XCOM: Enemy Within Game Poster Image

XCOM: Enemy Within



Expansion to a violent and mature strategy sci-fi game.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Although elements of XCOM: Enemy Within focus on strategic reasoning, we don't recommend it for learning because of its graphic violence.


Positive messages

Does this game have a positive message? Yes, and no. Yes, because you're defending Earth from an alien invasion. No, because it contains a lot of graphic violence, blood, and gore.

Positive role models

You don't get to know a lot about your characters, but you're in command of a number of soldiers, who can be genetically modified to help ward off the alien invasion.

Ease of play

This strategy game expansion can be a bit challenging at first, even though there's a mandatory tutorial to play through. Plus, since you need the game XCOM: Enemy Unknown, many will already be familiar with the controls and top-down, three-quarter view of the action.



While battling giant insect-like aliens as well as human soldiers, players will use all kinds of modern weapons (and some sci-fi ones) to kill the enemy in a graphic manner. This includes guns and grenades. The game has a lot of blood and gore. For example, aliens can lay eggs inside of humans, which eventually explode. Burned, deceased bodies can be seen, too.

Not applicable

The game has some occasionally strong profanity in the dialogue sequences, including words like "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that XCOM: Enemy Within is a strategy game filled with graphic violence, blood, and gore. It earns its Mature rating by the Entertainment Software Rating Board. Players use a number of weapons -- including guns and grenades -- to kill enemy soldiers and aliens and will see a lot of death. The strategy game also has strong profanity and supports unmonitored voice chat.

What's it about?

Developed by Firaxis Games and published by 2K Games, XCOM: ENEMY WITHIN is an expansion pack that requires last year's XCOM: Enemy Unknown. Like the full game, Enemy Within is a turn-based strategy game that tells of an alien invasion on Earth, and you're tasked with commanding a number of soldiers to take out the intergalactic threat. Playing from an angled, top-down perspective, you'll take turns with the enemies, on various maps, to destroy them one by one. This expansion disc adds new operative abilities to fight two new aliens (Mechtoid and the Seeker) and an underground human organization hoping to gain control of Earth, too. XCOM: Enemy Within also includes a large number of new solo and multiplayer maps (almost 50 percent more than last year's game) along with new weapons and upgrades.

Is it any good?


If you liked last year's XCOM: Enemy Unknown you'll love XCOM: Enemy Within. Along with 40 more (and better) maps, there's the new enemy faction (rebel humans called the EXALT), which spices things up, along with new weapons, an alien resource ("Meld"), and new soldier abilities: "gene mods" (so you can genetically enhance your troops into super soldiers) and MECs (Mechanized Exoskeletal Cybersuits, each with weapons including a flamethrower). Although it would've been nicer if it were cheaper than $40 (or $30 for PC), this expansion does exactly what a good add-on should: deliver a ton of new content and refinements over the original game. Note: All three versions of the game are the same.

Families can talk about...

  • Expansion discs that require a game to work aren't as popular as they once were -- now, it's usually a digital download as "DLC" (downloadable content), if anything -- so do gamers still want a game like this one? A way to get more content without paying for a whole new game? Or should it be free?

  • What do you think the impact of violence is on players?

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
Subjects:Social Studies: citizenship
Language & Reading: following directions, reading
Science: energy
Skills:Self-Direction: goal-setting, time management, work to achieve goals
Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making, strategy, thinking critically
Price:$29.99 (PC), $39.99 (consoles)
Available online?Available online
Developer:2K Games
Release date:November 12, 2013
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires, Science and nature, Space and aliens
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Strong Language, Violence

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Adult Written bytrustmeimanadult September 9, 2014

Love It!

Great for learning stratigy
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Easy to play/use
Teen, 15 years old Written bylocothegreat September 9, 2014

Great Stratigy

This is a great strategy game and teaches a lot of recourse management swell as teaching you to keep calm if difficult situations, if you think you can take the little amounts of swearing and the fairly frequent sic fi violence
What other families should know
Easy to play/use
Teen, 13 years old Written byHal F May 29, 2016

XCOM: Enemy Within is a great game for mature(ish) audiences

2K's game "XCOM: Enemy Within is a turn-based strategic game with lots of content. The only reason I think that it is for mature-ish audiences is that there is mild language and some blood and gore. The reason I believe that it is fairly good for learning is that it is a strategy game, kind of like a war zone version of chess. It also teaches resource management, because when your soldiers die, they stay dead and there is nothing you can do about it, teaching you to be careful. You also have to manage your money and fund side missions. I think that XCOM is a great game and that it is worth the price because of the amount of content that it offers. I hope this helps anyone considering purchasing this game.
What other families should know
Great messages
Easy to play/use


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