Tamer games for the PS3
November 25, 2014 11:51 AM   Subscribe

My nephews, 8 and 11, have fallen in love with Call of Duty. Their mother isn't happy with their new love affair, but their neighborhood friends have an older brother so, what's done is done. I would like to get them one or two games for Christmas that are not quite so violent, or at least not so much realistic violence.

The boys share a PlayStation 3 as their gaming system. They love Call of Duty, they've enjoyed James Bond -- I think Golden Eye. They also play Skylanders, but the 11-year old is outgrowing that, and his younger brother is less interested in it as his brother's interest wanes. They tried Little Big Planet, but ended up returning it. They've started finishing the LEGO games too quickly to get much enjoyment out of them. They love Minecraft and Pokemon, but they play Pokemon mostly on their DS.

I'd like to get them a couple of games that could meet the following criteria (and I know almost nothing about these kind of games):

- Little to no human/human violence -- prefer no realistic violence
- Allows them to play together and with one or two other friends
- Not too frustrating for the 8-year old. They really do have to share gaming time, so it should be a game they can play together.
- The 8-year old is a slow reader, so prefer a game that doesn't have too much text-based instruction.

From reading AskMe, I wonder about Portal 2. That sounds great for my older nephew, but I worry about the younger one. Dragon Age 2 looks very neat, but it sounds very adult -- maybe too adult for them and possibly too hard for their PS3 to manage the graphics. I've thought about Skyrim, but I worry that it's too involved and adult for them as well.
posted by gladly to Computers & Internet (21 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: They also have a Wii (not Wii U), but they seem to be much more interested in PS3 games.
posted by gladly at 11:53 AM on November 25, 2014

Best answer: Na na, na na na na na na na, Katamari Damacy.

The original is available for download as a PS2 game, and there's a PS3 version that's sort of a best-of of the various Katamari games for the PS2.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:12 PM on November 25, 2014 [4 favorites]

Best answer: First, if you're buying a console game, it's designed to run on the hardware. It may have some framerate dips or tearing, but these are minor issues - no game should be unplayable for a console.

Below are some multiplayer games they may find enjoyable.

For PS3:
Portal 2 is a good option. Some of the co-op puzzles will be very tricky, but if they love Call of Duty, they should be able to handle the mechanical side of them at minimum.
Rayman Legends is a great platformer, though the later levels may be a bit frustrating for the 8-year old.
I enjoyed Puppeteer - some of the references will go well over their heads, but it's an interesting platformer with a neat art style.
Peggle is a great casual puzzle game, if they're inclined to play that.

For Wii:
Super Smash Brothers Brawl is a 2d fighting game with cartoony violence. It's also one of the best and most replayable multiplayer games for the Wii. I think it's more suitable than a CoD, at least.
New Super Mario Bros Wii was a good platformer.
posted by isauteikisa at 12:14 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Definitely Katamari Damacy

Also, my 7 (soon to be 8) year old loves Gran Turismo. Great racing game, non violent, allows for multiple players, etc.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 12:17 PM on November 25, 2014

I'll third Katamari Damacy as a great game, though I have no experience with its multiplayer side.
posted by isauteikisa at 12:20 PM on November 25, 2014

Best answer: There's a bunch of great games out there that should fit.

Do they like racing games? Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed is fantastic, multiplayer, Mario-Kart-alike.

If they really want to shoot things, *any* Ratchet and Clank game would be perfect. Guns, but very cartoony violence against mostly robots. There's a collection of the original PS2 games prettified for the PS3, and some of the later ones have multiplayer options (All 4 One, I think).

How about any or all of the LEGO games? The LEGO Batman games are some of the newest, and best examples.
posted by graventy at 12:36 PM on November 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

Racing games in general are a decent choice if they like those. I spent a LOT of time playing the most recent Need for Speed: Most Wanted and it allows players to just zoom around on the roads which is good for younger players.

I would recommend the Rayman games (Origins and Legends) as they are very fun platformers with co-op, but they may fall into the "not cool enough" valley for the older kid.

I find it hard to gauge what is "too adult" and certainly the CoD games are more violent than I would feel comfortable with for those kids. I definitely would avoid the Dragon Age games (lots of blood, some semi-risqueness). Skyrim can be quite violent as well although maybe not on QUITE the same level as DA.
posted by selfnoise at 12:37 PM on November 25, 2014

Best answer: Journey
posted by empath at 12:41 PM on November 25, 2014

Best answer: Toy Story 3 would be a great fit - it's an open-world sandbox a la Grand Theft Auto, but in the Toy Story universe.

The downloadable game "Journey" - it's one of the best games ever made IMO, and my kids were as spellbound by it as I was. I think it's a coin flip as to whether any given kid will like it, but if they do, they will LOVE it.

