A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Shadow of the Beast is a downloadable action game that's very violent; you hack and slash your enemies to pieces, painting the floor with their blood. Armed with spiked hands that make you look like Wolverine, you slice and dice your way through dozens upon dozens of creatures, all of whom will smack you to death given half a chance. The game also features disturbing imagery in the designs of the bug- and lizard-like creatures, as well as the hero, who looks like one of the aliens from Aliens with a big freaky grin on his face. Controls are simple, but game difficulty could frustrate some players.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
In SHADOW OF THE BEAST, you play as Aarbron, who doesn't remember that he was kidnapped as a baby and mutated by magic to be a warrior. But when his memory returns, he lashes out and tries to kill his master, Maletoth. Injured, Maletoth grabs a baby before running back to his underground lair. It's up to Aarbron to chase Maletoth and stop the evil lord, both as an act of vengeance as well as to save that little kid.
Is it any good?
Though it's violent and bloody, this remake of a 1989 cult classic will appeal to fans of 2-D, side-scrolling, hack-and-slash action games both old and new. Well, not too new; Shadow of the Beast isn't for anyone who hasn't been alive for 18 years and maybe not even more than that if they're disturbed by weird-looking creatures slicing up other weird-looking creatures while blood splatters everywhere. It's also not for someone looking for a simplistic arcade game or something super easy. Players only have 10 health points at any given time, and while you can restore your health through various means -- including by doing a special killing move -- that may not help given how your enemies will attack you from all sides. The game also has you using your hand spikes to climb up and slide down cliffs and has you using switches and teleportation portals to figure out how to get past obstacles before time runs out and everything resets. It's just too bad some of the big, bad bosses you fight are so easily defeated or that the game's penchant for awarding you points distracts from the engaging story. What's cool about this version is it not only includes the original game and a modified version of the original that has unlimited lives but also the option to play the new game with the old game's music. Shadow of the Beast will appeal to action fans looking for a challenge, with a healthy dose of the strange.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in games. Is it OK to kill some people if you're trying to save someone else? What if that someone else is a baby, and you're trying to save them from being enslaved?
Talk about history. Shadow of the Beast is a remake of a game from 1989, but how have games evolved over the years? Are there any other old games you'd like to see new versions of?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment
- Release date: May 17, 2016
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Robots
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence
- Last updated: March 16, 2020
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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.