Tabula Rasa

Game review by
Dwight Odelius, Common Sense Media
Tabula Rasa Game Poster Image
Battle for survival in a hostile alien world.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Hundreds of available quests have various themes, but most involve helping the good guys. Players are confronted with ethical dilemmas at key plot points; decisions can have ramifications later in the game.

Violence

Action-shooter violence with blood, alien goo, fiery explosions, and a variety of alien and human weaponry.

Sex
Language

Varies due to online interaction. The game provides an easily circumvented profanity filter. Missions also include light profanity.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Occasional reference to stimulants. One early mission has players decide whether to help a character distribute stolen medicine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that combat is an integral part of this massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) -- players kill alien monsters with advanced weaponry and powers. The plot lines venture into ethical gray areas, sometimes with no clear right or wrong. Last but by no means least, online interactions can vary widely; there are few restrictions on what players can communicate. A monthly subscription fee of $14.99 is required to play the game.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

TABULA RASA is a fast-paced science fiction combat game with a philosophical bent. \"Tabula rasa\" means \"clean slate\" in Latin, a reference to the game's hook. In the game world's not-too-distant future, humankind has been wiped from the face of the Earth by aliens known as the Bane. Forced to flee to a new planet and start anew, humans learn to harness the power of LOGOS (a Greek term variously translated as \"word\" or \"essential meaning\"); as players accumulate this knowledge, it's recorded in their LOGOS tablet -- their \"tabula.\" LOGOS powers allow players to cast the science-fiction equivalent of magical spells to attack enemies and heal allies.

Whatever its intellectual origins, Tabula Rasa is an easy game to play: Just point at the alien and click to shoot; a standard keyboard layout controls movement. The game has an auto-aiming feature that helps players lock onto enemies. Players can also duck behind trees and walls to reduce the damage they take from alien fire. Combat is fairly violent, with aliens dying in a splash of goo and muck. Player damage is represented with subtle but noticeable splashes of blood

Is it any good?

Tabula Rasa's storyline is well-crafted, carried along by a variety of interesting mission objectives, which can include escorting a character through a war zone, collecting supplies, or taking out hostile aliens. Some missions require players to make difficult ethical decisions, which can have repercussions later in the game.

Tabula Rasa includes another feature unique to MMOGs: character cloning. In most MMOGs, if players want to try out a new character class, they have to go back to the beginning and start from scratch. In Tabula Rasa, players have the option to make a copy of their character(s) while they try out a particular path. If it doesn't end up tickling their fancy, they can use their clone to go another way without starting the entire game over.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the game's ethical dilemmas. What are the possible outcomes of their decisions? Is there a clearly right or wrong answer? What behavior truly makes a person bad or good? Families can also discuss online safety and etiquette. Why shouldn't you give out personal details online? Is everyone always who they claim to be? What effect does online anonymity have on people's behavior?

Game details

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