Video game roundup: Some are naughty, others are nice

Adele Chapline Smith / CNS    |    12.17.2018
Category: Videogames


NEW YORK (CNS) -- Video games involving harmless brawls, combat on the battlefields of World War II, an adventure in ancient Greece and a tale of revenge are all in high demand this shopping season. Whether these products make appropriate Christmas gifts varies considerably from title to title.

"Super Smash Bros. Ultimate" (Nintendo)

Up to eight players can participate in this platform fighter, choosing from more than 70 animated characters and over 100 available battle stages.

"Ultimate" is essentially a goofy and cartoonish "Wrestlemania" and utilizes weapons that wouldn't be out of place in a Three Stooges short -- fists and mallets among them. It appeals to a variety of ages and tunes into nostalgic characters along with such new additions as Isabelle, the sweet and silly puppy from "Animal Crossing."

While some of the figures have skin-tight costumes, the game doesn't contain any inappropriate content, making it a great option for young children as well as adults.

Playable on the Nintendo Switch.

The game contains thoroughly stylized violence and comic mischief. The Catholic News Service classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Entertainment Software Rating Board rating is E10+ -- for ages 10 and up.

"Battlefield V" (Electronic Arts)

This first-person shooter game is set during World War II, and places players on the front lines of large-scale battles. It also plunges them into the emotional struggles of individual characters.

The global conflict is portrayed very graphically. Thus the game contains brutal depictions of violence, with characters being shot, stabbed and blown up.

Some single-player campaign missions are completely fictional, while others are inspired by historical events. The multiplayer option pits teams against one another in an effort to complete an objective. Online chat may expose players to vulgar language in this mode.

Playable on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

The game contains harsh combat violence and rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Entertainment Software Rating Board rating is M -- Mature.

"Assassin's Creed Odyssey" (Ubisoft)

The latest game in this popular series brings players back to the Peloponnesian War in 431 B.C., where they inhabit a descendant of Leonidas in a fictional account of the conflict between Athens and Sparta.

The franchise as a whole is known for its hostility toward Christianity. Yet, due to the time period of this installment, no such sentiment is on display. It also takes place 400 years before the Brotherhood of Assassins is formed, so there's no mention of their troubling maxim: "Nothing is true; everything is permitted." Bloody effects can be turned off prior to gameplay.

Players should be aware that "Odyssey" introduces the ability to romance non-player characters, however, making it possible to have sex with some of them after completing missions. While this is a troubling option, the situation is handled discreetly with no nudity or sexual activity, merely an implication in the manner of an old movie scene cutting away and leaving it up to the viewer to fill in the details.

For those grown-ups willing to overlook its negative elements, the game does provide some entertaining interaction with historical figures such as Socrates, Pericles and Herodotus. Additionally, players can visit the crumbling ruins of Odysseus' palace or the Statue of Zeus at Olympia -- one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

Playable on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

The game contains graphic combat violence, sexual elements and occasional rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is L -- limited adult audience, material whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Entertainment Software Rating Board rating is M -- Mature.

 "Hitman 2" (IO Interactive)

This latest installment of the rebooted franchise finds Agent 47 and his handler, Diana, caught in a power struggle between two shadowy organizations, with one of the villains holding key information on his past that 47 has forgotten.

Mechanically and visually, the game is well executed. It encourages curiosity and exploration of the beautifully detailed world that has been created. But the title itself should serve as a clue about its suitable audience.

As he travels to Miami, Mumbai, Colombia and other venues, 47 has the option to eliminate secondary targets in nonlethal ways, but primary targets must be killed. This can involve gory shootings and stabbings, as well as the use of poison and explosives. A completely nonlethal play-through is impossible since assassinations are unavoidable.

Playable on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

The game contains graphic violence, rough language, narcotics references and sexual comments. The Catholic News Service classification is L --- limited adult audience, material whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Entertainment Software Rating Board rating is M -- Mature.

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Smith reviews video games for Catholic News Service.
     

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