XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Common Sense Media says

Thrilling sci-fi strategy game with violence and gore.

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

On one hand,  XCOM: Enemy Unknown pits humans against an evil alien force, which is a good message about working together to protect innocent people -- but the game is extremely violent and gory so it cannot be considered having a very positive message.

Positive role models

Each of the humans who work toward destroying the aliens have his or her own personality and specialty, but you don't get to know any of them well enough to judge their character -- and if they're role model material. They do defend humans against an alien invasion but they are killing with force at the same time.

Ease of play

The game can be a bit challenging for those new to the strategy genre, but the thorough tutorial and good pacing layers on the difficulty gradually. Experience with the original XCOM game is ideal, too.

Violence

XCOM: Enemy Unknown is a very violent strategy game. Players use all kinds of weapons to destroy alien invaders, including guns and bombs, and both sides can be bloodied, blown up into bits, and impaled. Cut-scene sequences also depict violence and gore. Humans could also be implanted with alien eggs in their head, which explode.

 

Sex
Not applicable
Language

The game has occasionally strong swear words, including "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole." You don't hear it often, but the profanity is strong.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Serious privacy and safety concerns: The game can be played online with someone else, and both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 gamers can talk at the same time in an unmoderated and unfiltered environment. As a result, players might hear inappropriate language -- including profanity and inappropriate personal questions.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while XCOM: Enemy Unknown might be a strategy game, it's a "Mature"-rated game because of strong violence, gore, and blood. Players can kill or be killed in a graphic manner. There is also strong profanity in the dialogue sequences, and the online multiplayer matches support open-dialogue between gamers.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading

Science

  • electricity
  • gravity
  • physics

Social Studies

  • government

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • decision-making
  • strategy

Self-Direction

  • identifying strengths and weaknesses
  • set objectives
  • time management

What Kids Can Learn

While elements of XCOM: Enemy Unknown focus on strategic thinking and self direction, we don't recommend it for learning because of its graphic violence.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading

Science

  • electricity
  • gravity
  • physics

Social Studies

  • government

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • applying information
  • decision-making
  • strategy

Self-Direction

  • identifying strengths and weaknesses
  • set objectives
  • time management

While elements of XCOM: Enemy Unknown focus on strategic thinking and self direction, we don't recommend it for learning because of its graphic violence.

This Learning Rating review was written by Marc Saltzman

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

Earth is under an extraterrestrial attack and so the Earth’s governments unite to form a paramilitary organization, known as XCOM, to fight back against this unknown enemy. You're in control of this elite squad of super soldiers, to battle the aliens on our turf and prevent them from taking over the planet. Gamers do this by creating and defending an operational base, researching alien technologies, and planning and executing turn-based attacks against the aliens (including the deployment of air units like the Interceptor and Skyranger). Despite some differences in control, the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows PC versions of the game play out the same.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

XCOM: ENEMY UNKNOWN is a refreshing change compared to most other games available today. From Firaxis, the award-winning team behind Civilization, comes this action-heavy strategy game that delivers thrills and spills. The turn-based strategy spans more than 70 missions around the globe, which keeps things fresh, but choosing the right man or women for the job can be just as critical as following through with tactical combat. While the graphics can sometimes be a bit glitchy, the pacing and progression, single and multiplayer maps, and thoughtfully designed soldier depth all add up to an engrossing strategy game worthy of your time, attention, and money.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether it's a good idea to resurrect older computer game franchises, like XCOM, and create a new experience for the modern age. Or should classic games be left as is, and game developers should move onto new intellectual properties (IPs)?

  • This game contains a lot of violence and gore. What is the impact of this kind of violence on the player?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Price:$59.99 ($49.99 for PC)
Available online?Not available online
Developer:2K Games
Release date:October 9, 2012
Genre:Strategy
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires, Space and aliens
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Strong Language, Violence (PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of XCOM: Enemy Unknown 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.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 7 and 13 year old Written byPandabearJohn January 9, 2013
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Good Game, Should be T

This game is for the most part, has nothing that would classify it as M save the blood and the language. In the options menu though there is a tab called Squad language which can turn on and off the bad language from the squad members, and for the blood there is a Gore setting which will turn off all the blood. Basically the rest of the game is a very Brain challenging game about Attacking aliens. The worst with all those settings off is that When your troops die they fall over on their faces. Really think it was way Over-rated. should be T
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Parent Written byauroraparent January 24, 2013
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

questionable for young teens

What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written bymovie loving teen October 15, 2012
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

A Good Strategy Game That Should Not Be Rated M.

This game has good learning scale for it is a strategy game with consequences to your choices. If you move a guy too far ahead towards an alien he will probibly die. This however should not be M because its not gory and there is no bad language. It does have green blood from aliens and thats about it so a hard T rating.
What other families should know
Too much violence

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