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 is a first-person shooter in which players kill hundreds of enemies with a variety of guns and explosives. The game's graphics are very realistic, although there is no blood during gameplay. The story revolves around terrorism and includes some quick video of bloody victims and implied torture. The game also includes swearing and cigarette smoking in some cut scenes.
What's it about?
BLACK follows the terrorist-busting exploits of a special operation soldier, but this game isn't really about narrative: Black is about shooting people and blowing things up. Players float through eight game missions, holding a series of guns in the familiar first-person-shooter style. The goal of each mission is to essentially move from point A through the level to point B. There are some shallow secondary objectives, like collecting notebooks and destroying safes hidden throughout the missions.
Is it any good?
The game is graphically gorgeous. Action takes place in a range of environments, including a forest at night and a dilapidated insane asylum. And firefights are exciting, with shrapnel and bullet shells flying through the smoke, and rocket-propelled grenades and muzzle flashes exploding all around. Parents may be surprised by the lack of blood and gore, although enemies will scream and flail when shot.
Even at its short length -- most gamers will finish the game in around seven hours -- Black has seemingly given all it has to give by the halfway point. Then the game's problems -- players aren't really required to use strategy, nor are they able to save mission progress part-way through an hour-long level -- start to become apparent.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about this game's marketing materials, which celebrated the game as "gun porn." What does this term mean? Do you find this campaign, with its association between sex and violence, troubling? Does that make the game more appealing? Is superficial violence more appealing -- and less damaging -- than realistic violence? Or do you believe the opposite?
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