A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this first-person shooter is a very violent game. But it also contains archival film from WWI and fictionalized "letters from home," which create an authenticity that keeps the carnage from feeling gratuitous. This game has an online option; Common Sense Media does not recommend online play for anyone under 12.
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What's it about?
MEDAL OF HONOR: RISING SUN starts on the fateful morning of Pearl Harbor and follows the U.S. military's conflict with Japan. The game depicts major battles of the Pacific, from the Philippines to Burma, through the eyes -- literally -- of a GI as he matures from rookie grunt to battle-hardened member of special forces. There's also a personal story here: Your brother, a fellow soldier, is taken captive while fighting by your side. Clues along the way hint at his fate -- and point to the game's next installment.
You earn medals that unlock secrets by accurately shooting your enemies.
Is it any good?
Archival film from WWII provides some powerful history (and fictionalized "letters from home" give players a sense of the era). The graphics are stunningly rendered: Carefully textured grass and shadows provide cover for stealthy advances. The sound is equally impressive; THX sound tips players off to the slightest of enemy's moves.
There's no blood or gore, but players kill sometimes hundreds of enemy soldiers on each level. A counter at the end of each level tracks how gruesomely you kill (by shooting enemies in the head, torso, legs, etc.). Ultimately, the game ends abruptly after too few missions. You can return for two-person games (against each other or collaboratively); story details disappear in this mode and gameplay gets glitchy.
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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.