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 set in a violent world of drug dealers and crooked cops: As criminals, players shoot scores of police, and as police, players shoot scores of criminals. The violence includes some gore and plenty of blood. The game also features swearing, references to drinking and drug use, robbery, graffiti tagging, and in-game advertising. Parents should also note that the game is designed for online play, which can expose players to creative streams of obscenity.
What's it about?
The plot of 25 TO LIFE features interlocking stories involving a family-man criminal attempting to go straight, a violent drug dealer, and the police (both crooked and upstanding) who try to stop them. Each of the 12 story chapters consists of a march along a linear path gunning down pretty much everyone in sight. With an assortment of guns and explosives, players blow away police, thugs, and civilians, spraying blood against walls and bits of brains on the ground.
The online action is more engaging than the single-player game: Gamers participate in 16-player, team-based matches, and can customize their characters with scores of unlockable clothing and appearance options. The action includes such staples as death match- and capture-the-flag-type play.
Is it any good?
The game's levels are short, repetitive, and ugly. The single-player game offers little surprise or excitement, just shoot, shoot, shoot. Spray-paint a wall, use a body as a human shield, and shoot, shoot, shoot. It's non-stop tedious gameplay.
Characters swear profusely -- in English and Spanish -- in the dialogue, and the soundtrack of licensed songs is filled with profane boasting. In the end, 25 to Life is overly gritty and badly executed. Even adult players should skip this one.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violent content. What is appealing about this content -- and when do game makers cross the line? How might constant exposure to violent games affect kids? Does violence make the games realistic or more exciting, or just attract attention in a crowded marketplace?
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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.