A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Battlefleet Gothic: Armada is a downloadable, real-time strategy game based on Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 franchise. Players control warring factions' fleets in space-based ship-to-ship combat. The game's story and controls may be a bit too complex for younger gamers. The story in the game's Campaign mode offers background and character development, with themes of loyalty and betrayal set in a universe where nothing is quite as easy as black and white. The focus of the gameplay is combat, meaning there's a steady stream of violence. But all the combat takes place from the fleet perspective, and all violence is directed at the vehicles, without any blood or gore shown, although there are some violent images shown in cut scenes. The Warhammer 40,000 franchise sells merchandise from T-shirts and figurines to tabletop and video games.
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What's it about?
BATTLEFLEET GOTHIC: ARMADA is set in a far-off and distant future, where the Imperium of Man has spread its reach throughout the galaxy for more than 10,000 years, all in the name of the Immortal Emperor. When Abbadon the Despoiler and his fleet of Chaos Space Marines decide to challenge the Imperium for rule of the Gothic Sector of space, all-out war is quick to follow. Players take command of their own fleet of spaceships and take to the stars in a fight for domination of the galaxy. In the single-player Campaign, players follow Admiral Spire and his Imperium fleet as they wage war against Abbadon's forces and attempt to restore order to the system. Player can also lead opposing forces in online multiplayer matches, where they will blast, board, evade, and escape their foes in epic space battles with more explosions than a Michael Bay movie.
Is it any good?
This epic space combat game captures the most exciting moments of warfare that energize science-fiction fans. Lasers and torpedoes pepper the background as ships of all sizes dodge and weave through the firefight. Battlefleet Gothic: Armada does an amazing job of putting players right into the thick of this action. You genuinely feel in command as you order your ships into battle, execute deft maneuvers, and make the hard choices to either sacrifice a ship or send it out for repairs, leaving the rest of the fleet vulnerable. The tension builds once you realize that the actions you take and the choices you make have real consequences, as your character and ships carry over from battle to battle.
Running off the Unreal 4 engine, Battlefleet Gothic: Armada is a beautiful piece of eye candy. While it's usually best to keep a wide view of the action, it's hard not to zoom the game in close to see just how intricately detailed the ships are. Detail also applies to the environment, not only for appearance but for function as well. Vanishing into a gas cloud or using the wreckage of a defeated ship as cover are valuable tactics to use in battle. In fact, the sheer number of abilities and tactics available are almost overwhelming. It's also not a very fast game, as cruising through the vastness of space happens at an almost glacial pace. But Armada is a complex game with a steep learning curve, where it's much more important to have a sharp mind than sharp reflexes, which should appeal to strategy and sci-fi fans alike.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about space and space exploration. What are some of the positive ways to study space, and what are some reasons to explore beyond the range of our planet?
Talk about strategy and leadership. What are the traits that make a good problem solver and a good leader?
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