Cliff Bleszinski and the crew at Epic Games have done it. Again. I don't know if "video game" is even applicable to Gears of War 3. There is plot and pacing and dialogue here that trumps that of most Oscar-winning motion pictures.
This is a whole new character-driven visceral form of narrative art. One scene in particular stands out in my mind: early in the game, you play as Cole leading a squad in search of supplies around his old hometown of Hanover. Cole and the squad enter a grocery store and come across a life-sized cardboard stand-up of Cole, looking as he did 17 years earlier, in his thrashball uniform advertising Thrashies cereal. Cole looks at himself from so long ago and says something about "Ever feel like you're dead, but nobody told you?"
It's a very simple and quiet moment but... it says so much more than any hail of gunfire or highly complicated scripted moment of cutscene.
It's gonna be a rainy evening, and I'm ahead on some stuff. Gonna crank up the Xbox 360 and head back to the front lines :-)