A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Edge of Nowhere is a downloadable virtual reality (VR) action/adventure game with horror elements. Players will evade monsters and engage in combat with shotguns, pickaxes, and environmental hazards. Creatures attempt to rip apart, impale, or stab players, while destroying these monsters results in the beasts exploding into bloody chunks. Players will also hear occasional profanity like "s--t" and "bitch" uttered by the main character, usually in combat. While the controls are simple to learn, the camera issues, along with overwhelming numbers of monsters in some areas, can frustrate some players. Parents should be aware, too, that virtual reality equipment makers don't recommend VR experiences for kids under 12 due to the potential impact the technology may have on younger players' physiological development.
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What's it about?
EDGE OF NOWHERE is a virtual reality action/adventure game set in Antarctica in the 1930s. Players take on the role of Victor Howard, a young academic who discovers that his fiancée, Ava Thorne, and her scientific expedition to the frozen continent has mysteriously gone missing. Of course, as he attempts to approach her last known location by plane, he crash-lands into the inhospitable location and finds that circumstances are much worse than he could ever imagine. Not only has the expedition gone missing, but there are nightmarish creatures, disintegrating walls of ice, and strange visions of otherworldly places. Even worse, weapons and gear are in short supply and are scattered across a wide area. Victor will need to grab what he can, fend off incoming attacks as best as he can, and save his fiancée before it's too late.
Is it any good?
This game tries to bring a creepy horror vibe to VR, but its design decisions keep it from truly scaring up a classic. Edge of Nowhere tries to run shivers up a player's spine over the course of its tale, and certain elements wind up working extremely well. For instance, the desolation and danger of Antarctica and the scattered remnants of base camps you come across really reinforces the impression that something bad has happened here. Early on, you catch fleeting glimpses of monsters that make you question your eyes; this becomes more horrific and disturbing when you realize that these things are real. Even worse, you have extremely limited resources: Health kits are spread out, and there are only a few shotgun shells to be found in sections, so you'll need to rely on stealth and the environment to outmaneuver these otherworldly threats. Coming across a cave full of creatures when you only have a rock left is enough to truly give you an anxiety attack, which is exactly what the designers were going for.
Unfortunately, some design flaws keep this from being truly great. While VR games can be incredibly immersive and put you in the middle of the action, Edge of Nowhere chooses to make the gameplay take place from a third-person perspective. This is fine, especially when you need to see and navigate Victor around many of the pitfalls and other hazards he has to sprint through or across. But it also has the side effect of reducing the immersive nature of the game, making you more of a spectator (and an awkward one at that) to the action. As a result, some jump scares that should be terrifying are just mildly creepy. What's more, the camera tends to be somewhat locked in place, so if you need to maneuver around or backtrack, it's not particularly easy to do without frequently getting you killed and forcing you to start over at another checkpoint. This is infuriating and unjustifiable, and it can make you walk away from playing the game. That's unfortunate, because the story is actually rather good, and takes a new spin on a well-known horror franchise. Overall, Edge of Nowhere tries to push the edge, but it's really the design issues that keep it from fully going somewhere.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the violence in Edge of Nowhere acceptable because it's caused against nightmarish monsters, or is it inexcusable because of the gore and blood shown?
Talk about scares. This game tries to strike a balance between jump scares and messing with a player's perceptions, but what is scarier: a sudden breathtaking moment, or not being sure if what you're seeing is real?
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