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 depicts plenty of football-related tackling and pushing, with a little more violence than usual in its celebration of late hits. Cut scenes feature cheerleaders in skimpy clothes; ads for real-life companies are displayed along the sidelines and on the scoreboards; and licensed songs play on the soundtrack. This game is online enabled; players may encounter offensive language from opponents they meet online. Common Sense Media does not recommend online play for anyone under 12.
What's it about?
Football fans who only know NFL-style play, with 100-yard fields and a serious ground-game strategy, may initially find ARENA FOOTBALL a bit quirky. To keep the games quick and high-scoring, most of the offensive work revolves around passing, and there are a few new rules regarding defense and blitzing.
Players with some football familiarity should quickly master the basic mechanics of selecting plays and then controlling the timing of the snap, pass, and maybe a couple of evasive running moves. They'll be racking up points in no time. It's not hard for one team to pile on eight touchdowns in a 20-minute game. And the defense can execute some flashy and satisfying tackles -- smashing ball carriers over the sideline boards, for example -- to match the offensive energy.
Is it any good?
Arena Football rushes players like a blitzing linebacker, and on a superficial level it does a good job of capturing the in-your-face attitude and intensity of the real game. Before long, though, the mediocre presentation and shallow play end up hobbling the game. The game provides a variety of fine-tuned control features, like switching control to the receiver as a pass is in the air, but making tweaks in plays while they're underway frequently throws off the timing and ruins the play. As a result, many of the more-complicated features are never very useful.
Other problems: The online community for Arena Football is frequently small, and players may not have many opponents to choose from. The game's characters look blocky, arenas feel sterile, the crowd is poorly defined, and the game lacks much voice-over audio.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about sportsmanship. Do things like late hits and trash-talking make football more or less fun to watch or play? Families also may wish to discuss the place of advertising in games. Are arena-side ads necessary in a virtual world? Families should also discuss appropriate online behavior and language.
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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.