XCOM 2

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
XCOM 2 Game Poster Image
Parents recommend
Deep turn-based strategy game with lots of bloody violence.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 6 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Questions authority, promotes teamwork. Players encouraged to think strategically. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

All protagonists are serious, dedicated, determined; many willing to die for what they believe in. They're also generally a bit coldhearted, unopposed to violence, taking pleasure in combat.

Ease of Play

Multiple difficulty settings allow some flexibility in setting your own challenge, but missions can be very hard even on easiest settings. Soldiers who fall in combat remain dead, potentially making future missions even more difficult. 

Violence

Turn-based combat pits humans against both human-like, monstrous aliens. Guns, grenades used to kill enemies; close-up shots show bodies violently thrust backward, torn apart, bleeding. Frequent autopsies conducted on alien corpses involve a doctor cutting, ripping into flesh, blood spraying from the table.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some human soldiers hold lit cigars, cigarettes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know XCOM 2 is a turn-based strategy game with more graphic violence than usual for the genre. Battlefields are viewed from a raised perspective, but the camera zooms in close for attacks, showing human and alien characters suffering the effects of gunshots, grenades, and explosions, bodies flying, and blood spraying in the air. Between combat, players see medical procedures performed on alien bodies, with squishy cutting sounds and more blood. The soldiers fight for the future of humanity but clearly take pleasure in their bloody, violent work, as evidenced by occasional cheers. They also engage in teamwork and work strategically, relying on brains, brawn, and camaraderie to earn victory.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTellstar March 5, 2020

Not as bad as you think.

I started playing the first Xcom game back in 1995 and I have seen the game mature and grow over so many years. But the level of detail the “Expert” describes X... Continue reading
Parent of a 10-year-old Written bysusan l. October 25, 2016

THIS GAME IS AWSOME.

This is the first XCOM game that is rated T. The rest have intense violence, blood and gore, And language. This game is by far, Da best.
Teen, 16 years old Written byEli W September 19, 2018

Great except for the one issue not mentioned by the "expert"

It is an amazing strategy game. It has you plan out strategies, care about your crew, fight aliens and have fun. The only issue is occasional glitches.
Kid, 11 years old July 2, 2018

common sense media gives bad ratings.

XCOM 2 is a game that has blood and violence and death. thats all the bad stuff. you kill aliens. they can kill your units. thats life. you die, what does that... Continue reading

What's it about?

Set 20 years after XCOM: Enemy Unknown, XCOM 2 sees humanity unwittingly falling under the control of the very aliens they thought vanquished by the Commander -- the player's character -- and his small band of scientists, engineers, and soldiers in the first game. The sequel begins with members of the original team (and one of their descendants) rescuing the commander from the clutches of the aliens, removing a neural implant, and putting him in charge of their current insurgent efforts. The experience is structured much the same as its predecessor, with players taking small groups of soldiers out on discrete missions to rescue VIPs, track down technology, and raid alien outposts. The turn-based combat is highly strategic, and when your soldiers -- whom you've likely spent hours customizing and upgrading -- die, they remain dead for the rest of the game. Between missions, players slowly upgrade the facilities of a giant ship, putting scientists and engineers to work researching and building new technology, all while trying to recruit allies around the world. 

Is it any good?

Though this sequel hews closely to its predecessor, it's the ways it's been subtly changed that make it an even better game. Firaxis has added an enormous variety of new alien types, each with its own abilities that force players to come up with fresh tactics. Maps are now procedural, which means players never know what to expect -- even when playing the game a second time. Plus, players have been given much more liberty to customize the experience, including their soldiers, who can now be made to look very different from each other. And with full support for modding, we can expect a huge variety of player-made modifications and additions coming down the pike.

What's more, it's hard to overstate the change in psychology that comes with working to take back the planet one nation at a time rather than attempting to preserve an existing world order, as was our goal in the first game. Expanding XCOM's area of influence one mission at a time across a global stage is wonderfully gratifying and does a much better job of conveying a sense of progress. Bottom line, XCOM 2 builds upon and adds to an already outstanding turn-based strategy design, resulting in a supremely satisfying game of tactics that will keep players highly engaged all the way to the end credits -- and probably beyond.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. When playing games, do you feel differently about shooting monsters or aliens as opposed to people? Does it matter if they're sentient? What, if anything, changes in your mind if your enemies aren't visibly human?

  • Talk about the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Do you think that life could have evolved on planets other than Earth? What might it look or act like? Do you think people from Earth could get along peacefully with creatures from other planets?

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows
  • Price: $59.99
  • Pricing structure: Paid
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Firaxis
  • Release date: February 5, 2016
  • Genre: Strategy
  • Topics: Space and Aliens
  • ESRB rating: T for Blood, Use of Tobacco, Violence
  • Last updated: May 17, 2020

Themes & Topics

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