Gears of War 3 Game Poster Image

Gears of War 3

Explosive, violent, and gory finale to the sci-fi series.
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What parents need to know

Positive messages

Any game with gratuitous violence doesn't give a good message to players -- even if you're one of the good guys. GEARS OF WAR 3 is a third-person shooter with a heavy emphasis on violence and gore.

Positive role models

While there are multiple player characters in the game, you'll fight mostly as Marcus Fenix, a weathered soldier and leader of the Delta Squad. Marcus is surprised to hear his father is still alive and sets out to find him. Fenix also works with his squadmates to stave off the relentless Locust alien creatures. But Fenix uses more than a dozen weapons to kill aliens in a bloody fashion and sounds like he enjoys it.

Ease of play

This game is very similar to its predecessors, including the control scheme, but even newcomers should be able to pick up the game's controls easily as there are multiple tutorial instructions to follow at the beginning of the game. There are also three levels of difficulty: easy, medium, and hard. The game also has a section for newbies so that they can be brought up to speed on the previous storylines.


GEARS OF WAR 3 is extremely violent, bloody, and gory. Using weapons including machine guns, grenades, and chainsaws, you'll shoot, slice, and stomp on alien creatures known as the Locust. Because they consume a petroleum-based liquid on this planet, they explode in a yellowy orange goo when shot. However, there is lots of red blood seen in the game, too, from fallen humans, primarily. Along with earning "Rewards" for creative killings, you can perform a finishing move on an alien that results in a gory display (including crushing skulls, dismemberment, or decapitation).

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The game includes many instances of strong profanity, including words like "motherf--ker," "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "damn," "hell," "bitch," and more. The language is mature right from the get-go, spoken by many of the squadmates and other characters, but there's an option to turn this off in the settings. You might also hear profanity in an online multiplayer game.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know GEARS OF WAR 3 is a very violent and gory third person shooter game. Players have access to a number of deadly weapons to kill aliens -- who explode into messy chunks -- plus there are other melee weapons like lances, chainsaws, and special suits that can decapitate and dismember at close range. There are rewards (24 of them) for creative kills and the option for dramatic and over-the-top finishing moves. Language is also very strong it this game. But parents should know both gore and strong language can be turned off in the Options screen.

What's it about?

The third and final game in the sci-fi trilogy, GEARS OF WAR 3 is once again a game of survival, as you play as Marcus Fenix, a beefy war hero with arms the size of tree trunks. Fenix is the leader of the Delta Squad, members of the diminishing "Coalition of Ordered Governments" ("COG") -- humankind's last hope from being obliterated by vicious aliens named Locusts. Without giving away much of the story –- which takes place 18 months after the events of Gears of War 2 -- there are many recurring characters from past games, new playable COG fighters, and a handful of plot twists and other surprises, too. Gears of War 3 is a "stop and pop" action game that has you taking cover behind objects while peeking around to take down numerous enemies with plenty of firepower. You can vault over objects, crawl, sprint, revive squadmates, and pick up ammo and other goodies. The single-player game can take between 15 and 20 hours to complete, plus there are many cooperative and competitive game modes that delivers a lot more content for mature Xbox 360 gamers.

Is it any good?


The good news for fans of the Gears of War series is this third installment is the best yet, with a compelling single-player campaign and plenty of multiplayer mayhem to indulge in online with friends. The bad news, however, is this new disc marks the conclusion of one of the most celebrated and successful Xbox 360 game franchise to date. Developer Epic Games did a "bag up" job with this frantic third-person shooter, but they didn't mess with the formula too much. The pacing of these missions feels great, weaving in story elements and short cut-scene sequences that give meaning to your actions. Plus, the graphics are stunning (despite some occasional frame rate hiccups when there's a lot of action onscreen). Levels are well-designed and enemy artificial intelligence (A.I.) is very smart. As with past games, expect many encounters with impressive (and massive) boss creatures that'll require brains and brawn to successfully take down with your team.

After you finish the game on one of the various difficulty levels (including Hardcore), you'll likely want to play it all over again in up to four-player co-op (cooperative). This way, everyone takes control over a different character in the Delta Squad. There are also many competitive multiplayer modes to indulge in over the Xbox Live service ($60/year). Five-player "Horde" mode, for example, pits you against wave after wave of Locusts creatures while "Beast" mode turns the tables and has you play as the Locust. "Versus" mode alone has 10 different multiplayer maps to try out. While Epic Games didn’t really add anything new to the gameplay, Gears of War 3 serves as an explosive conclusion to the best-selling series and will no doubt satiate both longtime fans and new players alike.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence when playing video games.

  • Families can also talk about whether Epic Games, the developer of GEARS OF WAR 3, should've added more new features to this third and final game in the series or were they smart to keep the same gameplay and features for those who simply want more of the same? That is, the game doesn't veer away much from its predecessors, so will players be happy or disappointed about that?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360
Available online?Not available online
Release date:September 20, 2011
Genre:Third-person shooter
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language

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Teen, 15 years old Written byAbe1998 December 10, 2013

Excellent but extremely violent game for ages 15+

Gears of War 3 is an excellent but very gory third-person shooter game. The player plays as Marcus Fenix, a man in search of his lost father, and other COGS, people who fight evil alien races known as the Locust and the Lambent. Violence 10/10: Players will use shotguns, pistols, sniper rifles, mortars, machine guns and swords to kill thousands of alien, and in some modes, human enemies. Blood will visibly be shown when enemies are shot, and blood will begin to stain the walls and floor if the player is shot too many times. Stronger weapons may cause dismemberment if used at close range. Players also have the ability to perform a finishing move when enemies are injured, which may include tearing off limbs, decapitation, torching somebody's insides or crushing skulls. All of this is shown is realistic and graphic detail, but fortunately, this can be filtered out in the options menu. Language 8/10: Players will hear frequent and sometimes strong language within the game, including f--k, mother f--ker, sh-t, a-shole, a-s, b-tch, h-ll, d-mn, and crap. Like the violence, strong language can be filtered out (I must note that only stronger words like f-ck, sh-t, and b-tch will be filtered, but in rare occasions, one of those words may be slipped.) God's name is used in vain quite a bit. One female character says to a male character that she's going to "raise his voice an octave," which would be considered inappropriate in my family. Sexual content 2/10: Very little throughout the game. However, there is a scene where there is trading, in which women are included. Also, an alien character, who actually looks very humans, has a tight shirt, making her breasts rather noticable. However, it is not portrayed in a sexual way. Drugs/alcohol/smoking 1/10: One reference to "beer," but nothing more. Overall, an excellent game that I would recommend for ages 15+, due to extreme amounts of blood and gore, and frequent and strong language. If you are going to use the filters, I would recommend it for ages 13+.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Parent Written byResistentialism June 29, 2012

Good game, gore and language can be turned off.

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written byRonnoc723 December 4, 2013

Great game for kids when gore is turned off

Gears of War 3, what an amazing game! I have finished this game and think it is great, but down to the review. The game is extremely violent when the mature content is left on, but when the mature content (gore, coarse language) is turned off, then gears of war 3 can be a game that younger kids can enjoy, too. When gore is turned off, then the Halo franchise can be seen as a more violent game. But, if you have no problem with your child playing violent games, then by all means, get them this awesome game!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing