A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Falcon Age is a downloadable first-person action/adventure game available for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs, with additional support for the PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive headsets. Players take on the role of a young girl who, along with her falcon partner, is fighting against the oppression of her people by a robotic army. The game features strong themes of cultural appreciation as players learn the ways of Ara's people, the importance of that heritage, and just how fragile culture can be. There's violence against robotic enemies, with players using a combination of the falcon's action and the player's own melee attacks. There's no blood or gore in the combat, and the game even includes an option to avoid combat altogether.
What's it about?
FALCON AGE is a tale set on a dying planet, stripped of its resources by robotic invaders, its people forced into a life of servitude. Players take the role of Ara, a young prisoner wasting away in a jail cell, with her only friend being a young falcon that visits her. Together, the duo make their escape and find their way back to Ara's people. It's here that Ara learns more about the history of her people and their once proud connection with the land. Armed with this knowledge, Ara finds a newfound sense of purpose, seeking to free her people from the robots' oppressive rule. Together with the falcon friend she has raised and cared for, Ara is determined to give rise to a new resistance, reclaim the planet in her people's name, and ensure that the legacy of her people and their ways continue to live on. Originally released for the PlayStation and PlayStation VR in 2019, the game has been released further for the Nintendo Switch and Windows PCs, with additional Oculus Rift and HTC Vive VR support.
Is it any good?
Since the dawn of time, there's been a distinct divide between "dog person" and "cat person." But after spending time in the world of Falcon Age caring for, training, and even pampering your own virtual pet falcon, you might just wind up being more of a "bird person." The story is a compelling tale of fighting back against oppression while preserving your heritage and culture, and it's a story that's both relevant and engrossing. But it's impossible to deny that it's your avian ally who steals the spotlight in every way. From its generally playful nature when given toys to its steadfast loyalty in the heat of battle, your falcon always feels like more than just a tool in your bag of tricks. And the more time you spend in the game, especially in the more immersive VR environment on PC or PlayStation VR, the more you find yourself truly bonding with your feathered sidekick.
As much fun as it is to simply spend time petting and playing with your falcon, there's actually a lot more to the game. But take away the virtual pet aspect, and you're left with an adventure that, while linked to a compelling plot, can get a little stale from a gameplay perspective. The various puzzles that block your progress aren't very challenging and feel more like a chore than anything else, especially after having come across a similar puzzle two or three times already. In fact, one big gripe is that Falcon Age's main story falls on the shorter end of the spectrum, and a lot of that time, it feels like you're replaying the same bits over and over. There were also a few minor visual hiccups that popped up (missing textures, stuttering frame rates, etc.). Despite this, the connection you build between yourself and your falcon remains strong, and gives more than enough reason to keep revisiting the Falcon Age world -- and learning a little something about humanity in the process. It's great that more people are getting a chance to explore this game, now that it's soaring on new platforms.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about cultural influence. How do cultural differences help to shape communities? How important is it to learn about various cultures, and how can that influence or inspire you?
What are some of the ways that humans and animals work together? What are some of the ways that some animals become members of the family?
- Platforms: HTC Vive, Nintendo Switch, Oculus Rift, PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR, Windows
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Outerloop Games LLC
- Release date: October 8, 2020
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs, Robots, Science and Nature, Wild Animals
- ESRB rating: E for Fantasy Violence
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: November 20, 2020
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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.