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 25th Ward: The Silver Case is a mystery adventure game for the PlayStation 4 and Windows PC. It's also the sequel to The Silver Case, continuing the story five years after the events of the first game. The story is a dark murder mystery with a number of psychological elements. There's a fair amount of blood and brutality in the game, with bodies piling up as the story unfolds. The game's style is that of a gritty noir tale, complete with mature dialogue that includes plenty of profanity, attitude, and sexual innuendo.
What's it about?
It's been five years since the tragic events of The Silver Case rocked Ward 24 to its core, and THE 25TH WARD: THE SILVER CASE expands the story as a new set of mysterious events begin to affect Kanto's seemingly idyllic 25th ward. The facade of tranquility begins to fall apart when a strange murder is discovered in a popular high-rise apartment complex, with a crime scene covered in blood and a body with no apparent wounds. That's just the start of the carnage, though, as more bodies begin to turn up and more secrets start to unravel. Patterns emerge from seemingly random events, and pieces of a grand puzzle fall into place. But can the society of the 25th ward survive the truth?
Is it any good?
This adventure returns gamers to a gritty murder mystery, but the convoluted plot and technical issues manage to ruin the game experience. If there's one thing that can be said for game producer Suda51, it's that his games are definitely unique -- his Grasshopper Manufacture studio has been the driving force for some dark and quirky titles, and The 25th Ward: The Silver Case is no exception. Being a sequel to the bizarre visual novel The Silver Case, The 25th Ward follows suit with a similar comic book-ish art design and surreal storytelling. There's a lot of dialogue to sort through, some with key story elements and some a little more than attitude and atmosphere. The problem is, you have to pay attention to all of it, or else you might miss one tiny, seemingly unimportant detail that pops up later as a vital bit of information. Making things more frustrating is that none of it seems to make much sense, even as the pieces of the story end up falling into place. It's a confusing mess that you almost feel forced to play through multiple times just to see if it makes any more sense a second or third time around.
While the confusing story is the most frustrating issue with The 25th Ward, it's far from the game's only problem. For starters, the game's art style isn't exactly pushing any boundaries visually. Put bluntly, it looks dated and bland. The gritty, noir setting has no life or personality. It's just plain boring. This is all exacerbated by poor controls that feel clunky and unresponsive. None of this actually breaks the game or makes it unplayable, but none of it really encourages you to play it, either. The game is essentially a mess from start to finish that, at its best moments, still leaves players scratching their heads and trying to sort everything out.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in media. What are some ways that violence in TV, movies, and games can affect a younger audience? Does the presentation, such as showing a body versus the active killing of someone, make a difference in terms of the impact?
Discuss things like the legal system and due process. Why do we value the legal system we have in place? How would a system like that in The 25th Ward (with law enforcement serving as judge, jury, and executioner) affect society in the real world?
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