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 is a first-person shooter in which players blast their way through hordes of aliens, many of which are animals or robots. The game features some violence against human-like enemies, mainly in the multiplayer modes, but there is no gore or graphic death animations. Parents should also be aware that the game has a significant online mode; Common Sense Media does not recommend online play for anyone under 12.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
METROID PRIME: HUNTERS is a first-person shooter that combines elements of adventure and action games. In the single-player game, players immediately find themselves exploring familiar territory as interstellar bounty hunter Samus Aran. Players can expect the classic Metroid dynamics of backtracking through ever-expanding regions and scanning elements of the world as they piece together a story about a mysterious vanished civilization.
The action is set in the standard locales (ice world, fire world, abandoned space station) and consists of a mix of exploration and shooting. The DS's touch screen is used to look around and aim, while the directional pad moves players and a shoulder button fires weapons. This control scheme takes some getting used to, but after an hour or so of play, it starts to feel natural and, surprisingly, more precise than console shooters that use a dual-thumbstick controller.
Is it any good?
Samus' world is rendered in smooth, flowing 3D, with only a few slowdowns when the action gets furious. Stylish menus on the touch screen make switching weapons a simple matter of tapping and dragging. The game world is sometimes dull -- there is only a handful of enemies, who are repeated). But battling the rival bounty hunters who pop up throughout the game provides a nice break from the routine.
Although the single-player portion feels a bit warmed-over, Hunters shines in its multiplayer modes, which stars the hunters. Like most of the DS's Wi-Fi games, the multiplayer mode is best when playing with friends. Hunters provides great first-person shooter action for up to four players, including variations on deathmatch and king-of-the-hill. Overall, the multiplayer action is some of the best on the DS, and the innovative controls will likely be copied by future shooters on the system.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about video game violence from a first-person versus third-person perspective. Are games more immersive in a first-person perspective? Does it make a difference if the violence is directed at non-human rather than human enemies? Families should also discuss online etiquette.