StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

Common Sense Media says

Exceptional strategy sequel with some mature themes.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

StarCraft II is a sci-fi game. Humans battle aliens on other planets with futuristic technology. Humans use violence to win battles for the most part, which means it might not send the best message to young kids.

Positive role models

The lead character, Jim Raynor, is a tough fellow who is rough around the edges. He's fighting to protect the human race, but he's also a drinker and a smoker. We learn at the beginning of the game that he was incarcerated (for "desertion under fire"). He's probably not the best role model in video game lore.

 

Ease of play

Thanks to many optional tutorials and videos, StarCraft II is easy to click through -- especially for those who've played the original game (or other real-time strategy games). That said, the game's missions can get quite tough at times.

Violence

While seen from an "eagle-eye," top-down perspective, and therefore less graphic, this game does contain violence, blood, and some gore. The sci-fi story pits three races against each other (one of which is human) and you can see red blood splatter from guns and limbs and other body parts on the ground. Some of the non-interactive cut-scene sequences also show battles or the aftermath of bloody battles.

Sex

A suggestive drawing of a half-naked woman can be seen on the military suit of a lead character. It is reminiscent of drawings on the side of airplanes, as a tattoo or on the backs of some leather jackets.

 

Language

While not over the top, there is plenty of cursing in the dialogue spoken between the human soldiers, or in cut-scene sequences. Words such as "s--t," "ass," "bitch," "hell", "damn," and "damned" can be heard.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In many cutscene sequences, especially early on in the game, you can see a character drinking from multiple bottles at a bar (one clearly says Cognac on it), as well as a pack of cigarettes on the table. Another character has a cigar in his mouth (even while wearing his spacesuit helmet).

Privacy & safety

Creates privacy & safety concerns. The game's online service, Battle.net, delivers an amazing multiplayer experience. But parents should be aware players can challenge strangers in matches, chat via text or voice, and also add friends to an instant messenger-like buddy list. This chat is not moderated. If you opt for a Real ID friend relationship with a friend or family member, you can even send text messages between World of Warcraft and StarCraft II.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is a real-time strategy game set in the future and involves combat between three different alien races. The game includes plenty of violence (with blood and gore), foul language, and scenes with drinking and smoking. Violence will likely be the big concern, as players are battling rival factions to the death -- with blood and limbs flying. However, this violence is clearly within a sci-fi story that takes place in the future and on another planet (as opposed to shooting police in a New York City-like environment a la Grand Theft Auto). Plus, the angled top-down view is less "visceral" than an up-close-and-personal first-person view. Also be aware that this game supports open online text and voice communication. The multiplayer aspect, with players earning ratings based on how well they play, makes this a compelling game that is hard to quit. Families will want to pay attention to the addictive nature of this type of game.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading

Science

  • energy
  • geology
  • rocks and minerals

Social Studies

  • exploration
  • geography

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • strategy
  • applying information

Creativity

  • making new creations
  • brainstorming
  • developing novel solutions

Self-Direction

  • time management
  • work to achieve goals
  • identifying strengths and weaknesses

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Learning Approach

Support

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading

Science

  • energy
  • geology
  • rocks and minerals

Social Studies

  • exploration
  • geography

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • strategy
  • applying information

Creativity

  • making new creations
  • brainstorming
  • developing novel solutions

Self-Direction

  • time management
  • work to achieve goals
  • identifying strengths and weaknesses

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn about strategy and tactics, as well as creative thinking while battling aliens in this real-time strategy game. The bulk of the gameplay focuses on military micromanagement, including building and upgrading the units, mining resources to fuel the growth, and craftily placing the units on the map for maneuvers. Kids can also learn about teamwork and cooperation as some of the multiplayer modes pair up players. They can create and share their own maps on which to play the game. Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty empowers kids to test strategies, craft unique solutions, and cooperate with others to conquer the universe.

This Learning Rating review was written by Marc Saltzman

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

A dozen years is a long time to wait for a sequel -- especially when it's the follow-up to one of the most popular and influential computer games in history. But when you're game behemoth Blizzard Entertainment you can take your time to do it right. With STARCRAFT II: WINGS OF LIBERTY they have done just that. The sci-fi saga continues between the Terrans (humans), the tech-savvy Protoss, and the swarming Zerg – three powerful and well-balanced races that face off on alien worlds, each with their own tactics, technology, units, and weapons, as well as unique characters and motivations. The 29-mission single-player campaign continues the adventures of Jim Raynor, a marshal-turned-rebel leader for the Terrans (unlike the first game, you can't play as other races in the solo campaign, which might disappoint some). While the goals are set per level -- such as freeing allies, defending your base, recovering an artifact, or exploring the map to attack enemies -- you can often choose which technology and military upgrades to invest in and even select the desired path to take.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

This real-time strategy game doesn’t mess with the original StarCraft formula, but the gameplay is so tight and polished it’s impossible to resist its charm. As with its predecessor, StarCraft II has you collecting resources, such as blue crystal minerals and vespene gases, creating new recruits, constructing varied units, developing new technologies, and battling against uncompromising enemy species.

