A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ruiner is a downloadable near-future sci-fi action game full of violence, blood, language, and suggestive themes. The hero is a faceless mercenary type with a female assistant who flashes her naked lower half if the player scores well in a level. Religion and nightclubs are combined in a sadomasochistic "church" run by sexy women. Players rack up scores by creating chains of kills and plowing their way through waves of human fodder. Enemies are shot, stabbed, burned, and electrocuted; blood splatter is constant. Characters are seedy, and dialogue is peppered with words like "f--k," "s--t," and "goddamn."
What's it about?
RUINER is set in the year 2091 and stars a sociopathic vigilante bent on finding and saving his kidnapped brother. Its focus is violence. You're asked to shoot, stab, and incinerate your enemies on the way to dismantling a massive mind-manipulating corporation. Experience grants you Karma, which gives you social and economic privileges and allows you to upgrade your cyberpunk skills. Intense combat alternates with gritty narrative sequences.
Is it any good?
This mature game is one of the most uniquely challenging action-adventures of 2017. At first it seems like your run-of-the-mill shooter, but then a surprising twist kicks the proverbial rug out from under you, and you're swept into a dark sci-fi tale of corruption, mind control, and economically sanctioned murder. As you can tell from its themes, Ruiner isn't for the squeamish. It's not a "feel-good" game. But it is a challenging top-down shooter with clever writing and loads of style. Unlike other shooters with a role-playing game element, Ruiner doesn't force you to commit to certain skills; it lets you swap them at any time. In fact, it encourages you to do so if you're having a bad time with a particular boss. The point is to learn -- to discover what works against a certain enemy or in specific situations and to alter your strategy accordingly. Yes, it can be frustrating at times, even on Easy difficulty -- perhaps too frustrating for some players. But if you're up for a challenge, enjoy a good anime-style sci-fi story, and are in the mood to feel like a cyber street-tough, you couldn't do better than this.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about different visions of the future. Is your vision of the future positive or negative?
Think about how technology can be used to control people. Can you think of ways technology controls us today?
Discuss the idea of revenge. Is it ever right to take the law into your own hands?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love sci-fi action
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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.