N.O.V.A. 2 - Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that N.O.V.A. 2 - Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance is a first person shooter that is loaded with violence and death. While the game is set in a sci-fi universe, the violence is very realistic and entirely inappropriate for younger players. Blood is minimal, though (only appearing when your character is nearing death). There's also a heavy push for an in-app purchase for additional multiplayer maps, which teens may desire so they can play with their friends. The Gameloft Live! opt-in feature allows players to connect to strangers, including the ability to text chat online with others.
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Is it any good?
While the original N.O.V.A. set the bar for action games on the iPad, several other titles have since bested it. This sequel to that game is good, but doesn't redefine the category. Like the original, the story and many of the game's elements are obvious Halo rip-offs, but that's not overly important as the game is more action focused. It features a robust online multiplayer element, which is what will attract most players. But its biggest flaw is its control structure. There are so many onscreen buttons to be mindful of that it's hard to access what you need in the middle of a fight without looking away from the action. And especially later in the game, that can be fatal.