A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Questions authority, promotes teamwork. Players encouraged to think strategically.
Positive Role Models
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 & Scariness
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.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some human soldiers hold lit cigars, cigarettes.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.