Gears of War 3

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Gears of War 3 Game Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Explosive, violent, and gory finale to the sci-fi series.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 14 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 29 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

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 & Representations

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).


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.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bythomasr 1 August 13, 2015

Amazing game

Really great game with levels that excite and are awsome. Some bloody bits with some attacks.
Teen, 13 years old Written byJustakidcritic May 30, 2020

Rip dom

Good game, I played the game on hardcore, with the violences and the language trun on , my parents don't care what I play. The campaign is better than the... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byBalgrif January 18, 2018

I love this game

I like the feature where you can turn the Languge/cursing & Gore off, my parents let me play this aslong as i keep the Cursing/languge off

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.

Talk to your kids 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
  • Price: $59.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Microsoft
  • Release date: September 20, 2011
  • Genre: Third-Person Shooter
  • ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
  • Last updated: June 20, 2019

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fast-paced challenges

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate