Star Wars: Empire at War

Game review by
Jeremy Gieske, Common Sense Media
Star Wars: Empire at War Game Poster Image
Popular with kids
Good but imperfect Star Wars RTS.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 15 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

Kids can play as the ruthless Empire, or as rebel forces, which generally work for the good of the galaxy.


Space and ground battles. Plenty of explosions, but no gore or blood.


Part of the Star Wars franchise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a safe and fun game for teens and possibly even mature tweens. There are plenty of explosions and frequent battle scenes, but players will not encounter any blood or gore. The game is online enabled, and while the online portion doesn't contain any different content, there isn't any control over the language or actions of other players. Common Sense does not recommend online play for anyone younger than 12.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMi3 February 5, 2011
Adult Written byOmfgigorawr June 6, 2010

Star wars: Empire at war is a looong but worthwhile game.

Star wars: empire at war is a much different game than usual, as it's a RTS(real time strategy) this time around. It requires a good amount of planning and... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old June 12, 2018

The game is an old, but good one.

People don't respect the classics anymore. Y'know why? They haven't checked out Empire at War yet! Released in 2006, EAW has some easy-to-learn c... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bySourpatchKid24 March 7, 2016

Amazing for nearly all ages

I started watching this when it first came out. I was probably in 1st grade but it's kind of blurry. I immediately loved it from the beginning. It has grea... Continue reading

What's it about?

In STAR WARS: EMPIRES AT WAR, players take command of either the galactic Empire or rebel forces and attempt to gain control of the entire galaxy. Set roughly around the time of Star Wars: Episode IV, the rebellion is just starting to form and is looking for a way to steal the plans of a rumored super-weapon (the Death Star). Meanwhile, the Empire hopes to continue to expand its grip on the galaxy.

Since the space and land battles are handled separately, players need to build both space and ground forces, including a wide variety of vehicles and spaceships. It can get complicated managing the vast array of forces at hand; however, to make things simpler, players don't need to be concerned with the gathering of resources, which is a major break from most real-time strategy games.

Is it any good?

Unfortunately, the battle sequences are fairly linear. Players may be frustrated by the land maps, which typically only have a few approaches to enemy forces and offer limited areas to bring in reinforcements. In the campaign mode, this often leads to a situation in which the side that starts with the biggest army wins, reducing strategic options during battle. Battles in space tend to be more satisfying, replicating the laser-fire, explosions, and excitement of the movies.

Clear differences exist between the Empire and the rebellion, with the Empire being markedly more sinister. For example, during the tutorial, one character of the Empire says, "We will bomb the rebels, and when they come out with their hands up, we will bomb them again." While the Empire is able to take over any planet it desires, the rebellion is limited to freeing planets from Empire or space pirate control. To make up for that limitation, the rebellion is able to steal weapon designs from the Empire using spies.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this game fits in with the movies, books, and other games about Star Wars. Do you like how the game allows you to, in essence, change the storyline of the fourth movie, or do you feel it makes it less appealing? Does playing out the action in a game give you more freedom to imagine your own stories? How?

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows
  • Price: $49.99
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: LucasArts
  • Release date: February 16, 2006
  • Genre: Real-Time Strategy (RTS)
  • ESRB rating: T for Fantasy Violence
  • Last updated: June 20, 2019

Our editors recommend

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