A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the extreme violence and gore in this game make it an adults-only affair. Anomalies tear bodies apart, characters and animals bleed profusely when shot, and chunks of flesh fly freely when hit by more powerful attacks. It is possible to shoot others in the head, which results in a reward during multiplayer gameplay. This game offers online play, which Common Sense Media does not recommend for anyone under 12.
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What's it about?
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: SHADOW OF CHERNOBYL takes place at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, where an army of zombies spawned by the 1986 disaster is bent on destroying humanity. You're a \"Stalker,\" a freelance mercenary, and your goal is to stay alive long enough to recover rare artifacts with magical properties to sell to the scientific community, military agencies, and anonymous collectors. With the money you accumulate, you can buy better weapons, ammunition, equipment, and protective suits to be worn in areas with extremely high radiation levels. You can consume artifacts, too, but each comes at a price: The gelatinous Slug artifact, for example, can drive out radiation and nourish you, but it also makes you extremely susceptible to thermal, electric, or chemical injury.
Is it any good?
Because of its creepy atmosphere and disturbing creatures, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is billed as a "survival shooter" game, combining elements from the "survival horror" genre. You will also experience stealth games, role-playing games, and tactical-action games. With the latter, you can go it alone or work with computer-controlled allies to solve the non-linear mission objectives. The game's artificial intelligence is quite good.
The single-player game boasts more than 60 hours of gameplay, not to mention multiplayer modes for up to 32 players online. Because of its many missions and modes, chilling atmosphere, and interwoven role-playing elements, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. won't disappoint fans of first-person action games. Just be sure to take notice of the game's "Mature" rating (for players age 17 and older) because of its intense violence and gore.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this game is purely science fiction. While it takes place at Chernobyl, years after the real-life nuclear disaster there, you are primarily shooting radioactive creatures and other baddies. Why do you think producers chose to use a real-life disaster as the setting? With mature teens who play this game, you may want to discuss what happens to people and vegetation near a nuclear accident or bombing.
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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.