XCOM: Enemy Within

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
XCOM: Enemy Within Game Poster Image
Expansion to a violent and mature strategy sci-fi game.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

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 & Representations

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.


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

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bytrustmeimanadult September 9, 2014

Love It!

Great for learning stratigy
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... Continue reading
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... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

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