Brave: The Video Game

Common Sense Media says

Average movie spin-off has mild but persistent violence.

Age(i)

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17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game relies on violence as a primary means of resolving conflicts, much more so than the film from which it sprang. However, it also enforces the idea the girls can be every bit as strong, courageous, and physically adept as boys.  

Positive role models

Merida has an enthusiasm for battle, but she only fights when provoked or attacked. She's also a confident and powerful young woman who takes initiative, accomplishes goals herself, and works to improve her relationship with her mother.

Ease of play

Standard controls for combat and world navigation should prove accessible to players of all skill levels. Four modes of difficulty ensure a suitable challenge for just about any age. The Kinect archery game employs intuitive controls that have players simply pretending to shoot arrows with a bow. 

Violence

Players attack enemies (rock golems, tree-like bipeds, and other elemental creatures) with swords or shoot them with arrows. Some foes are somewhat animal-like in appearance, such as stony boars and icy panthers, but all are magical/fantastical in nature. Battles are cartoonish, and enemies simply disappear when defeated. There is no blood, gore, or screaming.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

This game is tied to the Disney Pixar movie of the same name. Kids who see the film will likely be interested in the game and vice versa.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Brave: The Video Game is an action/adventure video game spin-off of the movie with which it shares its name. Kids who view or play one will likely want to view or play the other. The game’s heroine is just as strong and courageous a young woman as she is in the film, though her strained relationship with her mother -- the focus of the film -- is downplayed here in favor of presenting a steady stream of battles. Aside from a few quick puzzles, players spend almost all of their time engaged in simple and cartoonish (no blood or gore) combat in which they use a bow and sword to fend off fantastical creatures.

What kids can learn

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • defining problems
  • logic
  • solving puzzles

Emotional Development

  • perspective taking
  • empathy
  • identifying emotions

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • teamwork

Health & Fitness

  • movement

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Expect predictable and repetitive action in this average video game spinoff. The puzzles are the highlight, though, pulling players out of the bland -- if competent -- battle action.

Learning Approach

Kids will have a chance to engage in a bit of healthy physical activity if they play the Kinect-based archery side game. They'll also get a little mind workout as they work out solutions to a handful logic puzzles.

Support

The game provides enough instruction along the way to ensure most kids won't get stuck, which is good since there's little in the way of external supports.

What kids can learn

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • defining problems
  • logic
  • solving puzzles

Emotional Development

  • perspective taking
  • empathy
  • identifying emotions

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • teamwork

Health & Fitness

  • movement

Kids can learn a little about the emotional bond between mothers and daughters in this action/adventure game starring a determined young princess who rebels against her mother's wishes. They'll also have a chance to get up off the couch and engage in a bit of physical activity by playing a Kinect-based archery side game, and will exercise their grey matter as they work out the solutions to logical puzzles starring a trio of bears. Kids playing Brave: The Video Game will spend most of their time in combat but will likely come away thinking about the connections they have with their parents.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

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What's it about?

Based on Disney Pixar's animated film of the same name, BRAVE: THE VIDEO GAME is an action game that stars Merida, a young Scottish princess who accidentally causes her mother to be transformed into a bear. She spends the game looking for a way to turn her back into a human before the magic spell becomes permanent. This entails a good deal of combat. She takes on a steady stream of fantastical characters under the influence of different sorts of magic, using both a sword and a bow and arrow to defeat them and make them disappear. A second player can join in as a helper by controlling a floating will-o'-the-wisp. Players will also encounter a few simple puzzles that put them in control of a trio of bear cubs -- Merida's brothers -- who flip switches and pull levers to bypass mechanical contraptions. In the X360 version, outside of the game proper is a quick archery challenge that requires Microsoft's Kinect motion controller.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Brave: The Video Game is a middling video game spin-off filled with predictable and repetitive action. It sacrifices the film's stirring relationship between its mother and daughter characters in favor of serving up a constant flow of running, jumping, and sword-swinging action. The battle mechanics are competent and should prove engaging for younger audiences, but parents who opt to join in will likely find themselves yawning after 15 or 20 minutes of the game's decidedly repetitive brawling combat. Since this game is so combat heavy, it may turn off some of its targeted audience of girl gamers.

The puzzles -- simple logic conundrums that require players to noodle out the proper order of steps to achieve a specific goal -- are a highlight, and the archery mini-game for Kinect players will get kids up off the couch, if only for a few minutes. However, Brave: The Video Game is, by and large, just another video game adaptation of a good film that squanders its source material.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about violence in media. Is the impact of violence in games dependent on the genders of the characters involved?

  • Families can also discuss female characters in games. Do you think a character like Brave's Merida is a good role model for girls because she is strong and capable in battle? Does her violent behavior sabotage her potential as a character that could inspire female players? 

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Windows
Price:$29.99-$49.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Disney Interactive
Release date:June 19, 2012
Genre:Action/Adventure
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Fairy tales, Great girl role models
ESRB rating:E10+ for Fantasy Violence (Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of Brave: The Video Game was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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