Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Planet of the Apes: Last Frontier Game Poster Image
Good story marred by choices that lead nowhere.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Features running themes of survival, family. There are a number of choices that the player (and their friends via PlayLink) can make, following a variety of moral, sociological paths.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters run through nearly every shade of moral spectrum. Some are more sympathetic, caring, while others are almost cringeworthy in their harshness, cruelty. All have same singular goal, though: survival for themselves, their clan.

Ease of Play

Not a lot of traditional action, though lots of A or B style choices to be made with a quick input on a controller or, in the case of PlayLink, tap on a smartphone. Some occasional connection issues with PlayLink, but nothing too bad.

Violence

Central focus of story is a harsh look at battle for survival between two groups, and that battle is brutal. Plenty of violence, blood, using everything from makeshift weapons to military grade firearms.

Sex
Language

Profanity used throughout dialogue as a natural part of conversation.

Consumerism

Based on Fox's updated Planet of the Apes film franchise, set between events of second, third films. References to events of films peppered throughout story, serving as a sort of advertisement for franchise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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.

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Adult Written byLolidoli July 1, 2018

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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?

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