It just set it apart from the older consoles IMHO.
If other folks think it was just meh fair enough.
Unfortunately I need to disagree with you again. ;)
"Gears of War" was NOT the game that set it apart from the older consoles! It was clearly "GRAW" which launched 6 months earlier. THIS was the very first game which really screamed "next gen"! Sure, technically GOW was better but by that time the novelty has already worn off.
The most offending part about "Gears of War" was the fact that it was way, way over-hyped, just like "Halo 2&3" were and now" Killzone 2" is.