Along with introducing new (and familiar) units and characters, this sequel is rendered in full 3-D and can handle huge skirmishes on the battlefields. The story-driven cut-scene sequences are stunning to say the least, complemented by well-written dialogue and a moody soundtrack. StarCraft II also shines in its multiplayer modes, but fans of LAN (local area network) parties might be upset to hear Blizzard isn't allowing for this kind of head-to-head play in StarCraft II. Without question, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty will satiate both seasoned strategy fans and newcomers alike. Get ready to fall in love with your computer all over again.

 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the difference between fantasy violence and that of the more realistic variety. Why is it generally easier to stomach fantasy fights? Is it because what we see is so far removed from the real world? Do standard morals not apply in battles against monsters and aliens?

  • Families can also talk about how the people behind StarCraft II took their time in delivering this sequel -- 12 years after the first game (and seven years in actual development). Is this a model other game development studios should follow (budget permitting) or is this too long? Should game companies crank out a sequel every year or so or take their time with an aim to perfect it?

Game details

Platforms:Windows, Mac
Price:$59.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Blizzard Entertainment
Release date:July 27, 2010
Genre:Real Time Strategy (RTS)
ESRB rating:T for Blood and Gore, Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, Violence (Mac, Windows)

This review of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty 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, okay 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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A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 15 years old Written byFusionElement August 14, 2010
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Incredible game that's rated T for a reason.

I absolutely love Starcraft 2, I play it all of the time. I like it because you can tell the game is well thought out and the amazing feeling of finding the best strategy to crush your opponent. I have not played the original Starcraft, but I must say that this game is excellent.
CONCERNS:
Violence- This game is about a war between three races, The Terrans (Future Humans), Protoss (Advanced yet dying alien race), and Zerg (scary, parasitic aliens, "bad guys"). This war takes place in space in the future, so SURPRISE! this game is violent. Units must engage in combat with other units and deaths are a small explosion of blood where the unit used to be and possibly a scream. The only way to win in this game is to eliminate all enemy armies.
Language- In cut scenes there are mild swears..
HIGHLIGHTS:
Educational: This game is NOT a shooter game, in this game you are a commander of one of the three armies mentioned earlier (In single player you are always human, online you may choose). You must find a good strategy and divide your resources wisely to help this plan. I find it sort of to be like chess, but not exactly. In 2 vs. 2 cooperative mode the people online are surprisingly very friendly and teamwork is strongly encouraged.
Good messages- The protagonist of Single player is an outlaw. But it is because he is leading the rebellion against the dominion because they have become corrupt. Even when it seems the almost all of the terrans are brainwashed to hate him by the media, he still fights for what he believes in. I would also like to mention teamwork again.
Safety isn't a concern- profiles display your achievements in the game. That's it. Not like facebook at all.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Educational value
Great messages
Kid, 12 years old Written byAdrian Teigen May 8, 2011
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Perfect for beginners and experts and also includes cheats

This is a great game to play real time strategy and has an amazing video definition

Kid, 12 years old Written bySithLordBeast September 8, 2010
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

tweens up

This game is AWESOME!!! playing as three different races (terrans, protoss, zerg) u can play online or offline on a TON of different maps. i havent played the first but i know the second is awesome. there is some brids eye view violence. you can go to options and turn the effects on high or low. having them on low effect will make a small amount blood not fall on the ground. but if you set the effects to high, limbs will fly, and blood with splat and bodies and blood will litter the ground. it isnt too gruesome though. my younger brother (whose 9) plays this game too. the zerg are a little bit scary. the language: some swearing in cutscenes is frequent. s--t is said VERY infrequently. but said a lot are b---h, d-mn, h-ll, and a--. The sexual content: an elf woman dances in a bikini in the cantina. but it is just a holigram. its not that bad. also alcohol is consumed frequently and cigars stick out of one dudes mouth. this game is overall the BEST game ive ever played. even though i say all that bad stuff the main character is a really good role model. i say tweens up.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great role models

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