10 Most Violent Video Games of 2013 (and 10+ Alternatives)

Ultra-violent video games get a lot of attention -- but there are plenty of less-violent alternatives that kids will enjoy playing just as much (if not more). By Common Sense Media Editors
10 Most Violent Video Games of 2013 (and 10+ Alternatives)

Among teen and preteen gamers, the names of violent video games travel fast. And before you know anything about these games, your kid wants to play them. It's difficult to stay on top of it -- and it's even harder to know exactly what's in a game in order to make an informed decision about whether or not to buy it. (Check out the most violent video games of 2016.)

Of course, many video games can provide enriching experiences and learning opportunities. But with ultra-violent video games, the negatives clearly outweigh any positives for kids. (Read Media and Violence: An Analysis of Current Research for an assessment of the studies measuring the effects of media violence on kids.) Complicating the issue is that many ultra-violent video games are actually technically superb -- which is why many games that we label "not for kids" receive five stars for quality on Common Sense Media.

But here's the thing: Violent video games may get a lot of attention, but there are always less-violent alternatives available. If your kid is asking for a game you've never heard of, consider your options.

No parent wants to say "no" all the time. So we've rounded up 10 of the most violent video games out there -- explaining the details that put each one on our list -- as well as more than 10 that you can say "yes" to. Our reviewers play literally thousands of hours of video games a year -– they know games inside and out.

But we're not trying to be sensationalistic, which is why we're offering less-violent alternatives. Our alternatives include three categories: less-violent games in the same genre as the violent game listed, less-violent games with a similar theme, and less-well-known but still great titles that play on the same system.

(If you want zero violence in your kids' games, check out our list of nonviolent video games. And check out our list of Engaging Alternatives to Ultra-Violent Games, too.)

Without further ado, here's the list:

