A Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
A Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia Game Poster Image
Factual brutal history tale marred by random battle events.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

The game focuses on a tumultuous time in early British history, when English, Welsh, Gaelic, and even Vikings were fighting for control of the region. Players have the opportunity to learn more about the different cultures and military strategies of these factions, as well as the influence their presence left behind.

Positive Messages

Combat is a large focus of the game, with players taking strategic command of large forces, but there are also diplomatic elements available to help resolve conflicts. This shows that planning and strategy have been just as, if not more, important than overwhelming numbers when it comes to changing the course of history.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While the game features some historic characters and retells of certain key moments, it also makes a point of showing those characters through a more accurate, flawed human lens.

Ease of Play

Players have a lot to process/manage at any given time, including troop movements, surprise events, diplomatic missions, and more. User interface is improved from previous games in the franchise, though, making it a bit easier to interact with your units and give orders. There's still a steep difficulty curve, but it's slightly easier to manage the game.

Violence

Large-scale armies battle each other with medieval weapons and tactics. The game's camera usually shows these battles from a distance, but players can also zoom in to see fighting up close. Some cutscenes feature some violence, but there's little onscreen blood.

Sex
Language

Occasional use of "hell," "damn" in dialogue during faction scenarios.

Consumerism

Though marketed as a spin-off of the Total War franchise, it's really another chapter in the franchise, which has spanned the globe through all ages of history, occasionally even moving into fantasy realm. Also supports future expansion content by paid DLC.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia is an historic strategy game/spin-off of the popular Total War franchise, available on Windows-based PCs. Players are taken through the conflicts of early Britain, recreating events that shaped the area and its history, including Viking invasions and the constant power struggle between the various factions that made Britannia their homeland. The game requires lots of micromanagement and strategic adjustments made on the fly, adding to its already steep difficulty curve. But the interface is a bit more streamlined and user friendly than previous games in the franchise. Combat is a main point of the game, so there's a fairly steady stream of violence as large armies battle for domination. But despite the violence, surprisingly little blood is shown on screen.

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What's it about?

A TOTAL WAR SAGA: THRONES OF BRITANNIA takes the popular military strategy franchise to a time of conflict and battle in the British Isles during the rule of the king Alfred the Great. It's a time of constant struggle as the English, Gaelic, and Welsh kingdoms fight for control of the region while fending off the looming threat of invading Viking forces. It's not enough to dominate the battlefield with overwhelming forces; for true victory, you'll also need to gain ground through cunning use of diplomacy. Be a part of history as it unfolded or see how things could have gone differently -- the future of Britain lies in your hands.

Is it any good?

This real-time strategy game simplifies the elements of its long-running franchise, but the sudden, random events that pop up on battlefields can ruin your planning -- and your play experience. A Total War Saga: Thrones of Brittania is one of those titles that's tailor made for strategy gamers. And if you're a fan of tactical military games, odds are pretty good that you're already familiar with the Total War franchise. For nearly two decades, the series has given players unprecedented command of huge numbers of troops while challenging them to operate not only as military strategists but also as diplomatic leaders, building and maintaining their rule over vast empires. A Total War Saga: Thrones of Britannia is, technically, a spin-off of the popular franchise, taking the mechanics and gameplay elements of the Total War games and scaling down the scope to a smaller but no less turbulent battlefield. It makes for a much denser and more intimate theater of war, with a stronger focus on the individual aspects of the varying factions. Whether you're following history or creating a new "What if?" sequence of events, you can't help but feel more engaged in what's going on.

But one of the major drawbacks of the smaller setting is that the victory conditions for any given side are much easier to accomplish. While this might sound like a positive, it's actually more frustrating than anything. It's entirely possible that, while carrying out a strategic plan of attack or preparing to take a key stronghold, you'll win (or lose) because of some random event somewhere else on the map. Once it happens a few times, you can't help but feel less motivated to get involved in a game when you can just as easily let it play itself. After all, what's the point of all that planning, all that setup, and all that waiting when it winds up being all for nothing because of something you never had any control over?

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the how conflict has shaped the world throughout history. How have conflicts like the ones seen in Thrones of Brittania changed the culture and society of certain regions of the world? What might have changed if the outcomes had been different?

  • Talk about strategy and tactics. Can you apply the strategy and tactics that you learn in Thrones of Brittania to other games -- or real life?

  • Discuss entertainment based on historical events. Are you more interested in learning about the history of events featured in games like Thrones of Brittania because you know these situations actually happened?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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