Unfortunately, I don't think you're going to have much luck finding something that is "like Call of Duty but kid appropriate." I would suspect the very reason they're drawn to it is because it's out of their age range, which is the story with probably every child and every game/movie/TV show ever. If they absolutely positively MUST play CoD, get them "Call of Duty: Classic," which is rated T for teen. It's a port of an older entry in the series, so it's lower on gore and profanity. Might scratch the itch and allow them to move onto the next thing.

(And as to "their neighborhood friends have an older brother so, what's done is done" - have you considered talking to the neighbor kid parents about you not wanting the little ones around when big brother is playing CoD? We had to have that exact talk with a neighbor and while he thought I was an overprotective idiot, he respected my wishes and sent my kids home whenever the rated-M games come out.)
posted by jbickers at 12:44 PM on November 25, 2014

Best answer: Portal 2 (they may not get the dry humor, but it's not raunchy or anything)
Ibb and Obb
Might & Magic Clash of Heroes
Rayman Legend/Origins
Child of Light
Hot Shots Golf: Out of Bounds
posted by melissasaurus at 12:51 PM on November 25, 2014

Madden for the PS3.
The older Rayman Raving Rabbids games for the Wii can be fun. In the original there are levels where you shoot toilet plungers at the alien bunnies.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 12:56 PM on November 25, 2014

Any sports game is good.
There are lots of great racing games
posted by Flood at 1:02 PM on November 25, 2014

They can learn a lot by playing Dark Souls II. Dying builds character!
posted by starbreaker at 2:01 PM on November 25, 2014

I'll second 'Ratchet and Clank' -- lots of action, lots of bouncing around, lots of fun.

If you don't think they'd find 'Little Big Planet' offensive (they shouldn't, but it has a real "cute kids" feel) that could be a solid choice. I've only played the first one, but it included access to like thousands of courses designed by other players and some of them were wild, referencing all sorts of things.
posted by mr. digits at 3:33 PM on November 25, 2014

Best answer: Also, my 7 (soon to be 8) year old loves Gran Turismo. Great racing game, non violent, allows for multiple players, etc.

i was obsessed with that game when i was 11. i spent so much time unlocking every little thing, and customizing specific cars to win races. i also had a ridiculous amount of fun playing against my dad and my friends in the multiplayer mode. it's not a simple, pick up and go game like katamari or something... but it wasn't too much at all for me to understand when i was in that age range. And it was definitely rewarding to feel like i'd figured stuff out.

Also, if you're going to go ratchet and clank(which i also loved at that age-ish) i'd recommend the collection version that has the older games. The old ones were really the best. It's a silly game, and all the violence is of the warner bros/stuff that would happen to plankton in spongebob stretchy wile-e-coyote type where you're like hitting mutant frogs with a wrench that explode in to clouds of gas and bolts.

Portal is also a good call. I'd even search out a copy of the "orange box" that includes the first portal, which is also a great game.(and half life 2, which is a game i loved when i was more like 14)

Really most of the games i loved at that age though were gamecube and N64 games, which all have wii equivalents. Mario kart, smash bros, mario galaxy/new super mario bros, any kirby game. It's pretty much impossible to get tired of mario kart or smash bros. like pretty much 16 years later, all my same butthead friends are still playing the new versions of those games for hours. we just had an all night smash bros party a few days ago for the new versions launch. and i loved it just as much at their ages.
posted by emptythought at 5:05 PM on November 25, 2014

I'd avoid Dark Souls 2 - not much blood per se, but it's brutal and some of the bosses are terrifying.

Give Okami a try. It's beautiful, engaging and kid-friendly.
posted by naju at 5:06 PM on November 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

My 40 year-old girlfriend and I loved the hell out of the Marvel Lego game. It offers a two-player mode. Thing is, there are lots of strange moments of counterintuitive thinking to get through scenes -- you have to build strange contraptions out of the landscape to progress -- but if your kids know how to look up spoilers online, or if you get them a game guide, they might be fine.

(Alternately, my gf and I may just be really slow-witted.)

The game is straight-up hilarious, even for adults, and offers a wide variety of characters to play as you progress.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 7:13 PM on November 25, 2014

Best answer: The unfinished swan is really neat

and as others have said, Journey. also Flower

Portal2 is awesome and should be played by everyone. It has really great co-operative levels that they can play together
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 9:49 PM on November 25, 2014

Response by poster: These are fantastic answers, and I've started a wish list now that has nine games I'd feel good about giving them that I'll share with their mother and grandmother. I think Portal 2 is a definite from me. Thank you so much!
posted by gladly at 5:39 AM on November 26, 2014

Don't feel like Portal 1 didn't age well either, it's a good lead in to Portal 2 and well worth your time if you haven't played it. But yes, Portal 2's co-op is well done. That is if it's available... I'm new to playstation myself.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:59 AM on November 26, 2014

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