  • Saints Row: The Third: This story about rival gangs revels in actions both depraved and violent. In an attempt to push the M-rating envelope, the game encourages players to go out and do bad things to innocents. They can take chainsaws to enemies, resulting in tons of blood and chunky flesh. They can drive into people with vehicles and use weapons including pistols, shotguns, grenades, rockets, and swords to destroy both enemies and innocent civilians. Players can also kill police. Plus the game boasts sexual imagery, drugs, and profanity.
    Alternative action/adventure games: Mirror's Edge, Batman: Arkham City, Skylanders Giants, Minecraft.
  • Dead Space 3: Not only do you kill thousands of alien creatures using an assortment of weapons, but they can also explode into red chunks, rip in half, catch on fire, and be dismembered and decapitated. The heroes, too, can die a dramatic death in slow motion, including being cut in half or decapitated. You'll also see execution-style murders and suicide. As with the two earlier installments in this series, Dead Space 3 is an extremely violent, bloody, gory, and scary action game.
    Alternative sci-fi game: StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm
  • Hitman: Absolution: Players become a cold-blooded assassin in this extremely violent game that features tons of blood and lots of gore. As a hit man, you use a number of different guns, knives, and explosives (and your bare hands) to snuff out targets. Occasional slow-motion attacks dramatize the action. You can acquire a sniper rifle and take out targets with "head shots" or by activating a mode that lets you tag targets with time standing still -- and then you see each character bite the bullet once you resume the action. The online "Contracts" mode encourages gamers to create and share their own custom assassination challenges. This M-rated game also has drug use, profanity, and partial nudity.
    Alternative action/adventure game: Infamous 2
  • God of War: Ascension: This game is a nearly nonstop series of intensely graphic, highly visceral combat scenes involving a wide range of fantastical beasts. Few games feature blood-soaked battles with more severed body parts or spilled innards. It's gory enough to make even media desensitized grown-up gamers occasionally whistle in disbelief. Players use sharp-edged melee weapons -- chain blades, swords, and spears -- as well as blunt weapons like mauls and hammers to not just kill, but also eviscerate their enemies. The game also carries some mature sexual themes and the game's protagonist is so vengeance obsessed that he kills just about every creature he comes in contact with.
    Alternative PS3 games: Portal 2, Injustice: Gods Among Us
  • Gears of War 3: Using weapons including machine guns, grenades, and chainsaws, you'll shoot, slice, and stomp on alien creatures that explode. The game shows fallen humans displayed with plenty of blood. Players earn "Rewards" for creative killings, and they can perform a finishing move on an alien that results in a gory display (including crushing skulls, dismemberment, or decapitation). All of this violence is coupled with loads of profanity.
    Alternative sci-fi action games for Xbox 360: Star Trek, Lost Planet 2, LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga
  • Dead Island Riptide: This very violent and gory zombie shooter has players destroying, dismembering, and beheading tons of zombies using a wide assortment of weapons -- both range and of the melee variety -- and they can also stomp on the undead's head (with a dense splash sound). Images of dead body parts and hanging bodies can be seen in this game, which is designed to scare. The game is also laden with very strong profanity and sexual references, and players can drink to get drunk.
    Alternative zombie games: Plants vs. Zombies, Teenage Zombies: Invasion of the Alien Brain Thingys, Plants vs. Zombies Adventures
  • Shadows of the Damned: In this visceral, bloody game filled with sex jokes and intense profanity, players assume the identity of a demon hunter who blows apart countless demons while having to watch his girlfriend die over and over again in disturbing and ghastly ways as she's tortured in hell. Players use a variety of upgradeable fantasy weapons -- including a handgun that shoots bones and an automatic rifle that fires teeth -- to dispatch hordes of nonhuman demons. Blood and gore are a part of every kill. Crimson coats the environments, and limbs explode in a shower of guts. Demons often engage in self-mutilation, with one pulling out and eating its own beating heart. Players can restore their health by chugging hard liquor.
    Alternative action/adventure games: BattleBlock Theater
  • Darkness II: In this extremely violent game, players take on the role of a heartless mafia boss who kills hundreds of people and beasts throughout the game. The game fuses traditional weaponry -- such as rifles, pistols, and swords -- with the unique supernatural ability to kill enemies using "Demon Arms" that can tear someone apart. Players can rip out hearts, remove spines, and decapitate people and creatures. Blood and gore are seen often, sometimes with dramatic finishing moves, and enemies scream in pain. The game also shows sexual acts performed (though there's no nudity) and has drug references, and players can hear very strong profanity.
    Alternative first-person action game: Portal 2 or first-person puzzle game: Quantum Conundrum
  • NeverDead: Intentionally over the top, NeverDead's 500-year-old demon hunter can break apart and survive. Players will see him ripped apart limb by limb and then watch his body parts roll or hop around to reattach again. Gamers can even roll his disembodied head into hard-to-reach places. Bizarre and extremely violent, gory, and bloody, this game isn't for young eyes -- or for anyone with a weak stomach. You shoot or slash enemies into red pulp using a variety of guns and swords. Cut scenes show some of the extreme violence in slow motion, including impalement and beheading. Demons scream out in pain when defeated. Plus, there are close-up camera shots of female body parts and some profanity.
    Alternative demon hunter game with less violence: Dungeon Siege III
  • Call of Duty Black Ops II: This gritty, extremely violent military first-person shooter (pictured above) involves constant killing using realistic weapons, with blood and gore pouring across the screen during more intense scenes. Cinematic sequences can be even more dramatic and graphic, with soldiers and civilians alike dying in horrible ways, including graphic melee kills, people burning to death, civilians killed in crossfire, torture, and a shipping container filled with rotting corpses. In one scene, the player steps into the shoes of a villain and goes on a murderous rampage against soldiers, the screen turning red with blood rage as he takes damage. This M-rated game also has frequent profanity, some sexual themes, and drug use.
    Alternative PS3 game: Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch or less-violent co-op combat game: Guardians of Middle-earth

Compiled by Common Sense Media's expert game reviewers, who play thousands of video games a year and contribute reviews to USA Today, National Post, AARP, and Yahoo!, as well as Common Sense Media.

Do you think violent video games are OK to play, or do you just say no?

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Comments (155)

Teen, 15 years old written by FourTec

They forgot GTA XD. Really Mirrors Edge instead of Saint Row, where did they pull this from.
Adult written by TM 1

This list, although I of course understand, after all as a parent why else would I be here. is absurd. your alternatives are NOT alternatives that would bring any satisfaction to the situation. Perhaps you do not understand the meaning of the word alternative, which would seem to mean similar yet not "as much". you cannot call a cup of spinach an "alternative" to chocolate cake even they are both FOOD. For instance you mention dead island....my son loves zombie shooters and your alternative would be a waste of money...an alternative would be Left 4 Dead 2 , both are zombie shooters, but where as DI is 10 times as violent and includes many other adult only things, L4D2 has only a bit of bothersome foul/harsh language (and not to the really bad bad combinations of some of them that many games have), no sexual references, no nudity, no sexual situations yet is pretty violent but not to the outrageous extent as dead rising and Dead Island which is the point. THIS would be an alternative to a parent looking for a shooter that satisfy's there child's likes without looking like an "out of touch idiot" to your own child by offering them Lego star wars instead. Come on, you really need to get parents who are GAMERS to help you choose alternatives to these games when you make these lists, because in all honesty, these are no help at all. (Even though your list is true, the alternatives are worthless and of no help. please consider asking or using parents who are actual gamers in the creation of your alternatives lists.
Teen, 15 years old written by RyanL 1

This list is awful, going from stealth Hitman Absolution to Infamous 2? Who made this? This is awful. God of War to Portal.............. Did you even play any of these games. Oh this games first person, so is this one. PERFECT ALTERNATIVE! Just, fire them or never let them do video game's again.
Teen, 15 years old written by K-Daugg100onPS3

I know i'm late for typing this but honestly, this list sucks I've played almost every game on the list. Some of them aren't even that bad but they aren't the best. Call of Duty is where it's at but i just don't agree on the game itself, yeah it has Zombies so what big deal a lot of games have Zombies too not just Bo2. Dead Island has Zombies running around a freakin island for crying out loud, It needs to show how the disease got out rather then someone getting drunk in the first game then waking up to a Zombie apocalypse. My opinion...
Teen, 13 years old written by AC718

Honestly, a terrible list. The alternative games are nothing like the originals. The 3D 1st Person Action Survival Horror of Dead Island is the same as the Simple 2D Plants vs. Zombies. Then I smack my self Arkham City is alternative game for a open world crazy insane crime fest when AC is a serious stealth game. Then they list Hitman Absolution, a stealth game, AC is not a alternative the cover based shooter with parkour were you don't care if your seen. Hitman is about not being seen and killing only the target (1 person) Infamous is about being seen and killing all the bad guys. Terrible, a gamer obviously did not do this list, they would know adventure can mean wildly different things, they need to play every single one of these games and then they will see how different they are, and for god's sake could not Google gameplay footage, put some effort in.
Teen, 13 years old written by AC718

Honestly, a terrible list. The alternative games are nothing like the originals. The 3D 1st Person Action Survival Horror of Dead Island is the same as the Simple 2D Plants vs. Zombies. Then I smack my self Arkham City is alternative game for a open world crazy insane crime fest when AC is a serious stealth game. Then they list Hitman Absolution, a stealth game, AC is not a alternative the cover based shooter with parkour were you don't care if your seen. Hitman is about not being seen and killing only the target (1 person) Infamous is about being seen and killing all the bad guys. Terrible, a gamer obviously did not do this list, they would know adventure can mean wildly different things, they need to play every single one of these games and then they will see how different they are, and for god's sake could not Google gameplay footage, put some effort in.
Teen, 16 years old written by Dr. Crazyeyes

In all honesty, this list was not all that accurate, there are much worse titles out there. I am honestly quite surprised by the fact that Outlast, as a very gory, disturbing game, didn't make the list. Most of the games on this list were moderately violent, but not anywhere near the worst. Also, I must note, just like others here have posted, the alternatives are utter trash, you simply can't compare Dead Island to Plants vs. Zombies, they are completely different titles with completely different genres, they only share one thing, zombies, and even those are quite different. That's my two cents.
Kid, 12 years old

this is a pretty inacurate list. I saw a game on youtube called deadpool, and I did not know you would see someone hanging from their guts, so, yea. Commonsense media doesnt really have all the games that are popular online, for example, Garry's Mod (which they would probably say nfk for just plain blood) but then they have apps that no-one has ever even heard of. This was probably a confusing comment, and I can understand that.
Teen, 13 years old written by Whiggle

Grand Theft Auto V came out in 2013 right? Why is it not on this list? It is a lot more violent than ALL of these games. I have played these games (and GTA V) and feel that I have pretty good authority to say this.
Teen, 13 years old written by alexlikaboss

