Conan Unconquered

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Conan Unconquered Game Poster Image
Fantasy-based strategy game is slow and frustrating.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Players build up their settlements to survive waves of invasions. There’s little regard for the people, with the idea that any soldiers can simply be replaced. Players even use what’s the equivalent of torture (specifically, the “Wheel of Pain”) to force greater productivity out of their settlement.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The Hyborian Age in which Conan is set is a world where, essentially, might makes right. While players are defending themselves from evil forces, they’re not exactly the most peaceful or moral characters themselves. 

Ease of Play

Each match has a lot of moving parts to manage at any given time, between harvesting resources, building your forces, and defending against waves of enemy invasions. It’s a complex and complicated formula. Co-op only exacerbates the issue by having players share resources, requiring constant communication and planning.

Violence

This is a violent game set in a violent time. There’s no shortage of blood and gore here, with heroes, villains, and the forces on both sides cutting a swath of destruction and leaving carnage (and bodies) lying in their wake. Still, the game’s scale cuts back on some of the more graphic visuals a bit.

Sex

Some female characters are presented in somewhat revealing outfits, though the scale of the game makes this less noticeable during actual gameplay.

Language
Consumerism

The game is based on Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian stories, which have been adapted and expanded in numerous books, films, comics, televisions shows, and more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Conan Unconquered is a downloadable survival real-time strategy game, based on Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories on Windows-based PCs. Players work solo or online with another player to build up a settlement and defend it from waves of enemies, creatures, and even the elements. The game requires a lot of planning and forethought, as well as micromanagement and multitasking in order to succeed. Co-op play requires good communication between players, but can also lead to exposure to toxic behavior and offensive language from other live players. Being set in the Conan universe, the game's hyper-violent, with plenty of blood and gore shown onscreen, as well as corpses of defeated characters littering the environment. The game’s smaller scale tends to reduce the detail of this violence, but there's an option to zoom in and out of the battlefield at any given time for a closer look. Some female characters also wear revealing clothing.

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What's it about?

Based on the popular fantasy series by Robert E. Howard, CONAN UNCONQUERED is a survival real-time strategy game set within the universe of Conan the Barbarian and the days of the Hyborian Age. Taking on the role of Conan, the pirate Valeria, or the high priest, Kalenthes (in the deluxe edition), players are challenged to cement their legacies, starting by building a small settlement and rising into a grand city. But somewhere in the distance are the forces of the ancient wizard Thugra Khotan, bent on conquering all of Hyboria after a 3000-year slumber. With your budding kingdom standing between the evil wizard and his grand designs, you’ll need to gather your defenses, raise an army, and take a stand strong against waves of desert nomads, dark sorcerers, and monstrous creatures, all under Thugra Khotan’s thrall. Players will fight alone or team up with another hero and work together in cooperative online play. Either way, will your kingdom have what it takes to face the onslaught and survive unconquered?

Is it any good?

The world of Conan the Barbarian is a brutal and savage place where might makes right and victory means to "crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women." Conan Unleashed attempts to bring this world to life as a survival real-time strategy game. Make no mistake about it, this is a violent game full of destruction. With wave after wave of enemies constantly assaulting your kingdom from every angle, there’s bound to be a high body count. And while the game might be filled with enough blood and battle to make the titular Cimmerian proud, the actual gameplay is frustrating, sluggish, and at times, only slightly preferable to being chained to the Wheel of Pain.

One of the biggest issues in Conan Unleashed is that it feels like things move around at a glacial pace. Whether you’re trying to move forces from one side of your settlement to the other to defend against an attack or you’re trying to carve a bloody path through a nest of giant scorpions, the units take forever to get around or initiate their actions. It almost feels as if the entirety of the game is played at half-speed. Another issue is the game’s co-op two player mode. While it seems like a good idea on paper to have two players work in unison to develop their base and fend off invaders, unless you’re in constant communication with one another, things tend to fall apart into a chaotic mess. Since resources are shared, you often find yourself in need of a certain structure or unit, only to find your teammate has taken the soldiers you just trained and left you without enough resources to refill your ranks. And even when you move together like a well-oiled machine, it’s still such a slow-moving machine that you can’t really rely on each other for support. None of this makes Conan Unleashed unplayable, and there’s actually some fun to be had. It’s just a long and sometimes grueling trudge through mediocrity to get there.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Conan Unconquered affected by the violent setting of the Conan universe? Would the intensity of the violence be affected if the game didn't focus so heavily on gory combat? Would that even fit given the combative nature of the source material?

  • What are some things to watch out for when playing with others online? How should kids deal with things like toxic behavior?

Game details

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