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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that like all video games that re-create real war battles, there's a learning opportunity -- as well as an opportunity to offend those who think making a game out of real events is insensitive to the people who endured them. You can shoot enemy planes and try to sink enemy boats. Cursing includes "Run that son of a bitch out of here!" "Poor bastards," and "Goddamn it."
What's it about?
Take command over boats, submarines, and fighter planes in BATTLESTATIONS: MIDWAY, a World War II-themed action/simulation game for the Xbox 360 and Windows PC. It begins with the attack on Pearl Harbor. You play as Henry Walker, a gunner on a PT boat who must stay alive through this Japanese assault, but then must soar over the Pacific as a pilot to take down enemy aircraft and their carriers. An hour later, you're manning a submarine using torpedoes to sink enemy ships.
These intense battles in the skies and in or under the water continue through the Philippines and other parts of Asia Pacific, climaxing at the epic Battle of Midway. While the initial gameplay is arcade-style -- aiming crosshairs, firing upon enemies, and adjusting the speed and direction of your plane or boat -- soon you switch to more strategic gameplay that includes issuing orders while viewing an overhead map, cycling through objectives, and choosing to repair damaged watercraft (except PT boats).
Is it any good?
This polished and highly enjoyable game offers 60 historically accurate warships, planes, and submarines. The main U.S. campaign mode includes 11 lengthy missions and 12 bonus missions. Other modes include Naval Academy (11 tutorial missions); Ship Challenge (increasingly challenging watercraft missions); Plane Challenge (dog-fighting missions); Submarine Challenge (hunt transports and evade destroyers); and online head-to-head or cooperative modes playable over the Xbox Live service ($50 a year).
Despite some minor inconveniences, such as lengthy load times between some missions, Battlestations: Midway is a worthy war game with plenty of gripping gameplay.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how game developers sometimes use real-life events to create game playgrounds. Does playing a game set in WWII help you to better understand it? Families may want to discuss how tens of millions of soldiers and innocent civilians lost their lives in the war. Is it fun to do things in this game many of us will never do in real life -- such as fly fighter planes and try to sink enemy ships?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.