Call of Duty: Ghosts

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Call of Duty: Ghosts Game Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Bloody, frenetic combat makes this shooter for adults only.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 74 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 184 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Although elements of Call of Duty: Ghosts focus on teamwork and strategic reasoning, we don't recommend it for learning because of its graphic violence.

Positive Messages

This game sensationalizes and glorifies military combat without believable consequences, making it appear as though small groups of soldiers can take on entire armies while shrugging off successive bullet wounds in a matter of seconds.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The primary characters are brave American heroes fighting for their country's survival, but their only means of accomplishing objectives is intense and deadly violence. Also, there are moments when they seem to enjoy it.

Ease of Play

Standard first-person shooter controls should prove easy to pick up for genre veterans. Rookies can choose easier levels for the campaign and train against bots in Squads mode before hopping online to face real people, many of whom are far more skilled. 


Players shoot and kill countless human enemies using a vast arsenal of rifles, handguns, machine guns, and rocket launchers in this gritty, realistic, near-future military shooter. Blood sprays from every hit, and enemies yell out when struck. Close-quarters combat sees players using knives to stab foes in the neck -- again, with plenty of blood. Dramatic narrative sequences show characters being shot at point-blank range, then suffering and dying slowly.


Strong language, including the words "f--k" and "s--t," is present in spoken dialogue, but it's not frequent.


This game is part of Activision's sprawling Call of Duty series of military shooters. Related items, including branded headphones, keyboards, and mice, are readily available and promoted alongside the game in many stores. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Emblems resembling marijuana leaves can be selected in the game's character-customization module.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know Call of Duty: Ghosts is a gritty, military first-person shooter with constant and intense gun battles. Characters bleed and scream when struck by bullets, leaving crimson smears on the environment. Players also can attack enemies with knives in visceral close-quarters combat. There are no navigational problems, and there's no puzzle solving. The game focuses solely on frenetic combat, wherein quick reflexes and teamwork (in online play) reign supreme. The soldiers -- Americans fighting off foreign invaders -- are clearly cast as heroes, but virtually all their actions revolve around violence, and they often seem to take pleasure in their work.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAkatsuman132 December 11, 2013

Seriously, stop letting kids play games like these and getting angry when you see it's violent.

Please, PLEASE do not buy this game for your kids. This is game is obviously violent and was just not made for kids. The campaign itself lackluster with a fairl... Continue reading
Parent of a 7, 9, and 12-year-old Written byConcerned Parent June 17, 2014

You are being mislead!

I read several reviews about Call of Duty Ghosts...and i had never purchased a mature rated game i decided to read several reviews and do some homew... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byrated18 February 7, 2016

Why the rating doesn't matter.

When your child asks you to get him/her this game or any other M rated game, don't stubbornly say no in their face. This game is rated M for mature. That o... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old November 19, 2013


so first of all i am a kid. but before you stop reading this you should hear me out
this call of duty is not very violent not at all there is no gore hardly any... Continue reading

What's it about?

Set mostly in the near future, CALL OF DUTY: GHOSTS starts a new story line in the Call of Duty universe. America has been devastated by a flurry of kinetic missiles launched from space, and many of her greatest cities now lie in ruin. Players take on the role of a soldier working with what's left of the military to protect the now crater-pocked landscape from advanced forces encroaching from South and Central America. Action takes place in a variety of imaginative locales, ranging from the submerged wrecks of old ships to satellites floating in space. Players will also scale skyscrapers, fight through a flood, and pilot an assault helicopter.

Outside the campaign are three additional modes: the series' traditional, competitive multiplayer mode (which is where most players will spend their time), a new mode called Squads that pits players against computer-controlled opponents, and the alien-themed Extinction, a co-op mode for up to four players that involves finding and destroying alien pods scattered over a rural landscape.

Is it any good?

Call of Duty: Ghosts looks amazing, especially played on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. But it's not the game's graphics that impress so much as its depth and breadth of play. The campaign may be short and feature scenarios that strain belief (like zero-gravity space gunfights wherein you can get hit by bullets without decompressing), but most players will finish it in one or two nights and then spend weeks or months playing online multiplayer, which offers plenty of substantive evolutions that range from better-balanced combat rewards that don't drastically tip the odds in one team's direction to visually spectacular events that completely alter entire maps in seconds.

If traditional multiplayer doesn't interest you, there's Squads. Squads offers several new ways to play, like Safeguard, a mission type that has players defending against waves of increasingly skilled, computer-controlled enemies. And Extermination mode, with its class-based play that forces players to rely on each other to perform specific roles -- such as healer or resupplier -- may be the best cooperative experience yet produced in a Call of Duty game. That said, it would have been nice had the developers figured out a way to make online play a bit less off-putting for new players. Rookies with little experience likely will be creamed relentlessly for weeks or even months until their reflexes are honed and they become intimately familiar with the maps, weapons, and character-upgrade systems. Newbies can enjoy themselves a little playing against the game's computer-controlled bots until they've got the skills necessary for online play.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. Is there any difference between a series like Call of Duty, which depicts humans shooting other humans using realistic weapons in familiar settings, and other violent games with more fantastic scenarios?

  • Families also can discuss the depiction of women in games. This is the first Call of Duty to allow players to create female avatars in multiplayer mode. Do you think this empowers women, or does it feel strange to think that players will now have the ability to shoot and stab female characters?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love games that aren't M-rated

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