XCOM: Enemy Within

Common Sense Media says

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

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

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.

 

Violence

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.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

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

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

Creates serious privacy and safety concerns. XCOM: Enemy Within can be played online against others. There's full voice support on all versions of the game, without anyone monitoring or filtering the words or dialogue. As a result, players can hear profanity and unsolicited personal questions.

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 kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading

Science

  • energy

Social Studies

  • citizenship

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • thinking critically
  • decision-making
  • strategy

Self-Direction

  • goal-setting
  • time management
  • work to achieve goals

What Kids Can Learn

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

 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading

Science

  • energy

Social Studies

  • citizenship

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • thinking critically
  • decision-making
  • strategy

Self-Direction

  • goal-setting
  • time management
  • work to achieve goals

Although elements of XCOM: Enemy Within focus on strategic reasoning, 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?

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?

QUALITY
 

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:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Price:$29.99 (PC), $39.99 (consoles)
Available online?Not available online
Developer:2K Games
Release date:November 12, 2013
Genre:Strategy
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 (PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of XCOM: Enemy Within 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.

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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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Adult Written bytrustmeimanadult September 9, 2014
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

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
AGE
15
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

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

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