Reviews of Controversial Video Games

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This article reports, not endorses or recommends, what’s hot
with preteens. 

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Playstation All-Stars Battle
Royale
-This epic fighting game stars 20 of the
system’s most beloved characters, including Sackboy from Little Big
Planet, Ratchet & Clank, Kratos from the “God of War” series,
and PaRappa the Rapper. Despite the dark, twisted, and violent
games some of these characters come from, this should be a
teen-friendly title. (Rated T; PS3)

Far Cry 3-The third game in this
series is an open-world, first-person shooter. Players are stranded
on a set of remote islands and must try desperately to escape from
crazy inhabitants. There’s lots of killing, violence, and mental
instability, so please don’t let your kids play this one. (Rated M;
Xbox 360, PS3, PC)

Halo 4-The next installment of this
incredibly popular franchise sees the return of Master Chief. It’s
to be the first of a new trilogy of games set in the universe.
Despite the M rating, most blood is of the alien variety, and the
games are generally less violent than similar shooters. (Rated M;
Xbox 360)

Hitman: Absolution-If the distasteful
prerelease trailer is any indication, this will be sacrilegious,
violent, and not-for-the-kiddos. The agent you play has been
betrayed, lied to, and manipulated, and it’s a good guess that the
way he’ll try to get out of this cycle is through more violence.
(Rated M; PS3, Xbox 360, PC)

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Resident Evil 6-This long-running
franchise has moved away from its scary, survival-horror roots
toward more action-with some scary elements. Publisher Capcom
promises this game will be a combination of the two styles. Stuff
that remains, though, includes blood, gore, language, and nudity.
Rated M; Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Assassin’s Creed III-The third game in
this popular franchise is set during the American Revolution. While
the graphics, details, and gameplay are excellent, the series takes
every opportunity to bash the church-specifically the Catholic
church. It doesn’t just attack corrupt people within the church but
paints the entire faith as corrupt. Rated M; PS3, Xbox 360, PC, WII
U

Ratchet & Clank-This game collects
three classic Ratchet & Clank games-fully remastered-in one
place. They’re fun, clever, and mostly teen-friendly platformers.
Some titles are full of innuendo: Up Your Arsenal, Going Commando,
etc. (Rated E10; PS3)

Borderlands 2-This first-person
shooter has a unique cel-shaded art style, plus technology that can
create thousands of different gun combinations when you kill bad
guys and loot their stuff. It also has foul language and lots of
gore. Don’t let your kids talk you into this one. (Rated M; Xbox
360, PS3)

New Super Mario Brothers 2-Super Mario
Brothers is a genuine classic, and Nintendo makes sure its most
creative people work on the venerable franchise. This is sure to be
a great game. (Rated E; Nintendo 3DS)

Darksiders 2-You play as Death-one of
the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse-trying to undo Armageddon. This
game mixes all sorts of mythologies and tries to imagine heaven and
hell as “playable” areas. With angels, demons, blood, and guts, we
advise steering clear. (Rated M; multiple platforms)

Lollipop Chainsaw-This game is getting
a lot of buzz, mostly because the main character is a scantily
clad, zombie-hunting cheerleader. So it’s a mixture of
objectification and extreme violence-exactly what teenagers should
not be exposed to. (Rated M.)

The Walking Dead: The Game-This title,
based on AMC’s hit TV show, is being released in episodes
throughout the next year. Just like the show, though, the game is
incredibly violent and bloody. (Rated M.)

LEGO Batman 2: DC Heroes-The very
clever LEGO games are good, clean fun, while still being a
challenge. The whole family can play this game together. (Rated
E10+.)

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future
Soldier -This third-person, cover-based shooter finds a team of
soldiers using cool new gadgets and technology to track down the
people responsible for detonating a bomb. It’ll have a co-op
campaign as well as multiplayer mode-and lots and lots of pixilated
violence. (Rated M.)

Minecraft-This game revolves around
one simple principle: survival. It’s split into day and night
cycles. During the day, players gather resources, search for ore,
dig holes, fish, and plant crops. Players spend the nights indoors,
mining underground tunnels, building tools, and being chased by
monsters. What makes the game unique is the elaborate structures
people have built-including the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the Taj
Mahal. Minecraft is a springboard for ingenuity and creativity.
(Rating pending.)

Max Payne 3-This gritty, run-and-gun
sequel is now being handled by Rockstar Games, the same studio
behind the violent “Grand Theft Auto” series and Red Dead
Redemption. The series is notable for its “bullet-time” sequence,
where time slows down and you can see bullets tear through enemies.
(Rated M.)

Kinect Star Wars-This is just the type
of game we’ve been waiting for since the Kinect was first
announced. You can swing a lightsaber, ride on speeder bikes, and
use the Force on enemies by making the movements in real life.
Kinect and Star Wars fans hope this game is as awesome as it
sounds. Rated T for mild language, mild suggestive themes, and
violence.

Xenoblade Chronicles-The Wii has very
few games of any length or depth-especially RPGs. This game boasts
100 hours of play. If it’s like most Japanese RPGs, it will have a
confusing and mostly nonsensical plot but immersive gameplay and
lots of monsters to fight. Rating is pending (probably T).

Mass Effect 3-The first two games in
this role-playing series were at the top of nearly every Game of
the Year list when they came out. So this third game has big
expectations behind it. A commander of a starship and his motley
crew of aliens must save the entire universe from a deadly and
seemingly unstoppable ancient race. (Xbox 360)

Twisted Metal-This sequel to a classic
game is all about vehicular combat and mayhem. Unique and crazy
cars and drivers fight each other in arenas using various
weapons-including the cars themselves. Four players can play local
on a split screen, and up to 16 people can play online. The game is
rated M for violence, blood and gore, and language. (PS3)

SSX-EA reboots its hugely popular
snowboard franchise this month. Players will tackle some of the
craziest mountains in the world with big tricks, helicopter drops,
and avalanches to outrun. This game will be full of family-friendly
fun. (PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360)

Mario Party 9-Speaking of family
fun,Mario Party 9provides a bunch of different games to play
together-some competitive and some cooperative. This game will also
work great in a youth ministry setting. (Wii)

Excerpted from ParentLink – Children’s Ministry Edition.
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