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BattleTech: Flashpoint

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
BattleTech: Flashpoint Game Poster Image
Grand scale violent bot warfare gets a grand upgrade.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The game continues to push ideas of honor and sacrifice, though players have a bit more flexibility in their options to direct the path of the story.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players take on the role of a freelance MechWarrior, piloting your BattleMechs on jobs that will shape the future of the Inner Sphere. Players have more freedom to choose their own paths here than in the base game’s campaign, but are still generally presented as characters with a distinct code of honor.

Ease of Play

The game’s strategic, turn-based gameplay feels somewhat intuitive, though there's a lot of micromanagement involved, including getting units into pointed in the best direction in battle, heat management, weapons and ammunition loadout, structural integrity, etc.  This can be overwhelming for newcomers or younger players.

Violence

The expansion continues the base game’s premise of large-scale battles with a high tech arsenal of sci-fi weapons, particularly the giant robotic BattleMech vehicles. There's a lot of violence in these matches with lots of destruction, including the dismemberment of Mechs and the death of human units, though without blood or gore shown. The scale tends to reduce the impact of this violence, but players can zoom in on the battlefield to get a closer look at the fighting.

Sex
Language

There are a few occasions of profanity, such as “s--t,” that appear in the game’s dialogue. Unmoderated multiplayer could expose players to inappropriate content.

Consumerism

This is the first paid expansion to the base BattleTech video game, which is, in turn, based on the popular BattleTech franchise. The expansion is also part of an optional Season Pass, which includes Flashpoint and two additional future expansions to the base game.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that BattleTech: Flashpoint is the first paid expansion to Paradox Interactive’s BattleTech turn-based sci-fi strategy game for download on Windows and Mac based computers. The expansion adds new units, mission types, environments, and story elements to the base game. Flashpoint gives players more control over the path of their characters’ stories, following choices to their ultimate conclusions. There's plenty of sci-fi violence, including robotic units getting dismembered and human units dying on the battlefield, though there’s no blood or gore shown. Some profanity (mainly the word "s--t") occasionally appears in the game’s dialogue, and multiplayer games do have the potential to be exposed to other offensive content via in-game chat.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

BATTLETECH: FRONTLINE is the first paid expansion to the BattleTech sci-fi strategy game. The expansion brings with it three new ‘Mech units, a brand new world to explore, new challenges, and a new “Flashpoint” game mode. This mode features a series of small, story-based missions tied to player choices. Will you help rescue citizens caught up in a violent, political civil war, or will you leave them to their fate if they can’t pay your going rate? When hunting down two high value targets, which will you pursue, and which will you allow to escape? And how will these decisions shape the fate of the Inner Sphere and Outer Worlds?

Is it any good?

This expansion to the popular strategy game adds more content, more gameplay, and more action to keep mech pilots blasting robots for hours. BattleTech: Flashpoint does a lot more than just add a couple of extra units and missions and call it a day. While it does add three new ‘Mechs to the mix and a brand-new tropical world ripe for battle, the expansion tosses in a solid 30+ extra hours of gameplay while giving fans of the story something that was lacking before: choice. Flashpoints are like smaller story campaigns that chain missions together based on player decisions, usually awarding some specific benefit at the cost of another. These mini-campaigns adds lots of action to the basic experience while also boosting players’ options in Career Mode. This alone is a healthy addition that’s great for fans looking to enjoy more time as a MechWarrior in the space frontier.

As much as the Flashpoints in BattleTech: Flashpoint add to the base game, the content doesn’t end there. The new units (the Crab, Cyclops, and Hatchetman ‘Mechs) each bring something new and unique to the battlefield. The Hatchetman, as the name might suggest, is well-suited for close combat situations with its massive axe-like arm. The Cyclops brings with it a boost for your entire squad (or “lance”, in game terms), allowing your whole team to take actions faster in the turn cycle. And the Crab is a speedy ‘Mech able to position itself to chip away at a larger ‘Mech’s weakpoints. There’s also another new mission type, Target Acquisition, which shine the spotlight on the smaller ‘Mech units, challenging players to rush key positions and triangulate a firing position at an enemy installation. It’s a nice, faster change of pace from the usual big, lumbering ‘Mech battles that made up the bulk of the main game. It’s a lot of extra fun crammed into a surprisingly affordable package, adding a lot more horsepower and mileage to the BattleTech experience.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Battletech: Flashpoint affected by the fact that combat is mainly conducted against giant robots? Would the impact be intensified if you were attacking people or blood was shown?

  • Do branching stories and choices add to a gaming experience? What sort of decisions do you make in the virtual world and how might they differ than the choices you would make in the real world?

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