Fantasy adventure brings big game hunting to new heights.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Wild Hearts is a fantasy action role-playing game, available on the Xbox Series and PlayStation 5 consoles, as well as Windows based PCs. Players use an arsenal of unique weapons and skills to hunt huge creatures that threaten the ecological stability of the land, as well as the survival of the people living there. Combat is a core part of the gameplay, with players hacking, slashing, and shooting at the massive beasts. Despite the constant flow of violence, there's no blood or gore shown onscreen. Parents should be aware that there is an online multiplayer option that allows players to call out for assistance on quests, potentially teaming them up with other random players.
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What’s It About?
WILD HEARTS take "big game hunting" to a whole new level. In the land of Azuma, the wildlife has developed a unique synergy with their habitats, evolving to the point where the very environment is a part of their being. Among these animals exist massive creatures called "Kemono." These epic beasts are so infused with elemental power that nature itself warps in their presence. Once peacefully co-existing with the people of Azuma, the Kemono have recently begun to run amok, wreaking havoc and leaving ecologic disasters in their wake. You're a hunter who has recently found his way to this area while tracking the path of the Kemono. After a near death encounter with a powerful creature, you regain consciousness, miraculously healed and gifted with the control of an ancient technology known as Karakuri. By tapping into the Celestial Thread, you're able to craft mechanical creations out of thin air to aid in your hunts. Now you must combine this new ability with your hunter skills and weapon mastery to save the last remaining settlement in the area, while attempting to discover the source of the Kemonos' rage and restore the natural balance.
Is It Any Good?
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that's true, then Wild Hearts would best be described as a gushing love letter to Capcom's hit Monster Hunter series, with a bit of a flirtation to Epic Games' Fornite tossed in for good measure. From the sprawling landscapes to the diverse arsenal of weapons to the massive beasts you're called on to hunt, everything feels like it would be right at home in a Monster Hunter spinoff, albeit a streamlined one. The number of weapons available in Wild Hearts is surprisingly small, though each one feels completely unique from the others, with plenty of distinct tricks up their sleeves to master. Where Wild Hearts really stands apart, though, is through the use of Karakuri. These mechanical devices can be built out of thin air on the fly, providing players with all sorts of ways to change the course of battle. Face to snout with a raging boar? Craft a bulwark wall for cover and stop its charge. Or maybe piece together a repeater crossbow to ding it for damage and distract its attention. The use of Karakuri opens up a slew of monster slaying options.
Wild Hearts' streamlined gameplay and controls put a lot of focus on the action. Attacking Kemono creatures has more of an arcade-like hack and slash feel. Whether sliding underneath a massive beast or striking from on high after launching from the high ground, the key to victory is a constant ballet of move, build, strike, dodge, wash, rinse, and repeat as needed. And if you find yourself in a particularly tough fight, calling in some extra help from fellow online hunters is a breeze. Even so, keep in mind that, unless you've specifically partied up with a couple of friends, you never know who will join your hunt. You might gel like a well-oiled hunting machine, or your team could fall apart like a scrapped Karakuri. Finally, while the game is generally inviting and fun, it still feels a bit rough around the edges. Technical glitches sometimes rear their ugly heads, such as Kemono getting temporarily stuck in or on Karakuri constructs or cutscenes and voiceovers getting out of synch. These aren't game breaking, but they do make for the occasional hiccup in an otherwise polished hunting experience.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Wild Hearts affected by the lack of realistic enemies? Are some portrayals of violence more acceptable than others in video games? Is the violence of hunting fantasy animals more acceptable than the human on human violence of first-person shooters?
What are some of the ways that wildlife is directly affected by ecological changes? What steps can people take to help preserve the balance of nature and wildlife in today's modern world?
- Platforms: Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 5, Windows
- Pricing structure: Paid ($69.99)
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Release date: February 17, 2023
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Science and Nature, Wild Animals
- Character Strengths: Teamwork
- ESRB rating: T for Violence, Use of Alcohol
- Last updated: February 24, 2023
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