Blackguards 2

Game review by
Chad Sapieha, Common Sense Media
Blackguards 2 Game Poster Image
Hard, bloody fantasy RPG encourages strategic thinking.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Promotes strategic thinking but entertains with brutal, glorified violence. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Protagonist is a woman unjustly imprisoned for many years who goes mad and recruits villains to help her usurp the throne, exact revenge.

Ease of Play

Starts off pretty easy and grows extremely challenging quickly. Strategic thinking helps, but some missions are only won through trial and error.

Violence

Characters use bladed, bludgeoning weapons, bows, and magic to fight enemies. Opponents grunt in pain, bleed when struck. Gore -- including an evisceration -- shown in some cut scenes.

Sex

Some female characters wear revealing outfits. Some sexual references in dialogue.

Language

"S--t," "hell," and "damn" used infrequently.

Consumerism

Based on a German pen-and-paper role-playing game called The Dark Eye. Sequel to a moderately successful predecessor

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Bottles of alcohol appear in some environments.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Blackguards 2 is a downloadable tactical fantasy role-playing game with bloody violence and some mature themes. Players control a woman who goes mad after being unjustly imprisoned for several years. She recruits a group of thieves and killers to help her seize power and take revenge. Combat involves magic, swords, bows, and other medieval-style weaponry used to hack at and impale enemies who bleed and cry in pain when struck. Dialogue contains moderate but infrequent language, and female characters sometimes wear lightly revealing outfits. Parents also should know this game is based on the pen-and-paper role-playing game The Dark Eye and is the sequel to a 2013 strategy RPG.

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What's it about?

With a new protagonist (and some returning side characters), BLACKGUARDS 2 tells the story of an innocent woman who one day wakes up in a dank dungeon. Her imprisonment is never explained, and she spends years trying to escape, frequently being bitten by poisonous spiders that warp her mind. When she finally gets out she's consumed with revenge and wants only to seize control of the kingdom. To that end, she enlists a ragtag band of thieves and misfits, making them wild promises of wealth and infamy. Turn-based tactical action plays out on gridded maps with specific objectives, such as killing all enemies or reaching map exits. Dedicated players can expect around 25 hours of fresh play, perhaps more depending on skill.

Is it any good?

Blackguards 2 delivers a series of modest but smart upgrades to the strategic action introduced by its predecessor. Combat is less frustrating, thanks to improved hit rates (which means you'll need to restart fewer missions due to bad luck). Character customization also is less of a chore thanks to tweaks that streamline (if only a little) the process of picking or growing talents and abilities. Perhaps best of all, the story is more compelling thanks to a darker plot and better voice acting.

But it's not without issue. Although the acting is a step up, parts of the story are a little off; it feels like the narrative is missing key scenes to connect important events. Plus, it'd be nice to be able to skip enemy movements, since there are times when you may have to wait for a dozen or more foes to carry out actions before your characters' turns come around again. That said, it's a solid, complex, and challenging game of turn-based tactics. Fantasy and strategy lovers ought to feel right at home. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. Try discussing the real-world consequences of violent behavior with your kids. In what, if any, situation is violence justified?

  • Discuss the concept of antiheroes. Why are people sometimes sympathetic toward villains when their motives are explained (even if, in the end, their actions cannot be justified)?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love strategy

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