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Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Revelations

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Revelations Game Poster Image
Expansion is light on content, lays groundwork for future.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The focus of the game is still to overpower and outsmart the other factions through force and occasional diplomacy to make your faction the dominant power in the galaxy. The expansion adds a few new elements to the story, though these are more sinister in nature.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Each faction has its own structure, beliefs, etc., with some more honorable than others. But there's not much in the way of character development for the factions, and the new story focuses on trying to gain power at any cost.

Ease of Play

The game's a complex mix of tactics and strategy. The expansion content adds a few new gameplay elements and locations, as well as a new NPC (non-player character) faction to deal with. It also adds new damage types, Essence and Entropy, geared specifically towards mechanical and biological damage respectively. The new campaign isn't any more or less difficult than those in the base game.

Violence

Gameplay consists of opposing factions squaring off in turn-based combat, using a variety of different science fiction style weapons and abilities. There are a lot of visual effects like explosions and laser fire, but little in the way of onscreen blood. The camera scale also reduces some of the impact of the onscreen violence.

Sex

The suggestive nature of some specific units from the base game still carry over into the expansion, including lines of suggestive dialogue and revealing clothing. 

Language

Some profanity occasionally pops up in the game's text and cutscenes, including "s--t" and "bastard."

Consumerism

This is the first paid expansion pack for the base Age of Wonders: Planetfall game. It's available a la carte or as part of the game's "Season Pass" package.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some characters are shown to be smoking in character models and cutscenes.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Age of Wonders: Planetfall -- Revelations is the first paid expansion pack for Age of Wonders: Planetfall, the turn-based sci-fi strategy game available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows-based PCs. The expansion brings with it new single-player story campaign content, as well as new gameplay mechanics, abilities, and a new non-player character (NPC) faction. Combat is a central part of the game, with players taking armies of characters into battle with sci-fi weapons and abilities. There are lots of explosions and onscreen effects, but no graphic violence. There are some suggestive lines of dialogue and character models, as well as occasional mentions of "s--t" and "bastard in the dialogue. Some characters are also shown drinking and smoking in their character models and cutscenes. This first expansion is available for purchase a la carte, or as part of a Season Pass bundle.

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What's it about?

Conflict within the post-cataclysmic remnants of the old Star Union may still be raging on, but the worst is yet to come in AGE OF WONDERS: PLANETFALL – REVELATIONS. This expansion marks the coming of the Es'Teq, an ancient race of beings of unimaginable power, forced into a slumber long before the establishment of the first Star Union. Though the Es'Teq still sleep, the secret to their power still exists in the form of Heritor technology. This forbidden tech can drain the very Essence out of living souls, serving as fuel for highly destructive weapons. Will you choose to fight against this looming threat? Or will you embrace this power and help bring about the return of the Es'Teq Dynasty?

Is it any good?

When the original game was released, it took the popular strategy series away from medieval fantasy and sent it rocketing into deep space for sci-fi adventure. Age of Wonders: Planetfall – Revelations is the first paid expansion to Age of Wonders: Planetfall and brings with it the introduction of the Es'Teq Dynasty and its Heritor technology, as well as the dark and twisted NPC faction, The Forgotten. These new additions add a sort of supernatural feel to parts of the game. The new campaigns take players through a series of missions that portray the new faction as a sort of Boogeyman lurking in the shadows, while a pseudo-cult tries to recruit you to raise the Es'Teq from its hibernation through the use of its life-syphoning Heritor tech. It makes for an engaging story and an interesting new addition to the Planetfall lore.

While the new campaigns might add a new layer to the Planetfall story, the expansion as a whole feels relatively light on content. The Forgotten, as menacing as they may be, aren't a playable faction, giving them a "look but don't touch" feel outside of the campaigns. And while the new Heritor tech adds a new layer to the gameplay in the form of Essence and Entropy weapons, it's really not much more than one more element type added to the basic "Rock, Paper, Scissors" of strengths and weaknesses. New Tomb Worlds and their "anomalous sites" are basically just mini-missions that pull the heroes away from the ongoing battles in return for a unique and often quirky reward. These scenarios can be taken on solo or with friends in multiplayer, but the rewards don't always feel like they're worth the effort. None of this is to say that Revelations is bad. It definitely brings some added nuances to the Planetfall experience and even lays the foundation for more potential down the road. It's just that, outside of the new campaigns, seems somewhat anemic in terms of content for an expansion, ditching substance in favor of a teaser for things to come.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Age of Wonders: Planetfall affected by the fantasy/sci-fi portrayal of combat? Would the impact be intensified if the violence was more realistic?

  • How can downloadable content and expansion packs help to extend the life of games? Do you prefer buying content you want piecemeal or buying a "Season Pass" or bundle that includes multiple items at a discount?

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