I'm sorry, but these games just don't match up. Saints row is replaced with minecraft, or even mirrors edge!? Guardians of middle earth instead of black ops? And about half of these games have multiplayer, if I'm not mistaken. The kids will want to play with their friends, not on games not even remotley close to the one they asked for. Don't disappoint your little ones this Christmas: either buy them the game they want, or buy them something else this year.
Teen, 13 years old written by 3dblaster

This may actually be the dumbest thing i have ever read. EVER. Dead space is similar to starcraft because there's outer space in it? Darkness 2 is close to portal 2 because they're both sequels? And dead island is close to P vs Z because they have zombies in them? This list is broken. I can offer a fix: Saint's Row-Mercenaries (similar but less violent) Dead Space 3-System Shock 2 Hitman-Uhhh...i got nothing. God of War-World of Warcraft Dead island-Day Z Shadows of the Damned-Nothing Darkness 2-Nothing Neverdead-Dark Shadows 2 Black Ops 2-Team fortress 2, Modern Warfare 1, Bad company series
Teen, 13 years old written by AC718

read my mind, how hard would it be for these people to Google gameplay they make millions they can give 20 bucks to a group of 12 year gamers and they'll do it better than this
Teen, 14 years old written by jplp0439

Look, this is so exaggerated. In no way, is Dead Island like Plants vs. Zombies. Bioshock infinite is not on this list at all, but is WAY more violent than all of these things combined. Kids will only want to play these more just because of what you said. Parents, my tip to you is to watch gameplay or go on IMDB and find the parents' guide for that game. Decide for yourself, and do NOT listen to these self-proclaimed morons.
Teen, 13 years old written by Verdigris Heart

Honestly, this article made me wince considerably. Someone who wants to play Saints Row probably doesn't want to play Skylanders, and I don't see the similarities between SR & Minecraft. Somone who wants to play Gears of War probably wouldn't bother with Lego. Riptide and plants vs Zombies might both have zombies but they're not good alternatives.
Kid, 12 years old

a friend of mine said you can turn off everything like blood, guts, and language. He is not sure about language, but positive about the blood and guts.(COD black ops) EDIT: I spent the night at his house. we played COD black ops 2. I didn't see any gore, and there should be the original black ops. (but Half-Life 2 is kind of graphic and has disturbing zombies, so it should be like; #10)
Kid, 12 years old

oh, and minecraft instead of saints row the third? you don't really have the option to kill innocents other than villagers (aka "caveman squidwards") in minecraft.
Kid, 10 years old

just like to say, if you think the games above are violent, then you have probably never experienced the likes of Carmageddon If you are willing to see such game then please copy and paste: http://www.carmageddon.com/
Teen, 16 years old written by 9999g99

Call of Duty World at War has more violence than Black Ops 2, and I am well suprised that there is no Manhunt in this list.
Teen, 17 years old written by ovrcookedfunion

How is Manhunt 2 not here? That was one of 3 games to go over the "M" rating! It was even banned in quite a few countries, even taken off the market until the censored version came out.
Teen, 14 years old written by MrHauska

Some of these "alternatives" have nothing to do with the genre, or gameplay. Here's my version: Gears of war: "Transformers: War for Cybertron." Call of Duty: "Goldeneye: Reloaded." Saints Row/GTA: "Mercenaries 2/Lego Marvel Superheroes." I fixed the list for you.
Kid, 12 years old

Now we're talking sense! I'm twelve years of age and nearly every person in my school has been horribly corrupted by violent games. I hate thos games. I'm a person who still plays Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda and the like--I like those games. Violent games with close-up violence and gore make me sick...and all those kids at schoolmake me and the other kids who still play "Kid games" very uncomfortable.
Teen, 14 years old written by roborvisci

Just because you play games like CoD or GTA doesn't make you "horribly corrupted". However, I am glad to see SOMEONE still plays the Nintendo classics. Also, Common Sense Media should really at try and start reviewing games off Steam, like FNaF, or Gary's Mod, which are, in my opinion, creepy as heck.
Teen, 14 years old written by ChubbyJuan

I think this article is largely missing the point. If anything, the only violent video games that are really worrying, or that could have a genuine effect are the ones that are close to reality. Horror styled games where you kill zombies, monsters, beasts etc. are too far from reality for kids to want to be violent in real life situations. If anything, it's good, the person playing is a human and they are attacking the evil. However, the video games that are going to have negative effects of aggresion on youngsters may not even be violent, but portray situations similar to that the person could actually be in. Bully the game is a great example. I believe that despite this game being no where near the level of violence of games such as gears of war or dead space, it is going to have a much more negative effect on youngsters as it is a situation or role that they could easily put themselves in.
Teen, 16 years old written by Lucasso

