Gears of War



Hot sci-fi shooter for adults only.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

While the threat is aliens, the message of the game is that it is OK to use vicious, gory, extreme violence to accomplish your goal.

Positive role models

Players assume the role of a beefy futuristic soldier in the effort to rid the world of nightmarish alien creatures through tactical warfare. Your means are extremely violent, including using a chainsaw to rip apart your enemies.

Ease of play

Game has challenging gameplay as you balance tactical decision with fighting.


Plenty of violence, blood, and gore. The worst it gets: you can use a chainsaw to rip apart enemies or machine guns to spray them down. A deadly laser strike can level buildings. Characters and world are photorealistic, making bloody battles seem even gorier.

Not applicable

Foul language spoken by marines, including the odd F-word.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this action game is not for kids or tweens -- it's an "M"-rated military shooter that, while against aliens, is realistically violent and gory. Need an example? You can use a chainsaw to rip apart enemies or use machine guns to spray them down. The game has an online component; Common Sense Media does not recommend online play for anyone under age 12.

What's it about?

Microsoft Game Studios' GEARS OF WAR is an action-heavy sci-fi shooter that places a heavy emphasis on using items for cover and exchanging blows with the vicious E.T. race known as the Locust Horde. Players assume the role of a beefy futuristic soldier in the effort to rid the world of nightmarish alien creatures through tactical warfare. Played from a third-person perspective, players must carefully assess areas for cover, find ammo, and take on the enemies until the coast is clear to continue to the next area.

Weapons range from pistols and shotguns to grenades, assault rifles, and the Hammer of Dawn, which communicates with a satellite that beams down a deadly laser strike that can level buildings. Taking cover is as easy as pressing the A button on the controller when near a solid object. Press the analog stick to the left or right and you'll peek around to assess the threat. Press A again to re-enter the freeform mode to walk, roll, and find another hiding place.

Is it any good?


The game's strengths lie in the tense action, smart artificial intelligence, and multiplayer modes on the same television or via the Xbox Live online service ($50 a year). The game offers plenty of atmosphere, adding to the wonderful sense of anxiety and excitement. Gears of War is easily the best-looking Xbox 360 game to date thanks to photorealistic characters, detailed environments, and special effects.

A handful of head-to-head battle modes are included in the game, including Warzone, pitting humans versus the Locusts, and Assassination, where the goal is to kill the leader of the opposing team. Xbox 360 fans in search of a gorgeous but gory game combining tactical action with horror elements will love fighting though this challenging adventure. Play through the game once and it unlocks an incredibly difficult mode, with even meaner enemies.

Online interaction: Online play with open chat may lead to profanity.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why older kids might be attracted to this game. Is it the story? Graphics? Violence? Online play? Since the enemies are extraterrestrials -- essentially already dehumanized for you -- is it easier to get into the violence of the game? What if the enemies were human -- would it make a difference to you?

  • What impact does playing a violent video game have on you?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360
Available online?Available online
Release date:November 9, 2006
Genre:Third-person shooter
ESRB rating:M for blood and gore, intense violence, strong language

This review of Gears of War was written by

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written by11BK201 April 9, 2011

An incredible co-op for mature gamers!

I play this game with the extreme content filter on because of the language and violence. Even with the filter the language still surprised me with plenty of words like sh*t, b*tch, and some more milder profanities. Some of these words are in the script during story development and some are during the actual gameplay. You hear the phrase "Eat sh*t and die!" multiple times throughout the games as NPC's kill enemies. Without the filter it is much worse. The filter does however take out much of the harsher violence. Without the filter you can literaly blow enemies apart with the shotgun or saw them in half with the cainsaw bayonet. All of the violence is extremely bloody often spraying up onto the screen. WITH the filter there is no blood and enemies do not fall apart. The screen still tints red when you are shot but it is not gruesome. Some of the environments can be a little disturbing with or without the filter. Some areas depict the after math of human encounters with aliens. Bodies are strewn about often in very bad shape (dismembered, bloodied, slightly decayed, etc...) However, none of it is very bad if you don't look closely at it. The strong point of this game is playing through the story mode with another player. The level of cooperation needed is incredible. My brother and I spend a lot of time playing this game together. It's a fun way to spend time with a good friend or family member. In the end, this is a great game; great controls, graphics, gameplay and co-op. It is dark and violent but this can mostly be avoided with the filter. It is however, still a game about war so it is best for more mature gamers
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Adult Written bysuperparent99 October 4, 2011


People say that this game is super inappropriate. First off, let me say that the violence is all from the aliens, spewing alien blood. Also, the game is extremely fast paced so you don;t even really pay attention to the violence. The language is bad, but nothing any kid over 12 doesn't hear on a daily basis. And to top all this off, there is a filter to turn both these things off. When that happens, the game easily becomes T instead of M
Kid, 10 years old February 3, 2011


You can tell by the cover of Gears of War that it is going to be very violent. Even though this game is great the realistic violence is very intense and very gory. At some points you get a chainsaw to cut up your foes. s**t, and the F word are said.
What other families should know
Too much violence


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