Act of Aggression

Game review by
Michael Lafferty, Common Sense Media
Act of Aggression Game Poster Image
Old-school strategy gameplay gets a fresh coat of paint.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

No overt positive messages. Focus on capturing soldiers, expanding bases of operation, and getting revenue.

Positive Role Models & Representations

All about strategic, tactics-based combat, weapons research, production. No opportunities for diplomacy or heroes to play as.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, but unrelenting AI will take advantage of players even on easy difficulty. Requires players to think, plan, use tactics, prepare for battles ahead.

Violence

Lots of things blown to pieces, but no blood. Disabled soldiers left lying in fields. Battlefield can be littered with blown-up artillery, buildings. Wide variety of modern weaponry, including ground and air units, used in combat.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Act of Aggression is a downloadable real-time strategy game involving three factions fighting each other. The game does have single-player campaigns, but the bigger focus is on the multiplayer element, although parents should be aware that multiplayer is unmoderated. Though the controls are easy to grasp, the game has a bit of a learning curve, and even the easiest difficulty settings can prove a challenge to players. Though there's no blood shown, plenty of buildings and units are destroyed with modern weaponry, and the burned wreckage of buildings and gear are left on the field to indicate the sites of battles.

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What's it about?

ACT OF AGGRESSION is a real-time strategy game set in the future, where three factions fight for supremacy of the world, using modern and prototype military weaponry. The three factions feature separate styles of play: The U.S. Army is the most traditional, with easily identifiable weaponry. The Cartel is a league of multinational criminals who have stolen and combined technology, meaning units can be upgraded for multiple functions. The Chimera favors stealth weapons and have more prototypes than the other two. The game features two single-player campaigns that are in the more traditional style of RTS (real-time strategy) games: Players gather resources to create buildings and bases for mass production of weapons and military units. Multiplayer matches are more upscale and much more fast-paced. 

Is it any good?

The challenge of the real-time strategy genre is back in a new and visually pleasing way. Act of Aggression is an infusion of old-school RTS gaming, minus the time-draining micromanaging elements, with visceral combat and solid tactical elements. Those who remember the good old days of classic strategy titles such as Command & Conquer will see this as a welcome throwback. But if this is a first foray into the genre, be prepared for a game that won't let the player cakewalk through the scenarios. Even the tutorial is tough and punishing, with an AI (artificial intelligence) that will challenge even the most skilled strategist.

The game has a rich array of options, including customizing the look of units and setting parameters on the scenarios (customizing or setting a random start, managing resource levels, and even setting a time limit on the game). But some of the strategy elements are not that intuitive, such as the placement of some buildings and roads that don't make any sense. The camera also feels a bit sluggish at times, especially when you're trying to zip around the map if units are spread out too far. But on the plus side, zooming in on a unit reveals a wonderfully detailed model. Overall, this game looks very good, and the fact that the base production, resource gathering, and researching have been streamlined is a nice design feature. Act of Aggression is the kind of RTS game that isn't made all that often anymore, and it's a great reminder of everything that made the genre popular in the first place. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the importance of strategy in games such as Act of Aggression. How can tactics be incorporated into real-world situations but with less violent outcomes?

  • Talk about the role of diplomacy. When countries and factions within a country disagree, how can people resolve issues through talking rather than fighting?

Game details

For kids who love strategy

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