You're making the common mistake that a lot of people made when this game first came out, that being that you're judging strictly by its cover. Everyone seems to ignore that you're actually STANDING UP to the bullies in this game, and any attempts to fight with any of the other friendly AI (female students, elementary students etc.) is immediately punished by the game's school version of police-the prefects. Yes, you can get into fights with some non-bully classmates, but this behavior is meant to be avoided because, like in real life, they will gradually begin to dislike you and eventually refuse to help you with certain tasks or aspects of the game that would be extremely helpful to you. Besides all this, the game is portrayed in a very goofy, cartoony fashion, with the groups of classmates being modeled after school stereotypes (ie. Nerds, Jocks, etc.). Tell me, what would you rather kids played: A grim, violent shooter like Call of Duty where you gun down hundreds of enemies who's character depth from a story perspective goes as far as "they're from another country, kill them", or a rich, open-world game filled with fun, relatable characters and a protagonist who's trying to do what's right.
Teen, 14 years old written by tom hanks

My Review: Saints Row the Third is basically the same thing as grand theft auto. Although inappropriate diffenitely not one of the top ten most violent games. Dead Space 3: Never Played Hitman Absolution: Never Played God of War Ascension: Never Played Gears of War 3: Has a graphic content filter and with it on is not one of the most violent games. Dead Isand Riptide: Never Played Shadows of the Damned: Never Played Darkness 2: Never Played Never Dead: Never Played. Call of Duty Black Ops 2: I play this game frequnt;y and it is bloody and has sex. With graphic content filter all of that is taken out.
Teen, 14 years old written by roborvisci

If you truly played CoD: Black Ops 2 frequently, then you would know that there is minimalistic SUGGESTIVE themes in it. No sex. I have played this game since it came out, and I have never come across sex.
Teen, 17 years old written by erabous

You know making a list of games that you shouldn't play will only make people want to play them more.
Adult written by bd812

A neuroscientist doctor i know has done extensive studies on the effect of violent video games on the human brain. Guess what? NO ONE should be playing them. They change the neurological pattern of your brain and cause you to become desensitized to violence and killing. It also shrinks your hyppocampus. It also leads to very violent behavior and has been the link between most of the school shootings. If you love life, stop the insanity. STOP PLAYING THEM!
Teen, 14 years old written by 7thcell

Well, this list I find lacking in actually violent games (except for Dead Island that one's pretty bad.) I believe this is a result of not doing research and just believing these were the worst. Call of Duty Black Ops 2 is nowhere near the level of violence in games such as: Postal 2, Lucius, or Soldier of Fortune. The alternatives are also messed up. I think that the box art and theme made them alternatives rather than the gameplay. Such as: starcraft 2 has space, therefore it is like dead space; or Plants vs Zombies has zombies and an E10+ rating making it perfect for the kid who's friends got to play a first person shooter, but then the alternatives start to make no sense such as: Darkness 2 is like portal 2 because... it... has co-op? And Gears of War 3 is like a Lego game because they're both games where you and a friend can cut off the limbs of aliens? To put it kindly it doesn't make much sense. Also Saints Row the Third should have alternatives that actually have open world gameplay in them Batman may be fine, but I have a hard time calling mirror's edge: "like saints row" Overall this list is very flawed and should be updated with actually violent games!
Teen, 14 years old written by TeamPlayer101

I strongly agree! I feel as if the list was purposely flawed just to piss kids off, either that or they are having great trouble finding alternatives to these games that received a descent rating. And if i may add, i could easily find descent alternatives to these games: Call of Duty Black Ops 2 - Battlefield Bad Company Dead Island - Minecraft of The Last Stand Union City Dead Space - Lost Planet 1-2 or … i got nothing Gears of War - 007 Blood Stone, not the greatest but it is a tps with blood, team style multiplayer and bloodshed. Saints Row the Third - Just Cause 1-2 Yes i borrowed from them a little but they did okay with a few alternatives. Please reply Yours Truly From one human to another and another if you happen to share this bonvettrè valomishçe greetings good tidings from . . . me
Teen, 13 years old written by IcarusBen

