A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game is violent and shows blood and gore (namely, body parts flying off some enemy units). While graphic, the view is normally from above (as opposed to a more realistic first-person perspective) and the Warhammer 40,000 universe is very much a sci-fi fantasy universe.
What's it about?
Once the most popular PC genre, real-time strategy games (RTS) -- which fuse fast-paced action with strategic war-based decisions -- are few and far between these days. But celebrated Canadian developer Relic has launched an epic fantasy sci-fi sequel worth considering for those who miss the RTS craze from yesteryear. THQ's WARHAMMER 40,000: DAWN OF WAR II is once again set in the 41st millennium and lets gamers assume the role of a Space Marine commander and take on vicious races in the galaxy.
You don't have to be familiar with Games Workshop's popular Warhammer 40,000 table-top war game franchise, nor must you play the first game to understand this sequel, but unit and vehicle deployment knowledge is handy as you'll face enemies on planet battlefields, use weapons of mass destruction, take cover behind objects, and traipse your way through destructible environments. That said, units stay with you for the course of the game, with role-playing game-like personalization and upgrades. Players can also unlock special abilities for each race. Along with the non-linear single-player campaign, gamers can partake in a fully cooperative multiplayer mode -- via Microsoft's free Games for Windows LIVE online service -- and defend the galaxy by choosing one of four unique playable races: Space Marines, Orks, Eldars, and Tyranids.
Is it any good?
While there's a heavy focus on action rather than strategy, the game will certainly satiate RTS fans and Warhammer: 40,000 players alike, but one beef is that you must register for a LIVE ID if you don't already have an account -- before playing even the single-player game. This doesn't make much sense and seems like a shameless way of signing up for direct marketing.
But it's hard to ignore Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II's charm, great graphics, and deep game-play. If you don't mind a little more action than strategy and the mandatory Live ID registration, THQ's hot little fantasy RTS won't let you down.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether the violence in a fantasy getaway like this seems less offensive than the violence and gore found in a game rooted in reality, such as the Grand Theft Auto games set in a New York-like city? And does the perspective help to make a difference -- namely, a top-down strategic view of the battlefield as opposed to a first-person perspective a la the Call of Duty 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.