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Path of the Warrior

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Path of the Warrior Game Poster Image
VR beat 'em up packs a punch with over-the-top fun.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Although players are technically the heroes of the story, they're basically just beating up anything and everything in their way. In this world, there's not a problem that can't be solved by simply punching it.

Positive Role Models & Representations

There are no real role models here. Much like the classic beat 'em up games that Path of the Warrior parodies, there's not much in the way of character development, and the main point of the story is to give players an excuse to punch and kick their way to saving Rage City.

Ease of Play

The controls are relatively easy and intuitive, with punches, kicks, and throws all being executed smoothly. The difficulty comes in maneuvering to face down the waves of foes before getting overwhelmed and pummeled.

Violence

The game features a steady stream of beat 'em up action, with players using punches, kicks, throws, and objects to pummel enemies. Although the violence is constant, there's no blood or gore shown onscreen, with defeated foes simply disappearing from the screen.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some characters are shown with alcohol and players can also interact with things such as beer taps and the like.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Path of the Warrior is a virtual reality (VR) first-person action/fighting game for Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift. It parodies the classic side-scrolling beat 'em up games of the late '80s/early '90s, dropping players into the experience fighting waves of enemies with well-placed punches, kicks, and throws. The game's violent by design, with characters duking it out using a variety of melee attacks and weapons. But in spite of the up-close and personal nature of the violence, there's no blood or gore shown onscreen. Instead, enemies get knocked or thrown around and simply disappear from the screen when defeated. Parents should be aware that some of the game takes place in a bar, with characters carrying drinks and players able to interact with the beer taps, mugs, etc.

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What's it about?

PATH OF THE WARRIOR takes gamers on a VR-fueled parody trip down memory lane to the back alleys and bad streets of old school beat 'em up staples from the heyday of '80s and '90s arcades. Welcome to Rage City, a place where the local gangs have all joined forces under the leadership of the mysterious crime boss, Mr. S. Now, the city streets are flooded with gang members, ninja, and homicidal clowns, leaving the citizens cowering in fear of being strapped to explosive devices and held hostage in randomly inconvenient hiding places. With the police force overworked and Rage City under siege, it's up to you and your street brawling prowess to beat down this crime wave and foil Mr. S's plans for good.

Is it any good?

Back in the late '80s and early '90s, arcades and consoles were filled with cheesy, over-the-top beat 'em up games like Double Dragon, Final Fight, and Streets of Rage. While the legacy of these games might live on in some modern brawlers, none put that nostalgic action in your face quite as much (or as literally) as Path of the Warrior. The game drops you into the sleeveless jacket and fingerless gloves of a streetwise hero as you fight your way through wave after wave of ever more ridiculous thugs in ever more ridiculous settings. Yet as bonkers as the action gets, it never strays far from the absurdity of the original games it's making fun of.

While Path of the Warrior might be poking fun at the old school beat 'em up games, it still manages to capture every bit of the appeal those titles had to offer. There's no problem that can't be punched (or kicked) away. Street gangs attacking? Punch 'em. Doors locked? Punch 'em. Ticking time bombs need to be defused? Don't waste time cutting wires … just punch 'em! Sure, it's a bit repetitive after a while. And yet, the controls are quick, smooth, and responsive. Plus, there's always so much to interact with, you can't help but get fully immersed in the experience and lose all track of time. It's not a deep or a long game. And it certainly isn't a complex one. But what Path of the Warrior does offer is a path that's paved in pure, unadulterated fun.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in Path of the Warrior affected by the lack of blood and gore in combat? Would the impact be intensified if there was more realistic imagery as a consequence of your actions?

  • What are some of the ways that video games have changes and evolved over the years? How do today's games still draw inspiration from the classics of the past?

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