A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Hidden Agenda is a mature adventure game that uses a smartphone and a PlayStation 4. This multiplayer-only video game is about law enforcement officials trying to catch a serial killer, and there are many scenes of violence, blood, and gore that can potentially be seen based on player choices. There are also references to sex, prostitution, and implied child molestation, as well as references to illegal drugs. The words "f--k" and "s--t" can be occasionally heard in dialogue sequences.
- Parents say
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What's it about?
Up to six players use their smartphones or tablets (iOS or Android) to help guide the on-screen action in the gripping crime drama HIDDEN AGENDA. The game is about two playable characters -- detective Becky Marnie and district attorney Felicity Graves -- who are attempting to hunt down the infamous "Trapper" killer, who not only catches, torments, and kills his innocent victims, but also lays down traps to inflict even more carnage on the first responders who investigate the crime scenes. Collectively, players must make tough decisions to guide the story in a given direction, having a direct impact on the branching narrative. The game plays out (and looks like) a movie, where you watch events unfold and then interact in some way, such as choosing to be aggressive or cautious interrogating someone, or quickly initiating a "quick time" event to avoid a violent outcome. Along with competing against one another, players must also work together to find clues. This crime thriller is a PS4 exclusive and first requires a free app download to the mobile device before the phone or tablet can be paired with the PS4 console over Wi-Fi.
Is it any good?
While the slower pace and dark, disturbing story won't suit all tastes, this is a very unique multiplayer game for up to six people to decide the fate of its characters. Hidden Agenda might be considered a combination of a crime drama like CSI: Miami, a horror flick (such as Saw), and Supermassive Games' own creepy Until Dawn -- all wrapped in a choose-your-own-adventure narrative, where you can control the path of the story. While a little predictable at times, the story is strong, and it really does feel like it's a movie.
It's unique and fun to use a smartphone or tablet app as a controller to make decisions, initiate action sequences, collect clues, vote on a decision with friends, and interrogate suspects. But sometimes pushing your finger on the screen, which acts as a mouse cursor at times, isn't very responsive. This isn't so bad when you're choosing how to handle a scene, but it could mean instant death if your decision isn't registered in a crucial quick time event. At under $20, Hidden Agenda is a memorable social game that can even hook in non-video game fans. Just take note of the Mature rating, as the subject matter isn't appropriate for kids, tweens, or young teens.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in games. Because this game features near photorealistic graphics, does it make the mature content even more disturbing? Or do players know what they're getting into because they're playing law enforcement officials trying to catch a serial killer?
Talk about multiplayer-focused games. Do you think the mix of cell phones and tablets with the PS4 enhances the multiplayer experience?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Sony Interactive Entertainment
- Release date: October 29, 2017
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Great Girl Role Models
- ESRB rating: M for Blood, Drug Reference, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Violence
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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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.