For Miyamoto's sake, Dead Space and Starcraft aren't even the same genre! Dead Space: Survival horror TPS Starcraft: Isometric RTS They aren't even on the same console (Dead Space, PS3, Xbox 360. Starcraft, PC) And Gears of War to Lego Star Wars? Lego Star Wars isn't even a good game! Although, Gears of War isn't a good one either.
Teen, 16 years old written by 09philj

Sometimes I get the feeling some people have never played the games they're talking about. Saint's row: Only Arkham city or Assassin's creed is a good alternative I've played. Dead Space has no imitation as it is designed to be a horror experience. Never played hitman. God of war could be replaced by any devil may cry (or maybe dust) (Why is portal 2 there?) Any Call of duty can be replaced by any Halo game. What is a really excellent all around experience (and highly moral) is the mass effect trilogy.
Parent of a 8 and 11 year old written by trickymom

I read this article as written for parents of 10 and unders. Here's how it's helpful to me as a parent: 1) Older brothers and sisters who are allowed to play a game let younger sibs play too when parents not around. 2) Different parents have different standards and pay different amounts of attention to what kids do. 3) Kids are different and have different tolerances for violence. So, I tell my sensitive, imaginative kid "when you're at X's house, you're not allowed to play Y." I might even tell the parent that. But maybe my other kid can handle it. As for which game to substitute, if you're talking about elementary school age kids, a lot of them are easily manipulated into thinking another game is cool, especially if they don't have to buy it with their allowance. (Again, assuming older sibs don't tell them they're playing a "baby" game.) For me, this review was helpful. For middle school and up, sure, nitpick over the details, but again, think "free game paid for by mom or dad" vs. "game I had to pay for myself from doing chores I hate."
Teen, 14 years old written by roborvisci

I don't know about your kids and their friends, but my 11 yr-old sister wont even play some of these games even with my PARENTS permission, and the same goes for most of my friends and their siblings. Also, I think many games me and my sister pick out are cool, even though we either buy most of the games ourself, or our parents buy it, and we pay our parents for the game. However, I do agree with you on number 2, most parents don't pay much attention, mine not included. This list is pretty messed up. No offense meant, by the way.
Teen, 15 years old written by Daroa

You are kidding right? Like your kid, and assuming it is a male, then why would they listen to you about not playing a violent video game? You mise as well lock them in a cage and force feed them too. I was playing GTA 3 when I was no older than your 8 year old and nor any younger then your 11 year old. I don't go around jacking car's and killing people on the streets because of a video game, and if anyone does do that than they must be completely incompetent or utterly stupid. I'm not saying that you should buy Dead Space 3 for a kid as old as they are but you should reconsider and research further into what you want processed into your kid's head. And this review is absolutely horrible, in fact so horrible that it is the worst by far. None of these games are anywhere near similar in any way, shape or form. Some of these games are not even MASSIVELY gory as they say. Now some of these are actually pretty grotesque in many ways (Dead Space 3) but for Black Ops 2, Lego Star War's, Portal, and others to be rated similar is a complete joke. These games are not "The Most Violent Games" in the history of gaming. I mean, this list is so bad they could have said that Dead Space 3 is parallel or equal to Pacman. Seriously, this list is a joke. If I offended you in any way I am sorry, but it's the truth hurts, hope I was able to help though. :)
Teen, 13 years old written by TheGreenSauce

One does not simply compare Plants vs. Zombies to Dead Island: Riptide, Gears of War to LEGO Star Wars, and Saints Row to Minecraft. Totally unconvincing article, all of this "rated M" and video game violence talk is exaggerated; it's almost like people these days are trying to scare parents out of their wits with games that aren't really that bad.
Parent of a 8 and 11 year old written by trickymom

When one of your kids won't sleep in his own bed all night, won't take a shower with the door shut, won't use the bathroom at the other end of the house, etc. because he's scared of zombies, then you need any kind of review. It depends on the individual kid. Sure a lot of parents overreact, but all my kids are different, and one can tolerate something another can't. So for me it's not "exaggerated."
Teen, 14 years old written by titanc13

