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Total War: Warhammer II
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Total War: Warhammer II is a fantasy-based, real-time strategy game available for Windows PCs. Based on Games Workshop's popular Warhammer franchise, it requires players to control large armies of fantasy characters and creatures that battle each other with a variety of medieval weapons and magical abilities. The game has a lot of complex gameplay elements, and the tutorial only covers the absolute basics, which can leave newcomers overwhelmed. Violence is central to the game, and while it's generally presented on a larger scale, players do have the ability to zoom into the action and see the fighting up close. Finally, the game's dialogue does include some mild language, references to alcohol use, and occasional sexually suggestive lines used chiefly as insults.
- Parents say
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What's it about?
In TOTAL WAR: WARHAMMER II, players leave behind the conflicts of the Old World and get introduced to the war taking place leagues away in the New World. Here the regal High Elves, the sinister Dark Elves, the reptilian Lizardmen, and the rat-like Skaven struggle for control of the Great Vortex, a mystic maelstrom created by an ancient enchantment to drain the world of dangerously unstable Chaos magic. Some seek to defend the Vortex and keep the world free from demonic influence, while others seek to destroy the Vortex and control the forces it holds at bay. Command your armies and watch the epic-scale battles unfold as you see fit. Take in the entire scope of war from a distance, or zoom in to get an up-close and personal view of the carnage. Practice diplomacy or dominate the opposition. Every choice you make has risk and reward. The stakes are high and the choices are yours. Choose wisely and remember: The one who controls the Vortex commands the fate of the world, as well.
Is it any good?
No one ever said that war is easy, especially not the folks behind these strategy games, which are incredibly detailed and fun to play, but demand lots of trial and error to master. Take all that and toss it into the deep lore and established fantasy setting of Games Workshop's Warhammer universe, and you wind up with an overwhelming and sometimes frustrating experience that still manages to reward those willing to stick with it. This is a game that's simply not built for newcomers or casual strategy fans. The game assumes you know what you're doing and punishes you with a steep Everest-like learning curve. Even the tutorial feels more like it's tossed in as little more than an obligatory refresher. But for hard-core strategy fans, and for those willing to put in the effort to learn the nuances of the game, executing a successful battle is an exhilarating rush.
Although Total War: Warhammer II takes place on a different corner of the Warhammer world, replacing the original races with four completely different factions, the game still keeps most of the core components of the original gameplay. Some new tricks help to keep things fresh, though. One of the biggest is the inclusion of Rites, huge game-changing bonuses that can be accessed only by completing a specific set of objectives. The game also expands on the Lord characters of the last game, allowing them to grow and evolve based on your actions. Of course, that's only if they stick around. Thanks to a new Loyalty feature, that powerful leader you've been counting on for a final push might turn on you at any moment ... taking a chunk of your forces with him when he goes. It all adds to the tension of the battlefield, putting a heavier weight behind your decisions and putting a strong emphasis on keen tactics versus dumb luck. You don't just stumble into a victory in Total War: Warhammer II, you fight tooth and nail to snatch that victory from the jaws of defeat, and you wear that win like a badge of honor.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in gaming. What are some ways that the portrayal of violence in games can affect kids? Does a more visual portrayal, like in video games, have a deeper impact than imagined violence, like in a tabletop or pen-and-paper game?
Talk about different types of games. What are the similarities and differences in video games and tabletop games?
- Platforms: Windows
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Sega of America
- Release date: September 28, 2017
- Genre: Strategy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Alcohol Reference, Blood, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence
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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.