Mass Effect 2

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Mass Effect 2 Game Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Extraordinary sci-fi sequel with mature content.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 33 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 45 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

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 & Representations

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."

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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byClaymix February 29, 2012

Very Mature Game

I'm not sure what other reviewers are thinking, calling this game okay for children (for young teens... really?) I happen to agree wholeheartedly with the... Continue reading
Adult Written byChris P. June 6, 2020

One of the greatest video games of all time

This is one of the greatest video games of all time. The story is fantastic, combat is great, mechanics are wonderful. The final mission was the most intense ex... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byEsperance September 28, 2018

Play it!! I managed it in 3 days so y'all should be able to manage it easily enough.

One of my top five games, great combat for those who like cover & ranged vs close combat dynamics. It has numerous play styles for both the novice &... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byAidan Clark March 1, 2017

Great Game Overall

Mass Effect 2 is an amazing sci-fi RPG, and probably the best out of the series in my personal opinion. The violence is nothing more than you would see in a fir... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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: Windows, Xbox 360
  • Price: $59.99 ($49.99 for PC)
  • Available online? 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
  • Last updated: June 19, 2019

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