A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Heroes of the Storm is a downloadable online competitive multiplayer action game. It centers on cartoonish, non-gory violence, with characters that are both good and bad using weapons and skills to defeat their enemies and destroy an opposing team's base. Though the concept is easy to grasp, it takes some time to get used to the skills of each character and how to best use them in battle. There's a heavy push for players to buy new characters and items, especially since the in-game store is the first thing players are brought to upon launching the title. There also are privacy and safety concerns since chat is unmoderated, but it can be disabled.
- Parents say
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What's it about?
HEROES OF THE STORM includes heroes from all of Blizzard Entertainment's games: Warcraft, Diablo, and Starcraft. As it's a multiplayer online battle arena, or MOBA, there isn't exactly a story; heroes from all of Blizzard's hit franchises form unlikely alliances and battle it out. As characters defeat other players, they earn experience to level up their characters, becoming more powerful and unlocking additional abilities. The overall goal is to defeat the opposing team by destroying its base, preventing its ability to respawn onto the battlefield. Additional characters are available through the in-game store, along with powerful items that bestow additional abilities.
Is it any good?
Heroes of the Storm manages to be an attractive, fast-moving game that's both challenging and accessible by focusing on the core gameplay factors of the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre. Its distinct advantage in a hero-centric genre is significant, because its hero roster can draw from three hit franchises: Starcraft, Warcraft, and Diablo. It also has the benefit of Blizzard's legendary ability to boil gameplay complexities down to their most entertaining essentials. Removing the resource gathering and item purchasing of other MOBAs, Heroes of the Storm lets you focus on learning and upgrading your heroes' skills and practicing your teamwork. The welcome side effects of this are more heroic contributions from every player and quick, dynamic matches.
Seven maps -- each with a cool story intro and different side objectives -- let players augment their teams with things such as vengeful gods and hired thugs, while more than 30 heroes keep things fresh match after match. The graphics and sound are fantastic (of course they are; it's Blizzard), and the cartoony, non-gory violence keeps things competitive without being graphic. The base game is free, but for the full experience, you must spend money (the game constantly reminds you of this by tossing you into the cash store). This heavy-handed marketing is a little annoying, but hey, at least you can try before you buy. Even with the push to purchase, Heroes of the Storm is a worthwhile MOBA. It's lively, strategic, beautiful, and, best of all, approachable.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in games such as Heroes of the Storm. Is the violence acceptable because it's cartoonish and clearly unrealistic, given the characters involved?
Talk about heroes. What kinds of heroes do you like the most? Fantasy, sci-fi, monsters?
Discuss teamwork. How are online battle arenas like other real-world sports?
Think about battle strategies. Is it better to attack or defend?
- Platforms: Windows
- Pricing structure: Free (Base game is free, but additional heroes, skins, and mounts are available at an additional cost.)
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
- Release date: June 2, 2015
- Genre: Massively Multi-player Online Game (MMOG)
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes
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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.