A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Players use their hunting skills to protect the people of Minata, while also trying to restore balance to natural environment of Azuma. Players help people by fulfilling their various requests. Finally, there is a heavy focus on teamwork, with players able to come to each other's aid and assist in hunts.
Positive Role Models
Players are encouraged to help people in need in the village. Others in the community are friendly and helpful for the most part, working to assist the player in any way possible. That said, these characters act mainly as merchants or quest givers for player progress.
Players are given a wide range of character customization options, including changing things like appearance, race, and gender. Players can even choose their preferred pronouns for use in the game. The world of Azuma is based in many ways on feudal Japan, with most characters representing that, though a few characters represent other backgrounds and ethnicities.
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Ease of Play
The game gives players access to a range of different weapons, each with their own unique mechanics and combos to learn. Add the building element to the mix, and there's a lot to of gameplay to manage on the fly.
Violence & Scariness
Violence is a key part of the gameplay, as players hunt a menagerie of different fantasy creatures, whether it's capturing small bugs or taking down boars the size of a building. Players then finish the creatures with a flourish, either by carving resources from smaller creatures or pulling off cinematic final blows against large boss creatures. Despite the violence, though, there's no blood or gore shown onscreen.
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Products & Purchases
The game supports extra paid content, including cosmetic and other content available for purchase separate from the base game.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking alcohol and getting drunk is referenced at various times in the game's story. One particular character, a veteran hunter, is often shown either drunk or talking about going for a drink.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Wild Hearts is a fantasy action role-playing game, available on the Xbox Series and PlayStation 5 consoles, as well as Windows based PCs. Players use an arsenal of unique weapons and skills to hunt huge creatures that threaten the ecological stability of the land, as well as the survival of the people living there. Combat is a core part of the gameplay, with players hacking, slashing, and shooting at the massive beasts. Despite the constant flow of violence, there's no blood or gore shown onscreen. Parents should be aware that there is an online multiplayer option that allows players to call out for assistance on quests, potentially teaming them up with other random players.
Is It Any Good?
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that's true, then Wild Hearts would best be described as a gushing love letter to Capcom's hit Monster Hunter series, with a bit of a flirtation to Epic Games' Fornite tossed in for good measure. From the sprawling landscapes to the diverse arsenal of weapons to the massive beasts you're called on to hunt, everything feels like it would be right at home in a Monster Hunter spinoff, albeit a streamlined one. The number of weapons available in Wild Hearts is surprisingly small, though each one feels completely unique from the others, with plenty of distinct tricks up their sleeves to master. Where Wild Hearts really stands apart, though, is through the use of Karakuri. These mechanical devices can be built out of thin air on the fly, providing players with all sorts of ways to change the course of battle. Face to snout with a raging boar? Craft a bulwark wall for cover and stop its charge. Or maybe piece together a repeater crossbow to ding it for damage and distract its attention. The use of Karakuri opens up a slew of monster slaying options.
Wild Hearts' streamlined gameplay and controls put a lot of focus on the action. Attacking Kemono creatures has more of an arcade-like hack and slash feel. Whether sliding underneath a massive beast or striking from on high after launching from the high ground, the key to victory is a constant ballet of move, build, strike, dodge, wash, rinse, and repeat as needed. And if you find yourself in a particularly tough fight, calling in some extra help from fellow online hunters is a breeze. Even so, keep in mind that, unless you've specifically partied up with a couple of friends, you never know who will join your hunt. You might gel like a well-oiled hunting machine, or your team could fall apart like a scrapped Karakuri. Finally, while the game is generally inviting and fun, it still feels a bit rough around the edges. Technical glitches sometimes rear their ugly heads, such as Kemono getting temporarily stuck in or on Karakuri constructs or cutscenes and voiceovers getting out of synch. These aren't game breaking, but they do make for the occasional hiccup in an otherwise polished hunting experience.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.