A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Falconeer is a downloadable aerial combat game for the Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Windows PCs. In it, you use guns to attack enemies and ground targets, and your bird bleeds when hit by enemy attacks. But unlike real birds when they fight, yours doesn't use its beak or claws, and thus doesn't rip or tear enemies in bloody and gory ways. Controls should be familiar to gamers used to other aerial combat games, btherwise, there's no objectionable content in the gameplay.
What's it about?
THE FALCONEER is an epic fantasy tale in which you play a warrior who sits astride a giant bird, and together you defend the land. When traitors kill The Empress, it's up to you to not only avenge her, but to also cleanse the land of pirates and others who would challenge the Empire. To do this, you have to shoot down enemy bird pilots, as well as other aircraft, while also locating and taking out ground targets. You also spend a considerable amount of time flying around the large, open world, which is mostly water with just a few scattered islands, looking for your enemies.
Is it any good?
While aerial combat games can provide seat-of-your-pants action when done well, this one isn't nearly so exciting. In The Falconeer, you pilot a giant bird into battle against other warbirds, as well as ground-based targets, all in the hopes of restoring the Empire to its former glory. Flying around an open world -- which is largely water but with a small smattering of islands -- you engage in mid-fight fights, shooting at other giant birds and aircraft. You can even pick up mines and drop them on targets, though this requires a subtlety that your bird doesn't always have. It's still pretty nimble, even if you do need to juice it up by picking up speed to do barrel rolls.
While there's fun to be had when you're going mano-a-mano -- or should that be birdo-a-birdo -- those moments are not a frequent or as frantic as they could've been. They're often preceded by long stretches of flying. That's also assuming you went the right way. Not only is your bird easily distracted, and will often veer off course, but unlike most aerial combat games, this one has a static navigation map, and can't be changed to reflect your new objectives when you turn. Though even when you do finally arrive at a fight, you never feel like you or your bird is in any real danger. Warbirds never use their claws or beak to scratch or peck each other, and the bad guys sometimes just give up and fly away. That's why this is fine if you're looking for a relaxing flight, but if you're looking to mix things up, sorry, but The Falconeer is kind of for the birds.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in The Falconeer affected by the fact that you're shooting birds and not their human pilots? Does it matter that the people may not survive the fall when you take out their bird?
In The Falconeer, your character is driven by revenge, as well as a sense of duty, but is revenge a reason to do something? Can't it backfire when the person you're getting revenge on -- or their friends and family -- come to get revenge on you?
- Platforms: Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Wired Productions
- Release date: November 13, 2020
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Wild Animals
- ESRB rating: T for Blood, Fantasy, Violence
- Last updated: September 30, 2021
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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.