XCOM: Enemy Unknown
By Marc Saltzman,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Thrilling sci-fi strategy game with violence and gore.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
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.
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 & Scariness
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.
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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.
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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.
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XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Based on 10 parent reviews
its good but tough
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Extremely Well-made Tactics and Base-Management Strategy game
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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?
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.
Talk to Your Kids 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?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
- 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
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: 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
- Last updated: August 26, 2016
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