A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Kids can learn to set and meet goals, making tough decisions on how and where to progress. Attention to detail in the management of goods and services teaches them to understand market trends and recognize deals, and it promotes a healthy understanding of money management. The deep and rich story provides immersion in the world, developing the imagination and cognitive thinking. Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns has a surprising amount of depth when it comes to economics, critical thinking, and social interaction, all wrapped into a large multiplayer setting.
Players are heroes in a troubled land, helping people by seeking out, defeating evil besieging world.
Positive Role Models
Story full of heroes whom players follow; are shown how to emulate them, becoming heroes themselves.
Ease of Play
Tutorial eases players into game; actions are quickly learned. But as players advance, game gets deeper, complexity increases.
Violence & Scariness
Gameplay based on combat against fantasy creatures, humanoid enemies through use of magic spells, weapons such as swords, firearms, explosives. Though blood, death throes, sounds of pain can be experienced in some scenes, none of it's graphic, distasteful.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Players can strip characters down to underwear, choose to wear sexy clothing.
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Some scenes do use some strong language. This is also an online game; players will be exposed to the language of others, but there's a profanity filter, so it can be bypassed.
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Products & Purchases
Cosmetic items available in cash shop for purchase. No items are required but are advertised, promoted.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters can enter taverns, buy, consume alcoholic drinks. When they get drunk, the screen will blur. There's also a drinking mini-game, which ends when the first character passes out or his health meter reaches zero.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns is the first expansion to Guild Wars 2. It's a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) set in a fantasy world where players use combat to advance the story. As it's an expansion, players will need to own the core game, which is included when purchasing the expansion. The game requires an active connection to the Internet to play and, over time, a significant investment of time and effort to complete the massive amount of story and adventure available to explore. There's no monthly fee, but there's an online store where players can purchase convenience and costume items with real money. The expansion continues the story and adventure past level 80, the cap of players that own the original game. Though there's a profanity filter, there's still the opportunity to share personal information via forums and guild chats.
Is It Any Good?
This is a feature-rich expansion aimed at adding content for the high-level characters while also providing numerous improvements to gameplay and functionality at all levels. Though having the expansion isn't required to enjoy many of the improvements, for both veteran and new players alike the additions that Heart of Thorns brings is well worth it. If you have never bought Guild Wars 2, buying the expansion does give you the Core Game. The expansion adds new allies, skills, magic, and resources to build on the rich skill-based combat system. A stunning jungle zone has been added and can be traversed on multiple layers with the addition of gliders that allow you to catch the wind to fly for a short time, which is awesome. A new profession has been added to the roster, one that channels and controls the power of the Mists. If you enjoy player-vs,-player (PvP), you will enjoy the new World vs. World zone, Desert Borderlands, and Strongholds. Guildhalls come to the Heart of Maguuma to provide a home for players to gather and progress as a Guild, which is great for the social and organized gameplay.
The additional story is very well done, and you'll be drawn in along your adventures in Tyria. The artwork and animations are phenomenal, and it's worth taking your time to explore the world, listen to the dialogue of the NPCs, or just take in the scenery. Arenanet continues its tradition of epic cut scenes that assist in relating the story and are beautifully orchestrated. The only detraction (which is also a huge plus, depending on your play style) is the sheer amount of activities you can do outside the story line. Information overload is a real possibility, but within the game you have the tools to minimize the impact. If you love immersion, stylized graphics and a huge world to play in, Heart of Thorns is well worth your time.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.