A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game has a lot of violent and sometimes frenzied action, but it's free of blood and gore. The main characters are represented as caricatures of animals, making the violence less realistic. Nonetheless, the main goal is to kill as many enemies as quickly as possible. Finally, repetitive motion injury could be a real concern -- much of the game involves pushing the "fire" button rapidly for extended periods of time.
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What's it about?
Quick reflexes and a muscular trigger finger are a player's best friend when it comes to beating STAR FOX: ASSAULT. Fighting in space and on foot, players assume the role of Fox McCloud -- the dashing, long-running hero of the Star Fox series of games. Fox, along with the Star Fox Team, his band of other commandoes-for-hire (their mercenary status doesn't factor into the gameplay), is once again called to the defense of the once peaceful Lylat solar system. This time, the enemy is the Aparoids -- evil insect robots that threaten to destroy the galaxy. Gameplay is split in two different styles. In some parts, players are able to freely fly or run around, taking on enemies wherever they find them -- similar to Doom 3 or Halo 3. But in other parts the action is strictly guided and the player must fly along the game's preset path, targeting and then blasting as fast as they can press the fire button. These portions of the game can become intense, with wave after wave of enemies and obstacles coming at the player at a frenzied rate.
Is it any good?
Several factors make the game more kid-friendly than typical first-person shooters. Star Fox: Assault has a lot of violence and impressive explosions, but it is relatively free of blood and gore. It also helps that all of the characters are portrayed as animals, which allows some additional distancing between the violence of the game and reality. Finally, the game rewards friendship and loyalty -- players often are called upon to help other team members.
But parents should remember that the game's main goal is still to kill as many enemies as possible in the shortest amount of time. In fact, repetitive motion injury is actually a serious concern, considering how intensely and frequently players need to press the "fire" button. While there isn't any profanity, there's some relatively innocent trash-talking between the good and bad guys. This kiddy-cocktail version of a shooter is successful in its mission and provides an entertaining and action-packed adventure for the pre-teen/teenager crowd, but parents should be cautious before letting their youngest children play.
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