I just want to start with the fact that I am not a fanboy. I have only had my Xbox a few months and have been playing the first gears of war for an even shorter amount of time. So I am not rating this game high just because I am a fan of the franchise but I am rating it high because of the excellent content
I got the game a day early and I played it until 2 in the morning today so I have had a fair amount of experience. Previous gears players will feel at home with the cover system and the active reloads. The weapons have remained virtually the same but with some more additions. The mortar is a weapon you pump up and release to shower bombs on you enemies. The flamer thrower (scorcher) is brilliant and kills as quickly as the shotgun does at close range. However at a distance you get to see your enemies' burn and run around screaming. There is also a new pistol that fires short bursts. I may have missed out some weapons I haven't come across yet so please forgive me.
Now for some of the new defining features that make this game so much better. The new beat downs add to the gore. You can perform a weapon specific beat down with Y or the good old faithful curb stomp with X. The meat shield involves picking up a downed enemy and taking him hostage. You use him as a human shield while you pick of enemies with your pistol. Or you can have the same shield affect by picking up a metal shield called the boom shield.
The matchmaking system has been improved greatly. You now look for team members and then look for an apposing team of the same skill all at the push of a button. You then vote for the game type and map before starting. Then you choose your character and the weapon you start with.
Anyways enough reviewing I want to get back to playing.