Anointed by the games media as Microsoft's first "killer app" for its Xbox 360, Epic Games' Gears of War is a futuristic third-person shooter emphasizing tactical action over run-and-gun battles. Players are thrust in a climactic clash between what's left of humankind and a swarming underground race called the Locust Horde. The main protagonist is Marcus Fenix, a once disgraced soldier looking to redeem himself by leading a ragtag squad against the monstrous threat.
Since the alien army vastly outnumbers the team, players must use the post-apocalyptic world to their advantage, such as seeking cover behind dumpsters, pillars, cars, rubble, and other objects. The developer has adapted its award-winning Unreal technology to create interactive environments with a physics-based damage system. Players, for instance, can shoot down structures to forge new routes or opportunities to trap the enemy. Up to three squad mates will accompany Fenix in each mission, with basic commands such as "advance," "hold," or "freelance" available to guide them.