A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game, while educational, inevitably contains a number of battle scenes. They are fairly innocuous, however, and the game includes an option to turn off blood. Also, parents should know that it can be played online and take proper precautions if they allow their kids to use this option.
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What's it about?
The design of EMPIRE EARTH 2 builds upon the original game, giving players a deeper experience and more strategic game with two primary modes of play: multiplayer skirmishes and single-player campaigns. Skirmishes have one objective, such as capturing territories or eliminating all opponents. Players can choose from four campaigns: the creation and unification of the Korean nation; the expansion of Germany during the middle ages; developing the United States into a world superpower during the 19th century; or playing several \"turning point\" battles, such as D-day.
Most skirmish objectives require military action, but players also need to build a strong economy before they can amass an army. The faster a player can harvest resources like food, wood, and gold, the quicker they can build an army and complete the objectives. Campaigns have similar gameplay but contain a series of scenarios that build upon each other. Each scenario may contain smaller objectives, such as capturing a site or defending a key ally.
Is it any good?
One of the game's strongest selling points is its subtle inclusion of good educational material. Each scenario starts with a (usually accurate) snapshot of the historical context. Players learn the value of diplomacy and about economics by buying and selling resources. While brute force is successful in the most lopsided scenarios, players typically need to employ strategy to defeat enemies.
The game contains a fair amount of "alternate history," which can be confusing when portrayed alongside historical events like the Spanish-American war. Positively, the game may inspire players to find out what really happened. Parents should be aware that the game requires a fairly high-end machine to run well; your computer should meet the recommended specifications (not just the minimum). This is a worthwhile investment, especially for gamers who like real-time-strategy games, though casual players may struggle with the steep learning curve.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how civilizations grow and develop. What do you need to ensure success? Also, the game mixes factual history with fictional accounts. Parents may want to ask: Is this fun, or only confusing? How is it possible to distinguish between what's real and what isn't?
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