Killzone: Mercenary

 

Learning(i)

Polished but gory handheld shooter definitely not for kids.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game glamorizes brutal, military-style combat. More than that, it suggests that it's okay for a soldier to fight simply for money rather than for something they believe in. 

Positive role models

Many of the mercenaries in the game are little more than money-loving killers, though one does eventually exhibit humanity as well as his true beliefs when he commits a courageous, self-sacrificing act. Regardless, the protagonists in this game are soldiers for hire -- people who kill for cash, not country -- and make for decidedly poor role-models.

Ease of play

Controls for movement, aiming, and shooting are smooth and intuitive; but non-traditional controls for melee and scope adjustments are a bit awkward. The challenge can be punishing at times, even on normal difficulty. However, checkpoints are automatic and usually closely spaced, so you'll never lose much progress.

Violence

Graphic combat sees players using a variety of weapons to shoot human soldiers (and sometimes civilians, if they get in the way). Victims typically go down screaming with red blood spurting from their bodies. Players can also engage in stealth and melee combat, drawing a knife to stab and slice enemies from a first-person view. 

Sex

One scene depicts dead people hanging, their posteriors shown.

Language

Infrequent and mostly mild profanity, though there is the occasional "s--t."

Consumerism

This game is part of a popular and long-running franchise of first-person-shooters.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Serious privacy and safety concerns. This game supports online play with open voice chat. Players may be exposed to inappropriate language and topics of conversation, and will have opportunity to share personally identifying information.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Killzone: Mercenary is a brutal first-person shooter brimming with bloody gun and knife combat. Humans kill humans in this sci-fi adventure, and there are times when civilians may get caught in the crossfire, screaming as they die. Unlike most shooters, the protagonists here aren't noble and courageous characters fighting for a good cause, but instead mercenaries who fight for cash rather than personal beliefs, ideologies, or countries. Parents should also note that this game supports open online play.

What kids can learn

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • solving puzzles
  • strategy

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork

What Kids Can Learn

While elements of Killzone: Mercenary focus on teamwork and strategic reasoning, we don't recommend it for learning because of its graphic violence.

What kids can learn

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • solving puzzles
  • strategy

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork

While elements of Killzone: Mercenary focus on teamwork and strategic reasoning, we don't recommend it for learning because of its graphic violence.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

What's it about?

Instead of moving the ongoing Killzone sci-fi saga forward, KILLZONE: MERCENARY lets players re-experience some of the series key moments to date from the perspective of a mercenary. As Arran Danner, a soldier-for-hire, players revisit the battle for Vekta (the home world of the apparent good guys), then later moves to Helghan, the home planet of the warlike Helghast people. Fighting from a first-person perspective, players work their way through mission after mission, earning cash with which to purchase additional weapons, ammunition, and gear, such as a high-tech remote-controlled stealth drone. Competitive multiplayer, meanwhile, offers a similar first-person combat experience, with any cash earned available to be used within the single-player campaign.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

One of only a handful of Vita games to truly attempt to deliver on the handheld's promise of sophisticated, living room-esque action and shooting games, Killzone: Mercenary is an ambitious and visually refined experience. Its lengthy campaign missions shoot for and sometimes come very close to achieving the sort of epic grandeur of console-based games, including cinematic opening sequences of flying through cities and seamless transitions between different styles of play, such as ground warfare, mounted weapons, gunships, and stealth action.

That said, this polished -- and decidedly mature -- first-person action game also stumbles occasionally. The camera feels cramped and claustrophobic somehow, making it hard find nearby enemies. And while the controls generally feel good, the addition of touch screen actions for melee combat and rear-panel adjustments to scope zoom are a bit distracting. It's a good showcase for everything Vita is capable of, but there's still room for some improvement.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. Is the same violent act made worse if the protagonist's underlying motivations have to do with self-interest rather than moral conviction? 

  • Families can also discuss people who fight for their countries and personal ideologies versus those who fight simply for a paycheck. Are private contract soldiers employed by a government as heroic as those who serve in national forces? Why or why not?

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation Vita
Price:$39.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Sony Computer Entertainment
Release date:September 10, 2013
Genre:First Person Shooter
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Language, Partial Nudity (PlayStation Vita)

This review of Killzone: Mercenary was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

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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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byJoey285 September 21, 2013
age 12+
 

Not as violent as most reviews say

There is a bit of violence in this game but not very much blood because of the futuristic weapons that you use and the swear words are not overly offense because most of the time you are playing multiplayer where there is very few swear words.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent Written byKathrine4561 September 21, 2013
age 13+
 

For ages 13+

Killzone has defiantly made its mark on the vita forever. It's stunning graphics and beautiful gameplay rival even the console version, killzone 3. The content is not appropriate for kids under the age of 13 but if you are over the limit you are just fine. The main reason parents do not let their clildren buy violent games is because of the blood, but in killzone mercenary because of the advanced weapenory there is little blood. And the cuss words are not too extensive and do not leave me felling worried about my 13 year old son playing this game.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 16 years old Written bywillman72 September 4, 2013
age 14+
 

good game 14+

great game with awsome graphics. the violence has pretty brutal knife kills but the blood is less realistic than call of duty and battlefield series and the language in this game is everyday hearing of swearwords the game is based in the future so all weapons (except knife) are unreal for news info traliers funny gaming pics go everything gaming
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing

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