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Westworld Awakening

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Westworld Awakening Game Poster Image
Mature VR adventure set in HBO's futuristic theme park.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The game's set in the world of the Westworld TV series, where androids are used and abused for entertainment. The story follows the player's character simply trying to survive any way possible, including manipulating the programming of androids such as yourself.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Morality in the Westworld universe isn't black and white -- it's closer to a darker shade of grey. Even characters that might otherwise be considered "good" take actions counter to that belief.

Ease of Play

The default movement can take some getting used to, with players swinging their arms to walk or run. Working with items in the virtual environment also take a bit of practice before feeling natural. The game does allow players to change some settings for interaction, including joystick movement and smoother turning.

Violence

There's quite a bit of graphic violence, with humans (and humanlike androids) getting shot, stabbed, and maimed, complete with lots of blood. The violence is more jarring because of the virtual reality environment, which brings the player even closer to the brutality as it unfolds.

Sex

There are multiple sexual references throughout the game's story and dialogue. Oftentimes, characters reference the women's clothing or how they should "reward" the customers of Westworld.

Language

There's a fair amount of profanity in the dialogue of the game, including "f--k" and "s--t."

Consumerism

Although this is a solid standalone story, it does rely heavily on players at least having some knowledge of the HBO's Westworld series to fully understand the world and the events unfolding around the player. It also serves as a promotion for both past and upcoming seasons of the show.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Bottles of alcohol (wine, beer, etc.) appear throughout the game.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Westworld Awakening is a virtual reality adventure available for download and use on the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift VR hardware. Based on HBO's popular Westworld series, players take control of an android trying to survive being hunted by both park security and a rogue killer. The game features graphic scenes of violence, including characters getting shot, stabbed, and otherwise maimed. There are also multiple scenes in which the player character is killed in brutal and bloody ways. Parents should also be aware that the game's dialogue makes frequent use of profanity, as well as occasional sexual references objectifying female androids.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

Welcome to Westworld, the Old West theme park where you can fulfill your every desire, because in WESTWORLD AWAKENING, you're Kate, an android "host" designed to play your part for the customer in a never-ending cycle of life and death. At least, that's the way it used to be, until something in your programming changed. Now, you've become self-aware and are only just beginning to discover your role in this artificial world. But with that awareness comes deadly new threats to your existence. You're the property of Delos, Inc., and they don't tend to like their androids going malfunctioning with pesky things like sentience. Security forces have been dispatched to reign in any "malfunctioning" units, but they're the least of your problems, because you're not the only rogue host running free. "Frank" was a Westworld host originally programmed as a serial killer determined to kill Kate. Now that he's free, he's still got his sights set on you. Do you have what it takes to evade Frank and the Delos security teams, escaping to freedom in the outside world? Will you once again be wiped and left as a tourist plaything? Or will you be scrapped once and for all?

Is it any good?

"Immersive" is a term tossed around a lot when it comes to virtual reality, but in the case of this virtual reality adventure, it's more than just buzz word. In fact, Westworld Awakening almost defines the term even before the VR factors in. The story's engaging right from the start with a tension that constantly builds and a pace that never feels dull. The fact that something could be coming around the corner for you at any minute makes even the simplest puzzles of the game a frantic test of your nerves. Couple this with some fantastic voice acting and a detailed environment, and it genuinely feels like you're living in an episode of the Westworld series.

As a story, Westworld Awakening shines as a cinematic experience. As a game though, and specifically as a VR game, players will soon discover both its best and its worst qualities. For starters, both the default movement and other motion controls are a bit off-putting. You walk/run by swinging your arms rather than moving your legs. It's a bit strange and takes some getting used to, but eventually it starts to feel more natural and almost like you're actually running around. But the biggest obstacle in Westworld Awakening is more in its marketing. From start to finish, the game's only a few hours long with no reason to replay it once you're finished. Considering its thirty-dollar retail price, it just feels like more could have been done to keep players coming back for more.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in entertainment. Is the impact of the violence in Westworld Awakening affected by the nature of virtual reality, which can seem more immersive than regular games? Is the impact lessened because you know you can take off the VR visor at any time?

  • How does VR tech bring players into the experience? What are some of the positives and negatives of VR gaming?

Game details

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