What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Light is a downloadable stealth infiltration game with minimal violence. The action is viewed from a top-down perspective, and all characters are represented by glowing squares. Players have the option of killing other characters -- including civilians, which is a bit troubling -- but death simply causes a square to lose its glow and stop moving. There's no blood, gore, or violent animations of any sort. Despite the characters' depiction as simple squares, some have personalities, including the protagonist, whose goal is to take down an evil corporation that's performed medical experiments on him. But his initially sympathetic and courageous character may be tarnished if players choose to kill innocents.
What's it about?
LIGHT begins with the player's character waking in a room with no memory of who he is. Through notes found in the environment, he soon realizes he's been the subject of a corporate experiment that has left him with a ruined memory. Escaping the room, he works to discover what's been done to him and to bring down the corporation behind it. Each level is presented top-down, almost like looking at a blueprint. Walls and furniture are depicted via glowing white-line drawings, creating a futuristic vibe. The characters appear as simple squares with dots in the middle. Each character type has its own color: Guards are red, your hero is bright blue. The player's goal is to make it to each level's exit, avoiding guards, collecting files, unlocking doors, and switching off security cameras along the way. Run into a guard, whose vision is represented as a cone of light stretching before him, and you can try to escape, ducking around corners and going through doors to lose him. You also can choose to kill him, but this will start a level timer counting down to the arrival of reinforcements, lowering your score and potentially making the level a lot more difficult to complete.
Is it any good?
It's easy to fall for Light's look and feel. The blueprint-like levels are beautifully designed, and the powerful electronic soundtrack conjures the scores of Hollywood spy films. The action is appealingly simple. The WASD keys move your little square hero around, and the Q, E, and 3 keys perform actions such as opening doors, hacking computers, and putting on disguises that make you harder to spot.
And yet it's not quite satisfying. Part of the problem is that the story feels threadbare, ending before it's even begun. It merely scratches the surface of some interesting ideas, including the brain's capacity to store vast amounts of information. The reason it doesn't dig deeper can be chalked up to the game's curious brevity: It can be finished in less than an hour. Level scoring means a modicum of replay value exists for players who want to spend time trying to find the most efficient way through each level, but they'll be in the minority. Light is a fun and pretty little game. It just needs more…well, more of everything.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in media in games like Light. This game includes killing -- both bad guys and civilians -- but doesn't actually show any violence. Does this graphically mild depiction meaningfully change the effect of virtual killing?
Discuss the role of corporations in our world. Some corporations are larger and wealthier than some of the world's governments. Should this be cause for concern? Do you think most corporations are capable of holding back their capitalist interests if earning profits causes harm to people?