Games that are more violent that aren't on this list - Dead Rising 3, Bioshock, The Walking Dead, TF2, Dishonored, Left 4 Dead 2, Deus Ex. Also, if some of these are on the list for the amount you kill, (Because some of these aren't violent at all) why isn't Mario or a LEGO game up there? You spend the whole game stomping on or punching people to death, at which point they fall apart limb by limb. Pretty graphic, right? My point is, this list is off.
Teen, 16 years old written by Evan Lewis

You say that TF2 is more violent, but it really isn't. Okay, when enemies get killed by a rocket they blow apart limb from limb, but it is very, very comic. The art style makes it look like a graphic novel, and most of the time you will be focusing on getting to your objective then inspecting the the limbs of a fallen foe.
Parent written by xencosti

I'm not sure if you realize this, but every game on your list has an M (Mature rating). These games are not intended for children. It is also irresponsible for parents to buy their kids an M rated game. It's the same concept as taking your kid to a R rated slasher film. You just don't.
Teen, 15 years old written by Daroa

Seriously? I have seen R rated movies since I was little. I'm not sure if YOU realize this but you can't tell how parents should or should not show their kids, they are eventually going to see this in the future, doing this improves their mental stability and makes them understand the way of the world even if it is unnecessary to the situation. I was definitely scared of some movies when I was little, but then because I made my self understand they weren't real, just movies don't give me nightmares and I eventually wasn't scared of them anymore.
Parent of a 8 and 11 year old written by trickymom

Exactly. These commenters are adults looking for a list of the most violent games for them themselves to play. So now they're nitpicking over which one is more violent. As a parent, I don't care about that--I just want to know what not to let me 8 and 10 year olds play.
Teen, 16 years old written by SpadesofAce

I see a comparison Dead Space 3 and StarCraft 2...i do not think she has ever played any of these ''ultravoilent games''
Teen, 14 years old written by Bionic Reviewer

Absolutely ridiculous list. Anyone who has played any of these games or even watched videos of them can tell you that the alternatives are nothing at all like the "gorefests" they are meant to replace. My suggestions are as follow. Saints Row the Third is a violent, open-world, chaotic action game styled as a parody of the Grand Theft Auto series. A safe alternative is one of the inFAMOUS games. Dead Space 3 is an action game, replacing it with a strategy game is absurd. I would suggest Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (1 or 2 does not matter) or Warframe (with gore disabled) as cleaner alternatives. Hitman: Absolution is a traditional stealth-action game. Age-appropriate replacements are rather difficult for this one, you might have to say no. Assassin's Creed games, however, will be decent (but nowhere near perfect) substitutes with blood disabled. God of War: Ascension is an action game, and as such, it is a horrible idea to suggest a fighting game like Gods Among Us. Although I hate to recommend the same game twice, The Force Unleashed series is an excellent substitute here. Dead Island Riptide is, again, hard to find substitutes for. For this one, you might just have to say no. I'm not qualified to suggest substitutes for Shadows of the Damned, NeverDead, or Darkness II. However, Call of Duty and Gears of War could easily be substituted with a Star Wars: Battlefront game or one of the tamer Halo games. These are my suggestions. Additionally, I don't trust CSM as much after reading this or their laughably inaccurate Warframe review, I would suggest referring to User Reviews in the future.
Parent of a 13 and 15 year old written by Skander8356

Expert my arse. Comparing gears of war 3 and lego star wars?? Dead island and "plants vs zombies"? Darkness II compared to a PUZZLE GAME?. Wish there were some more intelligent sites about ratings.
Teen, 14 years old written by roborvisci

Bravo! An adult, nay, an actual parent actualy sees thru CSM's cr*p about "Good Alternatives" for these games. Im glad you commented, my good friend!
Teen, 15 years old written by Daroa

A parent that understands how ridiculous this article is is almost astonishing, I applaud you my friend.
Teen, 17 years old written by Franco Begbie

