Parents need to know that "Total War: Warhammer II" is a fantasy-based, real-time strategy game available on Windows PC. Based on Games Workshop's popular "Warhammer" franchise, players 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 in 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.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
In "Total War: Warhammer II," players leave behind the conflicts of the Old World and are 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 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 that 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 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. But for hardcore 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.
"Total War: Warhammer II" keeps most of the core components of the original gameplay. Some new tricks help to keep things fresh, though. One of the biggest being 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. 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.
RATING AND CONTENT
Recommended for ages 15 and older
Quality: 4 out of 5
Positive messages: 0 out of 5
Positive role models: 0 out of 5
Ease of play: 1 out of 5
Violence: 4 out of 5
Sex: 2 out of 5
Language: 2 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, and smoking: 2 out of 5
Consumerism: 4 out of 5 (Are products/advertisements embedded? Is the title part of a broader marketing initiative/empire? Is the intent to sell things to kids?)
Developer: Sega of America
Release date: September 28, 2017
ESRB rating: T for alcohol reference, blood, mild language, mild suggestive themes, violence
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