameplay.
Anyway, enough of the random rants. I'll post about how we can improve shooter difficulty next.