Mass Effect 3

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Mass Effect 3 Game Poster Image
Exciting sci-fi adventure with gore, sex, and profanity.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 25 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

This game focuses heavily on fighting against the evil Reapers, rallying various civilizations together to protect innocent worlds, and working to stop malevolent forces. Themes of friendship, loyalty, and sacrifice emerge. Note, though, that players engage in violence to maim and kill enemies.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Commander Shepard, the game's human protagonist (who can be male or female), exhibits both positive and negative traits. He fights against evil to protect the galaxy from harm, but spends much of his time engaged in violence. Also, players can control whether he is polite or rude during conversations, meaning he won't come off as the same kind of character for all players.

Ease of Play

The game developers at BioWare have spent a lot of time refining control in their Mass Effect games. Those who've played a previous entry in the series will ease right into this game, while rookies should be able to learn the basics within the first few missions. The Xbox 360 version of the game also offers Kinect for Xbox 360 support, allowing players to give commands to squadmates using their voice instead of via the controller.

Violence

Players select weapons -- guns, bombs, and futuristic weapons like an arm-mounted tech-blade for deadly melee attacks -- before approaching enemies in tactical fashion, and hiding behind objects while exchanging fire. Some kills are slowed down for dramatic effect. Players can also assign combat orders to their squad mates. Some enemies are machine-like, but others -- humans and aliens -- show blood when attacked, especially during headshots.

Sex

As with previous games in the series, the game's protagonist (who can be male or female) may have a love interest in the game and might end up in bed. A simulated lovemaking session sees the player's character lying down and rolling around while partially dressed. Cleavage and buttocks can be seen, hence the "partial nudity" warning by the ESRB. The game also gives the option for a same-sex relationship. Some lines of dialogue are sexually suggestive in nature.

Language

The game contains strong profanity during some dialogue sequences. This includes words like "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole," as well as "bitch," hell," "damn," and "bastard."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know Mass Effect 3 is an action game with role-playing elements designed for mature players. It shows violence and blood -- dramatic, slow-motion headshots depict crimson splatter -- and presents adult situations that include suggestive dialogue, sexual activity, and partial nudity. There are thousands of lines of dialogue, some of which include strong profanity. What's more, multiplayer support over the Internet means gamers can chat freely in real-time, creating potential for players to share personal information and become subject to inappropriate conversations.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bya deep gamer September 1, 2012

Makes you think about yourself and those around you

I have been a gamer most of my life, and thinking about every game I've ever played, Mass Effect always stands out for me. This series has the deepest char... Continue reading
Adult Written byhwarming May 9, 2012

Amazing

This game is amazing, the main character, Shepard, has to face the invasion of the Reapers, ancient machines whose sole purpose is to wipe out life in the galax... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old July 23, 2012

Common Sense Media, you don't understand kids.

This isn't really that bad of a game. I used to be terrified of gore, but I got over that, so I watched my dad play this game for a bit. There's barel... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byalexgCALI4LIFE April 30, 2013

The avatar of the video game world

i think every single gamer who has an xbox or playstation needs to go out and get this game right now! ya, that means you too, come on, get off the coach. but s... Continue reading

What's it about?

Is it any good?

The intense, combat-heavy gameplay, tight controls, and engaging story and characters all make Mass Effect 3 an extraordinary adventure, regardless of whether you're new to the series or a longtime fan. Along with the long solo campaign -- which features tens of thousands of lines of dialogue and nearly 90 minutes of cinematic sequences -- the game features multiplayer modes for up to four players. This continues the fun long after the story is completed.

While all three versions of the game are the same, the Xbox 360 version also adds Kinect support, which allows gamers to assign instructions to Shepard's squad mates using voice commands instead of using the controller. Without question, the Mass Effect series -- designed for players 17 years of age and older -- is among the finest examples of interactive entertainment, delivering immersive, action-heavy gameplay (with many RPG upgrades), solo and multiplayer gameplay, and memorable scenes and characters.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether this game utilizes Kinect for Xbox 360 in a meaningful way. Do voice commands enhance the experience? Did you feel more immersed in the game?

  • Families can also discuss the depiction of sexuality in games. Do you think games are an appropriate platform for romantic narrative?

Game details

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