Mass Effect

Game review by
Brett Molina, Common Sense Media
Mass Effect Game Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Ambitious space journey with mature themes.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 31 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 56 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Character's moral choices determine whether you're perceived as a model officer or renegade. Those choices also impact future interactions and force you to consider the consequences of your actions.


Some blood, but nothing incredibly gory. There are a couple images of impaled humans, but not much else. You'll fight some organic species, humans included, as well as robots. Most battles involve using pistols, shotguns, rifles, and grenades. Most of the emphasis is placed on the dialogue and exploration.


Partial nudity. One scene alludes to sexual encounter, but shows nothing graphic. Creation of female character opens door for same-sex encounter.


Occasional curse word used, like "ass" and "s--t."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this game has one brief sex scene involving an apparent female alien. The scene more alludes to sex as opposed to showing graphic acts -- but the encounter even occurs when you create a female character, which opens the door to same-sex relationships. The in-game violence is on par with most shooters, but isn't gratuitous; players will shoot with pistols, shotguns, and rifles, and use grenades. But the focus of this game is on the interactive storyline where players decide the dialogue of their characte, leading to moral decisions about whether you traverse the galaxy as a diplomatic hero or a renegade willing to bend the laws, and these decisions have consequences.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bykathy221 December 2, 2009
I am a teacher and a parent of two teenagers and a 10 year old. I asked one of my students in sixth grade what a good video game was that I should get my fourte... Continue reading
Adult Written byPaladin357 March 17, 2012

Awesome, but a little short.

This is an amazing RPG with a good solid storyline that is engaging and entertaining. The player takes control of Commander Shepard, who... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byDragonKing April 24, 2016


I feel the complexity of it all would be better grasped by someone of an older age, plus their is some violence, sexual content, and alcoholism but nothing too... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byastist7 December 30, 2010

I'm sorry, but "No Kids"? Too far.

CommonSense has been doing a very poor job of estimating the age rating for "M" rated video games. The are only two moments in this game that threw it... Continue reading

What's it about?

In MASS EFFECT, your character must traverse galaxies to thwart an ancient machine race's effort to wipe out all organic civilization. How that story unfolds is mostly up to you. You'll start by selecting a character -- you can opt for the standard protagonist, Commander Shepherd, or create your own from scratch. Gamers have six classes to choose from, each with varying degrees of combat, technological, and magic-like (\"biotic\") skills. Players control their character's dialogue, and can therefore dictate how interactions play out in the future.

Is it any good?

Mass Effect represents a bold attempt at reshaping the RPG, if you can get past the glitches and inconsistent action.

It's anchor is its engaging, robust storyline. Powerful voice acting, lifelike facial models, and cinematic presentation make Mass Effect's story one of the few you can truly invest in. Action, on the other hand, doesn't reach the high bar set by the story. For the most part, it's solid, but suffers through inconsistencies.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this game compares with other role-playing games. Did you feel conflicted making some of the moral choices? Should more games involve equally engrossing storylines where you decide your character's reactions?

Game details

  • Platforms: Xbox 360
  • Price: $59.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: BioWare
  • Release date: November 19, 2007
  • Genre: Role-Playing
  • ESRB rating: M for Blood, Language, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Violence
  • Last updated: August 25, 2016

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