A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Aragami is a downloadable stealth game set in a fictional historic Japan. It revolves around a revenge story, and the hero is a vengeful ghost summoned by a young girl whose family has been slaughtered by an invading force. Violence is mostly optional, but players are rewarded for making stylish kills with a katana. Dead enemies leave pools of blood, and dead bodies can be dissolved or moved.
What's it about?
ARAGAMI begins as a young girl summons a shadow ninja from the spirit world. Having lost her family (and her whole village) to a force of savage invaders, the young girl orders the "Aragami" to find her and avenge her people. The spirit embarks on a long journey accompanied by the girl's astral projection, and the two of them uncover clues to their collective past. Gameplay involves sneaking around areas patrolled by multiple guards and either avoiding or killing them. Thorough players can find hidden scrolls that grant them new and useful skills such as the ability to summon decoys or use noisemakers to create distractions.
Is it any good?
Fans of the straightforward stealth games of years past should enjoy themselves with this one. Aside from a light role-playing element in the form of simple skill improvements, the whole point here is to sneak around like a ghost and either stealth-kill everyone you encounter or avoid them completely.
Each chapter involves navigating an area patrolled by guards who can and will kill you on sight. Gameplay is somewhat unforgiving -- one hit is all you can take before you're dust -- but patience and dexterity are rewarded with some fairly cool ninja-like moments. On the surface, the story nvolves the revenge of a young girl on the savages who murdered her people. Dig a little deeper, and it's also about the identity of her spectral avenger. Though violence is the heart of the game and there's blood, the anime-style graphics keep it from being too realistic. The skill tree also offers some interesting upgrades, including the ability to summon a shadow dragon to take out enemies and see all the hidden scrolls in an area. Better still, the mystery at the center of the story pulls you through. Unfortunately, a number of issues plague the game. Sometimes, mission-objective markers fail to appear correctly, the targeting reticule is hard to see, and the controls can be less than responsive. Still, it's hard to deny the romance of gliding around a moonlit graveyard or bamboo forest like some kind of lethal apparition.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the concept of revenge. Is it really a good idea to respond to violence with more violence?
Think about memory loss. Which other movies or books have you seen where the hero lost his or her memory? How did they respond?
Discuss the difference between stealth games and shooters. Which kind of game takes more skill?
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