I played both Gears of War 1 and 2 this last weekend, on Hardcore, for my first time ever playing a Gears game.
Neither were all that "hard" in Hardcore and Gears 1 was kinda boring... thank god I played Gears 2, as it was way better than part 1 (even though all vehicle sequences weren't very fun to actually play, but seeing some of them from a technical stand-point was cool). I also got over Level 25 in Gears 2 multiplayer, which was good times.
Overall, I think I enjoyed myself, regardless of the flaws. I'm just now booting-up Gears 3 and so far so good @ being the game I probably want to play for a while. 4 player Campaign might be awesome as hell.