A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty is a real-time strategy game set in the future and involves combat between three different alien races. The game includes plenty of violence (with blood and gore), foul language, and scenes with drinking and smoking. Violence will likely be the big concern, as players are battling rival factions to the death -- with blood and limbs flying. However, this violence is clearly within a sci-fi story that takes place in the future and on another planet (as opposed to shooting police in a New York City-like environment a la Grand Theft Auto). Plus, the angled top-down view is less "visceral" than an up-close-and-personal first-person view. Also be aware that this game supports open online text and voice communication. The multiplayer aspect, with players earning ratings based on how well they play, makes this a compelling game that is hard to quit. Families will want to pay attention to the addictive nature of this type of game.
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What's it about?
A dozen years is a long time to wait for a sequel -- especially when it's the follow-up to one of the most popular and influential computer games in history. But when you're game behemoth Blizzard Entertainment you can take your time to do it right. With STARCRAFT II: WINGS OF LIBERTY they have done just that. The sci-fi saga continues between the Terrans (humans), the tech-savvy Protoss, and the swarming Zerg – three powerful and well-balanced races that face off on alien worlds, each with their own tactics, technology, units, and weapons, as well as unique characters and motivations. The 29-mission single-player campaign continues the adventures of Jim Raynor, a marshal-turned-rebel leader for the Terrans (unlike the first game, you can't play as other races in the solo campaign, which might disappoint some). While the goals are set per level -- such as freeing allies, defending your base, recovering an artifact, or exploring the map to attack enemies -- you can often choose which technology and military upgrades to invest in and even select the desired path to take.
Is it any good?
This real-time strategy game doesn’t mess with the original StarCraft formula, but the gameplay is so tight and polished it’s impossible to resist its charm. As with its predecessor, StarCraft II has you collecting resources, such as blue crystal minerals and vespene gases, creating new recruits, constructing varied units, developing new technologies, and battling against uncompromising enemy species.
Along with introducing new (and familiar) units and characters, this sequel is rendered in full 3-D and can handle huge skirmishes on the battlefields. The story-driven cut-scene sequences are stunning to say the least, complemented by well-written dialogue and a moody soundtrack. StarCraft II also shines in its multiplayer modes, but fans of LAN (local area network) parties might be upset to hear Blizzard isn't allowing for this kind of head-to-head play in StarCraft II. Without question, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty will satiate both seasoned strategy fans and newcomers alike. Get ready to fall in love with your computer all over again.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the difference between fantasy violence and that of the more realistic variety. Why is it generally easier to stomach fantasy fights? Is it because what we see is so far removed from the real world? Do standard morals not apply in battles against monsters and aliens?
Families can also talk about how the people behind StarCraft II took their time in delivering this sequel -- 12 years after the first game (and seven years in actual development). Is this a model other game development studios should follow (budget permitting) or is this too long? Should game companies crank out a sequel every year or so or take their time with an aim to perfect it?
- Platforms: Mac, Windows
- Subjects: Language & Reading: following directions, reading
Social Studies: exploration, geography
Science: energy, geology, rocks and minerals
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, applying information, strategy
Creativity: brainstorming, developing novel solutions, making new creations
Collaboration: cooperation, meeting challenges together, teamwork
Tech Skills: digital creation, using and applying technology
Self-Direction: identifying strengths and weaknesses, time management, work to achieve goals
- Price: $59.99
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
- Release date: July 27, 2010
- Genre: Real-Time Strategy (RTS)
- ESRB rating: T for Blood and Gore, Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, Violence
For kids who love strategy games
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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.