This is a third-person shooter in which players assume the role of Marcus Fenix, a soldier on a mission to save his father and battle an alien threat. Players use machine guns, shotguns, sniper rifles, and grenades to kill aliens and human soldiers in frenetic combat. Battles are highlighted by realistic gunfire, screams of pain, explosions, and large splashes of blood; some attacks result in dismemberment or decapitations that leave body parts and bloodstains on the ground. Finishing moves on weakened enemies depict more intense acts of violence: players can stomp on an enemy's head until it breaks apart; use a chainsaw-like weapon (i.e., Lancer) to slice creatures in half; and rip off an enemy's arm to use as a weapon. Language such as "f**k," "sh*t," and "a*shole" can be heard in the dialogue.