A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
While elements of Killzone: Mercenary focus on teamwork and strategic reasoning, we don't recommend it for learning because of its graphic violence.
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 & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One scene depicts dead people hanging, their posteriors shown.
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Infrequent and mostly mild profanity, though there is the occasional "s--t."
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Products & Purchases
This game is part of a popular and long-running franchise of first-person-shooters.
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.
Is It Any Good?
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.
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Our Editors Recommend
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