A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception is a mature role-playing game (RPG). The game features frequent violence that shows some blood during combat (through sword slashes, staff attacks, and magic blasts). The game also features objectification of women, sexual references, and suggestive imagery (including partial nudity and sex-related dialogue sequences.) There's also a large focus on strong profanity (including words like "f--k" and "s--t.").
What's it about?
UTAWARERUMONO: MASK OF DECEPTION is a strategic role-playing game (RPG) for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. Players assume the role of Haku, who awakens in a hospital gown atop a snowy mountain among deadly creatures. With the help of a young and beautiful girl named Kuon, who sports animal-like ears and a tail, the journey begins across dangerous lands, where Haku and others battle enemies, form relationships, and help to add stability to the nation of Yamato. With its heavy dialogue and anime cut-scene sequences -- both of which are delivered in Japanese but with English subtitles -- much of the game plays out like a graphic novel, with an estimated 40 to 50 hours of content. (Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception is the sequel to the Utawarerumono, which never made it to English-speaking countries, but you don't need to know anything about the original title.)
Is it any good?
Players who love Japanese role-playing games laced with strategy might like this game's strong story, visuals, and music, but the repetitive combat can make gameplay boring. That said, while the battle system utilizes a familiar turn-based tactics approach -- selecting a member of your party to offensively or defensively engage with the enemy -- a unique twist comes with the Attack Chain moves, where you'll link a combination of attacks together for maximum impact. It's fun because you'll have to press buttons at the right time to trigger additional strikes with a weapon or magic, but it doesn't entirely save the combat issues, because most battles play out in exactly the same way: you'll move your party around a grid-based map, take turns, and manage your fighters' various attack ranges until you defeat the enemies in each area. Along with the Attack Chain mechanic, the progression system seems to work well as you advance your party over time, but after a while, this feels like it's all you do, reducing the interest in playing or wanting to continue on to the end. That's an unfortunate overall feeling to get, because if a story-heavy game with high production values is right up your alley, Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception will impress. But just don't expect unique or deeply gratifying battle sequences to fully sustain your interest if you don't get hooked into the tale.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the violence in Utawarerumono: Mask of Deception acceptable because these creatures are clearly unrealistic and fantastical, or does the frequent combat desensitize players to its impact?
Talk about female objectification in the game. Women are frequently objectified and sexualized in this game, but do you think that players want young girls and women to look and act like this? Would this game receive a lighter rating if it didn't have the sexual content?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
- Price: $39.99 (PSVita), $49.99 (PS4)
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Atlus
- Release date: August 10, 2017
- Genre: Role Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Sports and Martial Arts, Adventures, Friendship, Horses and Farm Animals
- ESRB rating: M for Blood, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Violence
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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.