I’ve been meaning to review this game for a few days now – beat it on the “Casual” difficulty with friends over Xbox Live, then the end of last week beat it on “Hardcore” with Tony over at my house.

In short, Gears of War is one of the most exhilarating and fun games to play in a long time. My Xbox 360 has been taking a beating on this one, and from what I hear it might just curb stomp the reign of Halo 2 on the console. It is by far the most beautiful game I’ve ever played, by far one of funnest, and definitely one of the slickest shows in town. Of course, this is the first shooter truly designed to take advantage of my HDTV’s highest settings – and it shows up in widescreen glory.

I’ve been excited about this game for a long time (like at E3 and I met CliffyB, the game’s lead designer) and it definitely lived up to the hype. This is reason enough to persuade you to beg on your hands and knees for a 360 for Christmas.

The only difficulty in a totally resounding review of the game is the fact that it is rated “M” for Mature – which means it’s super scary, includes a fair amount of swearing and plenty of violence as you crush the Locust. This isn’t a game you’re going to play at the next Xbox Overnighter of Halo-ween with the younglings. You’ve got to wrestle with your own limits and standards on this one, but if it’s something that lands in the OK side of the court, it will blow you away.