A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier is a downloadable cinematic adventure game for the PlayStation 4. The game is a tie-in to Fox's updated Planet of the Apes film franchise, telling a side story set between the events of the second and third films. Players watch the story unfold and make key decisions that direct the flow of the narrative. The story features themes of survival and family, featuring a cast of characters and choices that run the gamut of moral and sociological issues. Due to the harsh nature of the story and the conflict that's key to the universe in which it's set, there's no shortage of violence, which is brutal and bloody throughout. There's also regular use of profanity in the dialogue.
What's it about?
PLANET OF THE APES: LAST FRONTIER brings the epic war for survival between humans and apes, detailed in Fox's Planet of the Apes films, down to a more personal scale. The cinematic adventure tells the story of a small band of simians seeking out a new home and the human settlement they come across along the way. With both camps facing a fast approaching winter and food in scarce supply, does the survival of one community mean wiping out the threat of the other? Players will face tough choices on both sides of the conflict, watching the consequences of those choices unfold. It's not necessarily a solo decision, though. Using Sony's PlayLink app and a compatible Android or iOS device, players can leave each decision up to their own living room community, with up to four players voting on the course the story should take.
Is it any good?
This interactive movie tie-in looks great, but it falls flat in delivering a unique story based around your choices. When it comes to interactive entertainment like video games, there's always a question of how much control the player should have over the narrative of the experience. When it's done well, players can get pulled in as an active part of the story. Sometimes just making the effort to get from point A to point B can be enough to make players feel like they're living the role. Then there are games like Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier, which have their own story to tell and simply take the player along for the ride.
Now, the game does actually have a pretty good story, and the presentation is top-notch. The game looks and sounds like it could be right at home as a straight-to-DVD feature. The acting is well done and the computer models are extremely detailed. The problem comes with the "interactive" part of the interactive entertainment. Throughout the game, players are constantly making choices to direct the flow of the story. Bystanders can even get in on the action with the PlayLink app, voting as a group for which choices should be made. Unfortunately, those choices never really feel like they matter all that much. Instead of choices leading to truly branching plots, every road feels like it leads right back to the same place. You never feel like you're the one directing the story, but rather the story always feels like it's the one directing you. And since choosing the story's path is the only purpose the player serves, with no action elements or such to add any extra layer of interactivity, it's hard to feel any sort of investment in what's going on.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about making difficult decisions. What are some ways to help resolve problems and to get through the struggle of making tough life choices? What are some ways that talking it out with others can help? How does it feel when group decisions don't go your way?
Discuss community and family relationships. How much do we rely on those around us, and how do their personalities and decisions affect you as an individual? What are some good ways to build healthy relationships with those around you?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Imaginarium Studios
- Release date: November 21, 2017
- Genre: Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Misfits and Underdogs, Science and Nature, Wild Animals
- ESRB rating: M for Intense Violence, Blood, Language
- Last updated: December 20, 2017
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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.