Watchmen: The End Is Nigh

Common Sense Media says

Violent but philosophical brawler inspired by the film.

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game is about fighting crime and dispensing justice, though not of the court-sanctioned variety. Players go up against aggressive and obviously villainous enemies, but often against the wishes of the police and with no option to show their foes pity.

Positive role models

Our playable superheroes express different philosophies throughout the game (Rorschach is pessimistic and has a very negative view of the world, while Nite Owl is more buoyant, confident that the world’s problems can be tackled and solved through hard work and diligence), but both are clearly good guys out to fight crime and save innocent lives. That said, they use extraordinarily violent means to dispatch foes.

Ease of play

It’s a basic button-mashing brawler with in-game instructions. Shouldn’t take long for most players to figure out.

Violence

The majority of play is composed of extremely physical and bloody hand-to-hand combat. Blood goes flying in red gushes with most punches and kicks, teeth can be seen flying out of enemies’ mouths, and the sound of cracking bones accompany some of the more vicious strikes. Players can also wield weapons, such as clubs and bottles, and there are a wide variety of particularly brutal finishing moves, such as one in which Rorschach uses a crowbar to repeatedly hit an opponent in the face as he collapses.

Sex

One chapter takes place in a strip club with women dancing in cages, on stages, and in peep show booths. There are also a pair of rooms screening a pornography film showing a woman in a bra moaning and looking down at her off-screen partner. One of the characters, a blue-skinned man named Dr. Manhattan, appears nude, but not in a sexual way (his character in the novel and film doesn’t wear clothes, believing he has moved beyond them).

Language

A broad spectrum of profanity is present and frequent in the game’s voiced dialogue. Examples include "f-ck," "sh-t," and "p-ssy."

Consumerism

This game features characters found in both the Watchmen comic book and film. It will be viewed by some as nothing more than merchandising meant to take advantage of the recent publicity generated by the film’s release. The PlayStation 3 version comes bundled with the film.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Not an issue.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this violent brawler based on characters made famous by the graphic novel and film of the same name is not intended for children. The hand-to-hand combat is exceptionally brutal. Blood and teeth fly through the air, bones can be heard breaking, items like crowbars and bottles can be used to devastating effect, and slow-motion finishing moves are extraordinarily vicious. The game also features overt sexuality. Part of the second episode is set in a strip club, where scantily clad women dance in cages and peep show booths and a mild pornography is shown on a large screen. A superhero named Dr. Manhattan, who wears no clothes, appears briefly in the first episode. Be aware as well that there is strong language throughout, including multiple instances of the f-word. Note that the PlayStation 3 version of the game, subtitled “The Complete Experience” ships with the Blu-ray edition of Zack Snyder’s film, which, like the game, is geared for adult consumption.

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

Based on characters from Zack Snyder’s Watchmen film -- which was based on Watchmen graphic novel -- WATCHMEN: THE END IS NIGH is composed of two separate episodes, each of which are just as adult-oriented as their source material. These extremely violent games focus on the prime crime-fighting years of Rorschach and Nite Owl, a pair of masked heroes who use their fists -- and, in the case of Nite Owl, a small assortment of gadgets -- to tear through massive groups of inmates, bikers, strip club guards, and other shady characters who get in their way as they track down their villainous prey. Both episodes were originally released as downloadable games for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Windows PCs, but they have been bundled together for this boxed release. The PlayStation 3 edition costs about $20 more, and comes with the director’s cut of the film on a Blu-ray disc.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Watchmen, which was chosen as one of the 100 best novels of the century by Time Magazine, has been praised for its dense plot, atypically realistic superheroes, and gritty atmosphere. Perhaps surprisingly, much of graphic novel’s essence has been carried into these two games, which feature plenty of intriguing philosophical discussions between their two protagonists, one a half-crazed pessimist and the other an intellectual who believes people are inherently good.

Unfortunately, the action, composed of extremely brutal and realistic melee combat, becomes monotonous after the first couple of chapters as you face wave after wave of cookie-cutter bad guys. Plus, the bland, linear levels feel like simple and repetitive mazes. Fans of the novel and movie will likely enjoy stepping into the shoes of their favorite characters for a while, but they’ll probably grow bored before even finishing the first episode. At least PlayStation 3 owners also get a copy of the film…

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the difference between comic books and graphic novels (and their spin-offs in the world of movies and video games), and the age appropriateness of both. What is the difference between the sort content found in a comic like Spider-Man and something like Watchmen? For what ages do you think both are suitable?

  • Families can also discuss the viewpoints espoused by the game’s two leading characters. Do you identify more with the pessimistic Rorschach, who has a grim view of society and people in general, or do you agree with Nite Owl, who has an optimistic attitude and believes in the inherent goodness of humanity?

  • Do you think the age appropriateness for Watchman differs for the video game versus the movie? Does controlling the violence versus watching it make a difference?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Price:$29.99-49.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Warner Bros. Games
Release date:July 21, 2009
Genre:Action/Adventure
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Nudity, Sexual Content, Strong language, Violence (PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of Watchmen: The End Is Nigh was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byEZRASHUGEREVIEWS August 28, 2009
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
IT'S FUN.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Adult Written byREDSOX101 July 28, 2009
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Watchmen is perfect

This is quite possibly the greatest PS3 game ever. Not only does it come with the movie, but Warner finally came out with the game on disc. It's a great game. But whatever you do, play as rorshach if you like bloody violence.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written byberlline July 23, 2009
AGE
2
QUALITY
 
i think that this is good

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