A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Star Wars: The Old Republic - Knights of the Fallen Empire is a downloadable expansion to Star Wars: The Old Republic, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) and is played online, requiring a monthly subscription. There's a world-chat channel, which allows the comments of other players to be seen, and there are some shared areas, which could expose players to inappropriate content. The game features the ability to team up with other players for missions or to go into player-vs.-player zones. Players can purchase costumes for their characters, which can be somewhat revealing. There's also a Cartel Marketplace, where real money is turned into cartel coins and used to purchase items that can appear in the game. The game presents players with choices that can be either good (the light side of the Force) or bad (the dark side), which can alter a player's appearance and influence non-playable characters. The story line for the expansion plays basically the same, whether a players starts out on the former Republic side or the former Empire side. Fighting is frequent and involves the use of either blasters, Force powers, or lightsabers, with opponents frequently getting impaled but no blood being shown.
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What's it about?
STAR WARS: THE OLD REPUBLIC - KNIGHTS OF THE FALLEN EMPIRE is a chapter-driven story line that takes place after the Emperor of the Sith has been overthrown and has fled. The game takes place years later and begins with an alliance between the Sith and Jedi as they track the former emperor to a remote region of the galaxy to discover a new world and faction with advanced weaponry capable of wiping out the worlds of both the Republic and Empire. The game puts the player in the role of the Outlander, the remaining hope for the galaxy when Valkorion (the former emperor) is betrayed and his son, Arcann, sits on the throne. The game brings back beloved characters, as well as introducing both good and bad new characters. Currently, the first nine chapters are available with 16 total planned; the remaining seven will be available in 2016. This expansion is free to monthly subscribers.
Is it any good?
This massively multiplayer online role-playing game features enthralling storytelling with frequent twists and surprises for players. Just when you think you have things figured out, Star Wars: The Old Republic - Knights of the Fallen Empire throws in multiple cliffhangers. The cut scenes are fantastic, the action is great, and the expansion breathes life into the MMORPG franchise. The graphics are superb and the sound -- both the voice acting and the music -- plays into the story quite well, making this a compelling gaming experience. Even more important for players, while the game takes place in the MMORPG universe of SWTOR, this chapter-driven experience is very much made for a single-player experience. Yes, it would have been nice if the story line was different from the Jedi or Sith perspective, and there are some moments of lag when you're switching between a cut scene and gameplay, but this is BioWare telling a story in a way that inspires and involves the player to move from adventure to adventure. The worst part is having to wait for Chapter 10 to release in 2016 once you fly through the gameplay. But for fans of Star Wars and MMOs in general, Knights of the Fallen is a must-play.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how some games, with ties to other areas of pop culture, can create interest and drive sales for a brand such as Star Wars. Do you think this game was made solely to promote the film or to stand alone on its own right?
Talk about setting reasonable and responsible time limits for playing games. Why could it be a bad thing to sit and play video games for hours without breaks?
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