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Shadowgun Legends

App review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Shadowgun Legends App Poster Image
Great first-person shooter occasionally misfires.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

The game is simple to play with basic shooting controls. Although generally playing on a smaller screen, the targeting system and auto-fire are extremely forgiving and the interface can be configured to best suit the player. Turning off auto-fire can make the game much more difficult to play though.

Violence

Violence is the central theme of the game, with players shooting enemies (and each other in PvP play) using a variety of realistic and sci-fi themed guns and grenades. There's some blood splatter occasionally shown onscreen, though there’s no explicit gore. Defeated enemies simply disappear, usually leaving items behind.

Sex

Some female characters are presented in a sexualized manner.

Language

Profanity pops up on a regular basis, from billboards encouraging players to “Kick some ass”, to “s--t” and more mentioned in the game’s dialogue, as well as crude symbols. The multiplayer component also opens players up to offensive content by chat and inappropriate player nicknames.

Consumerism

While free-to-play, the game pushes players heavily to spend real world money on various items, ranging from cosmetic purchases to more powerful gear to game essentials like an expanded inventory.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There are regular references to drinking alcohol, including a bar where players can spend money to buy various alcoholic drinks in-game. There's even a mission where players must carry a worker that’s passed out from drinking over to a security station to open a door.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Shadowgun Legends is a futuristic first-person shooter available for download on iOS and Android devices. Players battle against human soldiers, robots, aliens, and even other players using a variety of science fiction-based weapons. Violence is baked into the gameplay, with lots of lasers, bullets, and explosives flying around. There's some occasional blood shown onscreen, though on the whole, the violence isn’t particularly graphic. Parents should be aware that profanity occurs regularly in the game, both through dialogue and in the environment. Though free-to-play, the game does heavily push players to spend real world money to unlock new content, from merely cosmetic items to near necessities like expanded inventory.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

Welcome to the world of SHADOWGUN LEGENDS, where saving the galaxy is a spectator sport and fending off your foes is secondary to looking good while doing it. Gear up and play to the audience in the game’s Campaign, where players take on over 400 missions across four different planets in solo or co-op. But fame is fleeting in this winner-take-all arena, forcing Legends to spend their downtime between alien invasions by battling against each other in competitive Duals, Capture the Flag, or other team-based PvP events. To the victor goes the spoils, with Legends earning not just the adoration of their fans, but a lasting legacy in the form of special rewards, custom items, and even a statue built in your honor in town square and your name etched into the Walk of Fame … at least until the next new Legend comes along to take your place.

Is it any good?

This first-person shooter manages to bring a console-worthy experience to phones and tablets. Shadowgun Legends packs all the action of a triple A first-person shooter into a bite-sized, free-to-play experience, complete with all the usual trappings of the genre: Story, Co-op, and Competitive gameplay. The game is a solid addition to the genre, with sharp visuals, intuitive controls, and a focus on fun, friendly (and sometimes, not-so friendly) competition.But as good as it can be most times, there are still some spots where the game misses its target.

One of the first things shooter fans will have to adjust to is the game’s default use of auto-fire. Simply aiming over an enemy unleashes a hail of gunfire at your foes, which can make things awkward when trying to aim for critical targets and those oh-so-valuable headshots. Early on, this makes the game almost too easy, though that quickly fades when the difficulty ramps up and enemies start doing major damage.. This can be turned off in the options, but without it, the shooting winds up becoming a bit of a mess. Another issue with Shadowgun Legends involves some odd network issues. When everything's working, the game runs almost flawlessly. But frustrating issues include some bad lag in some multiplayer matches, rewards not appearing in your inventory, and other random quirks of online play. But the game’s biggest issue has to be with how it handles its free-to-play structure. While many items you can buy are simple cosmetic additions, others feel like they’re necessities to enjoy the game. For example, players start with an extremely limited inventory, a major handicap in a loot-driven game like Shadowgun Legends. This can be substantially expanded with your first purchase from the in-game store, but between that and the availability of more powerful armor and weapons for real world cash, it’s hard not to feel like the game is angling for more of a “pay-to-win” experience.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Shadowgun Legends affected by the constant combat in the game? Can the violence in mobile games mimic the same levels of violence in console releases? Does the mobile environment make the violence more accessible?

  • How do publishers entice players to spend real world money on virtual items in free-to-play games? What are the differences between offering small, optional items such as cosmetic items versus more necessary items or powerful gear, creating a “pay to win” scenario?

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