Mass Effect 2

Common Sense Media says

Extraordinary sci-fi sequel with mature content.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The player is out to stop evil with some allies, so the message is about saving the world from bad guys. But in order to complete the game there is plenty of combat/killing that you must engage in.

Positive role models

For the most part, the protagonist is a positive role model but you can alter his personality (to be nicer or meaner) based on your dialogue choices. Plus, while Sam is a good guy, he reluctantly must work with a ruthless organization.

Ease of play

The game is fairly easy to play but some of the controls -- including the power and weapon wheel -- can be a bit tricky to manipulate due to small fonts.


There are plenty of weapons (shotguns, pistols, machine guns, rifles) and powers (freeze others and use of telekinesis) in this game, resulting in maiming or killing enemies (many of them are alien or robotic, but some appear to be human). Blood can be seen leaving the bodies. You can zoom in for a head-shot from far away. Some cutscenes show torture during interrogation which includes beating up and shooting.


While the game has no nudity, there is suggestive imagery and dialogue. Early on in the game you'll enter a club ("Afterlife") and see alien pole dancers (and on video screens, too). You can hear dialogue references to sexual activity or embrace, kiss, and unzip the clothing of another character. You can see sexual gyrations as well.


While not excessive, players can hear strong profanity such as "s--t," "f--k" and "assh--e." Less offensive words include "damn," "hell" and "bitch."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

There are many bar scenes in the game and you can order what appears to be an alcoholic drink from a bartender. There are dialogue references and one mission related to stopping drug trafficking between planets. Dialog about "Narcotics flooded my vieins" can be heard.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Mass Effect 2 is for mature audiences only. The subject matter is adult-like, including violence (with blood), profanity, drug references, and sexual imagery and discussion. This game takes place in the future, throughout space and with aliens, and has a fantasy setting. Players must make moral and ethical decisions and live with the consequences of those decisions.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

MASS EFFECT 2 continues the heroic space adventures of Commander Shepard in the 22nd century, but introduces many new characters, weapons, and plotlines. Therefore, you don't need to play the original Mass Effect to understand and appreciate this sequel, which takes place two years after its predecessor, though you might get more out of it as it's part of a larger story arc. In fact, you can import your saved game into this seuqel to continue as your own Commander Shepard, retaining his customized look, attributes, and personality. Speaking of story, the fantastic tale in Mass Effect 2 revolves around a mysterious new threat to humankind and Shepard's reluctance to work with Cerberus, a ruthless organization (bordering on terrorists, says Shepard), in order to stop "The Collectors" in their path of destruction. By previewing a huge 3-D map of the galaxy in his starship, Shepard can fly to various worlds to handpick an elite team of fighters to ensure a well-balanced squad (and you can preselect team members before each mission, too). As with the first game, there are also love interests, betrayals, mini-games, and numerous side-missions that will also affect the story.

Is it any good?


Mass Effect 2 is very, very good. More so than the first game, third-person combat plays a huge role, with many character classes to choose from (including a brute soldier, tech specialist, or stealthy infiltrator), multiple futuristic weapons and powers to choose from (all of which are upgradeable), and different ways to fight based on your preference (real-time combat or pause the action to make weapon/power selections or assign squad commands). The enemy artificial intelligence (A.I.) is smart, quick and ready to peg you off as soon as you break cover.

A few issues, remain, however, including a hard-to-see weapon and power wheel interface (where you must make a selection) and some anticlimactic moments when the dialogue builds up to a short fight. Shortcomings notwithstanding, Mass Effect 2 is an extraordinarily fun and great-looking action RPG for the Xbox 360 and PC. Sci-fi fans, rejoice — Mass Effect 2 is well worth the wait.

Platform Note: Despite some minor interface differences, the two versions of the game are the same.

Online interaction: The game lets you download bonus content but there is no multiplayer options in this game.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the moral and ethical decisions the protagonist must make and how it affects the story. Is it a good idea for game designers to put in consequences of actions?

  • Do you like games that let players choose between a noble or ruthless path? Or should there not be a darker side of the main character because it might promote negative behavior in real life?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, Windows
Price:$59.99 ($49.99 for PC)
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Electronic Arts
Release date:January 26, 2010
Genre:Role Playing
ESRB rating:M for Blood, Drug Reference, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Violence (Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of Mass Effect 2 was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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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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Adult Written bygidgiddonihah May 17, 2011
I have watched several news things that talked about how there was "Full nudity and sex in Mass Effect 2" . I had already played before and couldn't remember anything with sex and/or nudity. Curious to see if this was true (And if so, I would be very disappointed in the game) and to write an accurate and 'mature' review, I tried to get into a position to even just ask someone. To my amazement (And to some extent relief :) ), I couldn't get it to even get close. I tried going through again normal, and once again, NO SEX. Both times the majority of my team had the loyal thing underneath them. Not getting to that point, I went to youtube to look at some of the cutscenes and they are not all that bad-scene worse on PG-13 movies (There is the Miranda one, which shows her straddling Shepard, but once again, seen worse in PG-13 movies) . You have to start a relationship with that person, and let it grow (As close to real life as game makers have gotten so far), then ask them. So in my opinion the sex aspect of the game has been blown way out of proportions. The game has lost a good crowd due to the "Oh no Mass Effect 1/2 both have complete nudity and SEX, "OMG!" from news reporters and overprotective parents (I have/had two of these :P). This game has a wonderful AI (Standard Bioware). You can choose certain dialouge that will affect other available dialogue down the road and allow you to do certain actions. Things that you may have thought trivial when you selected a conversation option will come back and haunt you. Characters will become angry and will express this, though im not sure if they go so far as to betray you or leave the group. As the conversation options and actions are so diverse you can choose to be a 'good cop' or 'bad cop'. This can lead to bad rolemodels, but I think that is taking things to the extreme. Overall I think this is a fun game that misses a lot of people because of the sex that doesn't really exist (Once again, you have to TRY and KNOW and be MATURE to get to the point where the sex becomes a problem-and from what I have seen, the worst is seeing an alien butt for about 2 seconds and the Miranda scene). PG-13 material at worst, seen WAY, WAY more stuff going on in a PG-13 movie. Solid 4/5 game! Mature 14/15 year olds can handle this...
Teen, 13 years old Written byTermiteruler May 17, 2011

A Sweeping Space Epic - Must Play

I cannot even begin to fully laud this game. Shooter, RPG, drama, it fits into all three categories. It has a plot and a backdrop that totally sweeps you away and drops you into a futuristic and believable universe. There is more plot in this game than a whole season of prime time TV. I mean what I say. There is a wealth of character development and opportunities for interaction. You play as a seemingly canonical good guy at first, but the deeper you go, the more intricate the game and plot is. Once you get the basics of gameplay, it is a breeze to interact with. There is much to learn, and there is even some reciprocity with the real world. (If you pay attention, there is one part where an officer is educating his troops about Newton's law on inertia) All of the characters are very deep and have believable personalities. As far as the content goes, it's no worse than a PG-13 movie at it's very worst. The violence doesn't feature dismemberment or anything, and the content use is mild. (The Illusive Man smokes, and there are some bars) One thing that irritates me about this game is all of the criticism about the romance. Again, no worse than a movie. Acts are only implied and not explicit. It's not as bad as the embarrassingly poorly researched Kevin McCullough represented it.I cannot stress this enough to you, this game is a must play. I found it shocking and it's hands down the best game I have ever played. Do not miss this for anything!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bypopo3343 April 26, 2011
Good game beat it and the sexual content is a relationship over a lot of time i dont see why mature 12 year olds cant play this game.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Educational value
Great role models


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