A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Postapocalyptic setting is grim, with few uplifting aspects.
Positive Role Models
Some flashbacks talk about kind, compassionate people.
Ease of Play
Simple controls; some puzzles pose a challenge.
Violence & Scariness
Abandoned world shows evidence of past violence, including instances of blood spatter.
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"S--t," "crap," "bastards," "bitch" heard occasionally.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
No characters seen doing drugs, but drug use (both medical use and addiction) is a central theme.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Empathy: Path of Whispers is a downloadable first-person adventure game dealing with mature themes like religious persecution, madness, medical experiments, and political extremism. It contains occasional curse words like "s--t," "bitch," "crap," and "bastards." Cigarette smoking is mentioned, and drug use is a central theme of the story; dialogue includes talk of medical drug use, drug sales, and drug abuse. Violence is minimal, although there are some scenes with blood splatter.
Is It Any Good?
This adventure manages to bring up mature topics in an interesting way, but the gameplay and problem-solving leaves much to be desired. Empathy's story-rich adventure emphasizes dialogue and text, and because of it, crosses the line from game to interactive story. Though most point-and-click adventures are fairly text-heavy and involve exploration, the good ones alternate between these aspects and some other kind of puzzle or problem-solving experience. Empathy: Path of Whispers lacks that kind of enigmatic pacemaker, and its flow suffers accordingly.
Most of what you do involves using a hand-held scanner to track psychically rich objects, and scanning involves using your mouse wheel and buttons to adjust the shape of an electronic wave. Doing this is moderately interesting the first five times; after that, it's a chore. The same can be said for marching from point A to point B, clicking on an object, and listening while its related sound bite plays. There's little to break up this plodding routine, and the memories you find along the way reference a confusing number of characters and story threads. Still, the overreaching premise is mysterious enough to help you endure the repetition just to see what happens next, and your reward for doing so is a series of beautifully moody, ominous environments. And it has to be, since the end reveal is a fairly big letdown. Ultimately, it gets a big thumbs-up for attempting to discuss mature and difficult themes, and a big thumbs-down for muddled presentation and lack of problem-solving.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.