By Adele Chapline Smith
NEW YORK (CNS) — The violent squad-based mobile shooter “Disorder” (NetEase) launches players into combat over nuclear weapons. Together with the game’s dark worldview, its steady blast of mayhem, though not graphic and free of blood effects, makes this an unsuitable title for kids.
In 2030, war has become the norm and a trio of factions battle one another for supremacy over a dystopian society. The Pale Knights are opposed to all social order, the Ghost Puppets are war profiteers and the Cadaver Unit is composed of dead soldiers who have been brought back to life. Players select a character belonging to one of these groups before entering the fray.
Each of the 20 characters whose identity players can assume possesses unique skills and has his or her own backstory. Anemone, for instance, is a sniper in the Pale Knights looking to follow in her father’s footsteps. By contrast, Beretta operates up-close and personal with a shotgun and belongs to the Ghost Puppets.
Through each persona, gamers are given a glimpse into the current state of turmoil. They also gradually learn about the previous society this one replaced, the history of which makes for an intriguing narrative.
What most distinguishes “Disorder” from other mobile games is the variety of modes players can experience. The options in Single Base Battle, for instance, vary the number of bases that need to be captured and secured for victory.
Olympian ULF features 100 players across 20 teams in a battle royal. Isle of Death is set in a remote prison where six five-person teams fight it out until only one remains, all while avoiding the deadly radiation on the island.
Players can join up with friends through a squad invitation or enter online matchmaking where they are paired with other gamers on their server. Parents should exercise the usual caution where such interaction with strangers is concerned.
Combat is the sole purpose of the game. And, while individual characters may have a moral compass, none of the battling blocs uphold positive values. Whereas similar games may feature warfare for a higher cause such as national security, these organizations are merely striving for power.
The Pale Knights are nihilists who benefit from unrest, the Ghost Puppets are only out to fatten their wallets, while the cohorts of the Cadaver Unit have been resuscitated solely in order to fight — a perverse version of resurrection.
There is some entertainment to be had from “Disorder.” But it comes at the price of spending time in an environment where constructive goals and upright ethics are largely in eclipse.
Playable on Android, iOS and Windows.
The game contains skewed values and pervasive stylized violence. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. Not rated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board.
Smith reviews video games for Catholic News Service.