Battle Worlds: Kronos

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Battle Worlds: Kronos Game Poster Image
Disjointed, mildly violent strategy with heavy-handed plot.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Main focus is an all-out war to decide who will be the ultimate ruler. It's a fight for power, with soldiers being expendable, having little value as anything other than pawns.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Although plot presents most characters as less than ideal, shows player's character, leader who called upon him as people with integrity working together to find a way to stop war, corruption around it with as little bloodshed as possible. They see soldiers, citizens as people, not simply political tokens.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, but actual gameplay has a pretty steep difficulty curve. Developers even felt need to add a sort of "pep talk" during opening missions to convince players they'll get better over time as they learn nuances.

Violence

Lots of persistent sci-fi combat with machine guns, missiles, explosions. While individual units are very detailed, size, scope reduces impact of violence. Also, defeated units simply vanish from field.

Sex
Language

Some minor dialogue, such as "bastard."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Battle Worlds: Kronos is a turn-based strategy game and a console port of the original PC & Mac game released in 2013, complete with the game's previously available downloadable content. The main focus of the game is war, with the player controlling units in a last-man-standing-style campaign to reign over the galaxy. Although the game is violent by nature, the units are smaller vehicles on a large battlefield. There are plenty of explosions and wreckage but nothing in the way of blood or gore. The game is designed to be easy to pick up and play, with new controls customized specifically for the console release. While the core mechanics are easy to understand, the level of difficulty is high enough that it could frustrate some players.

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What's it about?

BATTLE WORLDS: KRONOS is set in a future with a long-standing ritual of trial by combat. Whenever a new leader must be chosen for the Empire, the leaders of the various Houses convene on their former homeworld of Kronos. Once there, the Houses take part in a brutal planet-wide war. Once the dust settles, the commander from the House that stands victorious is named as the new Emperor. As the game opens, it has been more than 200 years since the last war of succession. The Houses are called together once again to name a new leader. More importantly, thanks to technological advancements in life extension, this could very well be the final time a new Emperor will have to be chosen. Now it's up to you, as a newly minted commander in the House of Telit, to lead your forces into battle, fighting against outside opponents and corruption from within, all in hopes of keeping the Empire together and making it a legacy worth saving.

Is it any good?

The tagline for this sci-fi-themed turn-based strategy game could be "a minute to learn … a lifetime to master," but unfortunately, you're left with a disjointed, flawed story and play experience. Right from the start, Battle Worlds: Kronos warns players that its difficultly will take a measured amount of both patience and practice. It's not a matter of learning what to do but rather learning how to do it effectively. Moving and engaging throughout the battlefield is a simple process of using units' action points to either move or attack. But arranging your units to take advantage of things such as cover, flanking, and range is where the bulk of the strategy comes into play. The AI is no slouch either. The computer-controlled opponents are extremely good at staying just out of reach, charging weaker units and otherwise stopping your progress through the game's multiple campaign settings. It's hard work, but that hard work translates into a real sense of accomplishment when you finally start to understand the game's tactics and pull of a big win.

Although the gameplay in Battle Worlds: Kronos is intense and challenging, there's too much of a disconnect to keep the player's interest. The game's focus on moving its plot forward is a jarring experience. For starters, cut scenes are extremely polished and detailed, yet the actual game looks somewhat bland, basic, and almost cartoonish by comparison. There are also numerous times when a mission will get interrupted by a sudden on-screen text conversation meant to progress the story and possibly give some hints for how to handle the fight. Instead of being helpful, though, it's more of a distraction, akin to interrupting a chess game and forcing the players to read a comic book before diving back into the match. That's not to say the story doesn't have potential, but shoving it down the players' throats at the expense of staying focused on the mission objective is a quick way to yank a player out of the experience altogether. It ends up feeling like the developers really wanted to tell an epic story but had to shoehorn the game into it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in gaming. How can things such as setting, scale, and style affect the impact of the violence?

  • Talk about making strategic choices. When is it better to stand your ground, to press forward, or to do your best to avoid conflict?

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