Dota 2

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Dota 2 Game Poster Image
Polished, fun fantasy multiplayer game stands test of time.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The game’s structure encourages communication and teamwork between players.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The game features a large cast of eclectic characters to play, each with its own unique play style and lore. But in terms of gameplay, there’s no sort of character development, and concepts like “good” and “evil” don’t come into play when teaming up for matches.

Ease of Play

While the gameplay is essentially point and click, there are a lot of intricacies involved in both character development and tactical gameplay. The game doesn’t just rely on forethought and planning, but also adjusting strategies on the fly to take advantage of a teammate’s developed strength or an enemy’s sudden weakness.

Violence

There’s a fair amount of violence in each match, with players and other characters fighting against each other using fantasy weapons and magical spells. Killed players simply respawn after a short time at their team’s base, while other defeated creatures simply fade from the battlefield with minimal bloodshed.

Sex

Some characters, particularly female ones, are shown in skimpy or non-existent clothing, though the game’s scale keeps most details from being noticeable outside of character portraits.

Language

There’s no profanity in the game’s dialogue, but the online team-based nature of the game requires regular communication with other real-world players. This could expose younger players to profanity and offensive comments during online chats.

Consumerism

The game is free-to-play, and unlike other games in the genre, all heroes are available to play from the onset. Players can purchase cosmetic skins for the characters they like by the in-game shop.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some characters are shown smoking pipes and drinking various concoctions.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dota 2 (or Defense of the Ancients 2) is a free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game, available for download on Windows, Mac OS, and Linux-based computers. Players compete against each other in 5v5 fantasy combat to destroy the opposing side’s base while defending their own from attack. Violence is a steady occurrence, with characters fighting each other with a mix of fantasy weapons and magical abilities. While there's lots of combat, there’s little graphic violence or blood. The game's free-to-play, with its full roster of more than one hundred characters available to play from the onset, though players can spend money in-game to gain access to unique cosmetic skins and other add-ons. Parents should also be aware that, due to the game’s online and competitive nature, younger players could be exposed to offensive comments and profanity via in-game chat with other players.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCotusca October 1, 2020

A Complex Game

This game is incredibly hard to learn and can be unforgiving unless you have someone to help you learn to play. That being said once you have gotten through and... Continue reading
Adult Written byTARzis March 26, 2021

exciting comlex moba

after well over 3000 hours and 6+ years i can recomend, game will have always something new to offer, sometimes it can be really hard to understand it, and coum... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byevdenn August 1, 2019

bruh

if you do something wrong your team will blame you 24/7. very toxic community.
Kid, 8 years old July 15, 2019

good but violent

Dota 2 is a simple game but is a little violent and is a great family game to do on steam.

What's it about?

The fantasy battle for dominance continues in DOTA 2, the free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena where two teams of five face off against each other and the environment for control of the landscape. With more than one hundred different characters to choose from, each with its own unique set of abilities and specific role to play, you must work together with your patchwork team of other heroes and develop key strategies in real-time. Your objective? To push forward and take control of your opponents’ “Ancient,” a base of operation and the source of immense magical power. Of course, your opponents have the same idea. It’s a constant balance of offense and defense, of attacks and counter attacks, testing team strategy and skill in the heat of epic fantasy battle. Whose team will reign supreme and command the Ancients?

Is it any good?

There are all kinds of competitive online games on the market, but one of the biggest genres is the multiplayer online battle arena, or MOBA, style. The first Dota (which stands for “Defense of the Ancients”) originally began as a mod for Blizzard’s WarCraft III and was one of major pioneers for the genre, but Dota 2 ditched the mod route in favor of a standalone game built from the ground up, improving on everything that came before. The result wound up being a highly polished, intricate strategy game that didn’t just cement the foundation of the MOBA genre, but also managed to stand the test of time and continue to thrive even years after its release. While Dota 2 might have helped lay to groundwork for MOBA games, there’s a lot in the game that makes it stand out from the crowd. It’s got a massive roster of characters to choose from, over one hundred in total, and yet each one still manages to feel distinct from the others in ability, function, and presentation. Best of all, there’s no restriction on who to play. Right from the start, all the heroes are unlocked, opening up a veritable buffet of options to play with.

The only real issue with the game is that it’s difficult to jump into as a newcomer, due to the established community. While it’s not nearly as toxic as some online games, there still seems to be an assumption that players have a certain level of experience already. And in the heat of a match, some players will occasionally lose their cool. Still, players can bypass this by grabbing some friends and learning the intricacies of the game playing against A.I. controlled bots and by trying out heroes in a testbed “demo” mode. It takes some time and practice to really understand the ins and outs of Dota 2, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the MOBA genre, but it’s well worth the investment. Working with a good team and finding the right mix of players makes for a great online experience and an exhilarating rush that’s hard to resist. And considering just how much players get without ever needing to spend a dime, Dota 2 makes for a near perfect way to get your feet wet before diving into the great big ocean of MOBA games out there.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about online competition and teamwork. What are some positive ways to act and behave in online competitive matches? What are some ways that good communication can help with teamwork?

  • How does the free-to-play model help to draw in a larger audience for games? How do these games encourage players to spend money within the game?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love competition

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate