monster hunter

Can My Kid Play Monster Hunter: World?

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Can My Kid Play is a series of helpful guides for parents that dive further into the ratings and content of video games. We do not pass judgement, instead providing insight and information so parents can make their own informed decisions.

What is Monster Hunter: World?

Monster Hunter: World is a third-person action-RPG where players customize their hunter and set off on a new world to hunt gigantic monsters, such as dragons, dinosaurs, and toothy fish-creatures. Hunters can swap between 14 different weapon styles, each with their own signature playstyle and moves, and upgrade their weapons and armor by using parts earned from hunting and capturing monsters. The game supports up to four players hunting monsters together in online co-op.

What platforms is it available on?

Monster Hunter: World released in 2018 on PC (Steam), PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. A major expansion pack, Iceborne, recently released in September 2019, and is available for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and coming later to PC. Monster Hunter: World does not feature cross-platform play, meaning friends will need to play on the same system to play online together.

Note that Monster Hunter: World is not available on Nintendo Switch. There is another Monster Hunter game available on Switch, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, but it’s an HD port of Monster Hunter Generations, originally released for handheld gaming device Nintendo 3DS in 2016.

What is the ESRB Rating?

Monster Hunter: World is rated T for Teen with the following descriptors: Blood, Mild Language, Use of Alcohol, and Violence.

monster hunter: world

What is the overall tone of the story?

Although players spend much of their time battling giant monsters, the tone of the campaign is one of discovery, knowledge, and research. Hunters are tasked with exploring each new region of the New World and invariably hunting and fighting all its native inhabitants, in the hopes of tracking down rare and powerful beasts known as Elder Dragons.

The New World has a seemingly unlimited supply of creatures to hunt. Hunts are generally seen as culling herds or protecting the colony rather than exterminating species. Quests occasionally give the option to capture creatures rather than kill them.

What is the level of violence?

Fighting giant monsters is the primary task, and though blood is listed as an ESRB descriptor, Monster Hunter: World is not a gory game. The violence level is closer to a comic book film, or a PG-13 Godzilla or Pacific Rim to be more thematically appropriate. Swords slash, hammers bash, and teeth chomp, but hunters and monsters alike get smacked around rather than bloodied and torn apart.

The Blood descriptor primarily comes from one of the regions, the Rotten Vale, which is one big elephant graveyard for monsters, full of bone piles and blood pools.

Visually the monsters don’t show much wear and tear during a fight with a few notable exceptions. Many monsters have severable body parts, such as horns or a tail, though they’re never accompanied by blood or gore. When heavily damaged, monsters will indicate they’re near death by limping and whining as they attempt to retreat back to their home turf.

Hunters won’t get very far without carving out monster parts they need after the hunt. The actual carving is done as abstractly as possible, with hunters kneeling down with a knife, then popping back up with the part.

What is the level of alcohol and/or drug use?

Hunters have the option to drink at the canteen in town. Eating a meal before a hunt boosts the hunter’s stats. Additional ingredients, including alcohol, can be earned by completing optional quests.

What is the level of adult language?

Language is generally mild, with characters spouting the occasional “damn” or “pissed off” during story cutscenes.

What is the level of sexual content or themes?

There is no sexual content at all in the story. The player character can be male or female, as can any hunter, with the only difference being the voice lines and the way each armor set looks. Armor is heavily stylized fantasy armor, ranging from full-body plate mail to midriff-exposed spiky bikinis for women.

What is the level of online interactivity?

Monster Hunter: World can be played entirely in single player, but is notable for allowing up to four players to join forces and hunt monsters together. As a purely cooperative game, players can easily interact via the pre-built phrases, or often not need to interact at all as they hunt together. Friends can join together by forming friends-only squad sessions.

What else do parents need to know about Monster Hunter: World?

Unlike most video games, Monster Hunter: World cannot be paused. This can be a major issue as many hunts can take between 30-60 minutes to complete, and time is a factor in every hunt. “Just one more mission” can be a lengthy undertaking, and quitting out early results in almost no rewards.

Monster Hunter: World is also a very long and complex game, with an almost unending supply of monsters to hunt and gear to upgrade. The main story alone easily takes over 50 hours, and more than likely much longer with all the side quests and missions to gain better gear. Each weapon style features advanced combos, and every monster requires experience and observation, as well as quick reflexes and weapon knowledge, to successfully take down. The result can be frustratingly challenging but also very rewarding.

Parenting Hero App Adds New Scenarios

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Parenting Hero is a mobile game app designed to help parents deal with common child-raising challenges through illustrated scenarios. The app originally launched last year on iOS and Android. This week the app received an update that added two new scenarios, bringing the total to 17.

The scenarios in Parenting Hero help teach parents how to communicate with their children by identifying their feelings and resolving conflicts by role-playing through certain situations. The scenarios are guided by over 1500 illustrations. The writing is based on the guide book How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7 by Joanna Faber and Julie King.

Specifically the app helps parents encourage children, set limits, and use praise while avoiding the pitfalls of bribery or punishment.

Parenting Hero was developed by award-winning Polish studio MythicOwl. The app is available now on iOs and Android for $2.99.

 

Fortnite

The Parents’ Guide to Fortnite

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Shove over, Minecraft and Pokémon GO, there’s a new gaming phenomenon in town. Over the last year Epic Games’ Battle Royale-style shooter Fortnite has become one of the most popular games on the planet.

Even if you’re not a teen or the parent of a teen, there’s a good chance you’ve at least heard of Fortnite. But what is it exactly? Is it okay for younger kids to play? How much of it is online interaction? What does Battle Royale mean? Read our Parent’s Guide to Fortnite for answers to these questions and more.

What is Fortnite?

Fortnite was developed by Epic Games, the makers of Gears of War, and first launched in Summer 2017 as a paid Early Access title. The plan was to allow people to pay to jump in and play the game in an earlier, beta testing state, while transitioning the game into a free-to-play title supported by paid loot boxes in 2018.

The game was actually much different than the popular version that everyone players today. It was originally a cooperative tower defense and action game. Up to four friends and online players could jump into games together and select a map with an objective. From there everyone ran around collecting loot while building bases and defending against waves of enemies.

The action was light-hearted and reflected the cartoony art style, but the gameplay was mediocre and repetitive. Read our Early Access Preview.

What about Battle Royale?

“Fortnite” technically refers to two separate game modes, which have since evolved into two distinct games: Fortnite: Save the World and Fortnite Battle Royale. The original tower defense game mode became known as Save the World when Fortnite Battle Royale was released.

Last year PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) was heating up as an extremely popular online game, featuring a Battle Royale free-for-all.

fortnite battle royale

Battle Royale is a subgenre of competitive online shooters and action games. It takes its name from the 2000 Japanese film in which a class of teenage students are captured, dropped onto an island, and forced to kill each other to survive. Think government mandated Lord of the Flies. Or The Hunger Games.

In video game terms, Battle Royale games drop their players (both PUBG and Fortnite use 100 per server) onto a large island. Everyone starts empty-handed and must quickly scavenge for weapons and supplies. A shrinking circle keeps everyone close together, and if you die, there’s no respawning. The last player (or team) standing is the winner.

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds popularized the concept, but Epic Games applied it to Fortnite, creating an entirely separate free-to-play game mode called Fortnite Battle Royale. Now when anyone refers to Fortnite, they’re most likely talking about Fortnite Battle Royale. Fortnite: Save the World still exists, but lacks the popularity of its PvP sibling.

It’s free to play? Can players spend money?

Yes and yes. Fortnite Battle Royale was launched as a completely free-to-play game, and it’s available on PC, Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, as well as mobile devices.

Fortnite is primarily supported by its seasonal Battle Passes (in Battle Royale) and random loot boxes (in Save the World). The Battle Pass allows players to unlock a series of cosmetic loot rewards, such as new outfits and parachutes. Players can then either earn them through playing, or pay more money to unlock them faster. Think of the Battle Pass as an optional subscription service, each one costing about $10. Players can also buy cosmetic items directly from the shop.

Loot Boxes have come under fire in the gaming industry as a controversial form of gambling. In Fortnite’s case, all of the purchasable items and loot are cosmetic only, leading Fortnite to be considered one of the less insidious free-to-play games.

Many consider Fortnite to be an example of free-to-play done right, and players can easily enjoy themselves in the game without spending a dime. That Rangarok outfit sure looks cool, but it confers no actual in-game bonuses or advantages. It just looks cool.

Note that consoles and mobile devices have parental controls allowing you to disable in-app purchases.

fortnite

What about the rating? Is it okay for kids to play? Is it Online only?

Fortnite is rated T for Teen by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. The primary gameplay involves eliminating other players, but the action, like the art, is very cartoony and stylized.

The Battle Royale mode is technically a bit less scary than the original Save the World incarnation, as it lacks the hordes of cartoonish monsters. On the other hand it’s all too easy to be eliminated quickly, through no fault of their own, and be left spectating for the rest of the match. Fortnite is highly competitive, and like any competitive match, can bring out both good and bad qualities.

As an inherently online game, it’s saddled with the typical toxic chat channel that plagues many online games. There’s no voice chat at all in solo mode. Text chat be be turned off in-game, but there’s no parental lock for it. The general consensus is for kids to be at least 13 before venturing into any online game.

Note that the other popular Battle Royale game, PUBG, has a Mature rating and features more realistic visuals and depictions of violence.

Is it okay for my kid to watch others play Fortnite?

As a highly competitive, tense game, Fortnite is increasingly popular as a spectator sport. In the growing age of YouTube, Twitch, and constant live streaming, Fortnite’s popularity for streamers is undeniable.

But this question is more about YouTube and Twitch culture than it is about Fortnite specifically. Find out which streamers your kids are watching and do a bit of research into their personality and their video content. Most streamers are charismatic and entertaining for young people (and quite skilled at the game), but some have unsettling videos or toxic beliefs that they readily impart on impressionable viewers.

Currently the most popular Fortnite streamer is Ninja (neé Richard Tyler Blevins), who has risen in popularity along with Fortnite itself, becoming the most popular streamer on Twitch with nine million followers. Ninja is sponsored by Red Bull and has helped raise money for charity, as well hosted celebrities on his Fortnite stream.

Fortnite Battle Royale

Are my kids playing too much?

The primary concern about Fortnite isn’t tied to the game itself, but how much time kids and teens are devoting to it. To much of any activity, to the exclusion of anything else, is a bad thing, and that can include gaming.

With Fortnite it may be easier to set limits on matches rather than a set time. An average Fortnite match takes about twenty minutes, and players aren’t going to want to stop playing in the middle if they’re still alive. Thus “one more match,” may be easier to dictate than “10 more minutes” when setting time limits.

Fortnite continues to grow in popularity, recently surpassing an astonishing 100 million downloads on mobile devices. It’s not going away anytime soon, but with a little understanding it needn’t be so worrying.