The main problem with the games on this list is thus: the "alternatives" are nothing like the violent "counterparts". For example, Dead Space 3 and "alternative" StarCraft II. The pairing of these two is obviously by an outsider with no actual experience with games. DS3 is a horror game. People play it because they want action, suspense, scares, and laughs with friends. StarCraft is a strategy game. People play it because they want to be intellectually challenged and to beat others in a chess-like setting. Only a person who has never played either and has only a vague concept of why people play video games would connect the two because they're both Sci Fi. Nobody really cares about the setting of the game unless it's Star Trek or similar, they're mostly there to enjoy the game mechanics. DS3 could be set in the 1940s on, say, a submarine and SC2 could be set almost any time, medieval, roman, modern, etc., and the gameplay would end up almost unchanged, and the same people would end up playing it. It's the same for the pairing of Portal 2 and Darkness, or Wrath of the white witch and Black Ops, or Dead island and Plants v. zombies... Actually, there are only a few of these that AREN'T incredibly ignorant, obviously-don't-know-anything-about-the-subject-matter pairings. I appreciate your efforts to be good parents and make responsible choices for your children, but the first step towards helping your children in regards to the games they play is having a basic working knowledge of those games. In that you have failed miserably.
Teen, 13 years old written by Toby Whitener

Um ok Jinny... Black ops 2 is not "Extremly violent" and you are a military officer that kills bad guys and shows how america wins so many wars. Ill bet you havent even played it.
Teen, 17 years old written by jojot20

I must agree with you about bo2 not being "Extremely violent" the author describes it as a bloody mess. In bo2 the only death by fire, crate full of bodies, and civilians getting killed in crossfire is in the campaign........ And haven't meet anyone who buys a cod game for its campaign. Besides the multiplayer is ten times better than the campaign in the violent scenes. Probably the most violent scenes are getting the final kill cam with a sniper that got a head shot. Heck I plan on going into real wars as a solider in a few year, this is nothing compared to that.
Teen, 13 years old written by cutahug

first of all Jinny I bet you have never played any of these games and you dont know what your talking about, your article is trash. May I ask where you studied at to have this knowledge ohhhhhhhh wait you probably never whent to college. P.S. next time know what you are talking about.
written by Anonymous

I came to this article searching for violent games to play. I want to play out the twisted fantasies of psychopaths ruthlessly killing anyone and everyone. It's disappointing that the violent games weren't very violent. I had expected some iteration of GTA or perhaps Hotline Miami. Truly a mediocore level of violence when you resort to Darkness II and Neverdead. Why not mention the ability to shoot apart helpless innocents limb from limb in the 3D Fallout games? Right afterwards you can shoot the equivalent of heroin into your bloodstream, drink irradiated beer, and eat the corpse of your victim. Please find more interesting titles to advertise. On another note it is disheartening to see that people see violence as just guns and shooting. Why so low key? Gaming is becoming soft.
Teen, 16 years old written by Elysium

Bwahahahaha, I love laughing at 60 year olds like Jinny who have never played any of these games and think they're bad. I have almost all of these games, and they're fine. Common sense, please start using common sense and stop using biased, overprotective parent opinions and cringe at the fact that there is a little blood. Oh, and most of these games have a blood and swearing censorship option.
Adult written by SirPiglet2000AD

Ok, I think this is, a bit off. What's wrong about this article is that you are recommending alternative games which are not even remotely similar to the 'inappropriate' ones. What's GOOD about this is that you are recommending some pretty good games as alternatives, Completely unrelated games but, still good games in their own right. I do find it quite ignorant however, that you described Call of Duty: Black ops II, as an 'extremely violent' military shooter. When you were only referring to the campaign mode and, completely ignored the fact that the game has a censorship option, which removes curse words and blood and most gore. You did not even acknowledge the primary reason most kids will want to buy this game in the first place, the multiplayer. although multiplayer is not rated, you will find a lot of cursing from other players online, however you can mute anyone, at anytime, same goes for the zombies mode. As for the other games, unfortunately I have not played those. I think it's good that someone bothered to help out kids with strict parents, by recommending alternative less violent games to play instead but, saying that kids will enjoy these recommendations just as much if not more, is completely ignorant and undermining to kids. These games are not the same! kids want to play these games BECAUSE of the context. They play these games as an escape from their lives. For example, if they're bullied at school, or just had a legitimately bad day, then yeah they're gonna stomp that zombies head in! Kids do not want to play these games because they're evil and want to kill everyone on the planet, They play them to let out their rage or sadness, without actually effecting, or hurting anyone. Would you rather them let all their emotions build up until they finally have an outburst on someone or, would rather just let them take it out on a virtual reality where, despite the red pixels, no one is ACTUALLY getting hurt! Also, the only reason anyone reads these articles is to completely disagree with the author, not to find out why the game is 'inappropriate', we have ratings for that.
Parent written by ActionJeno

To the Rape=Realistic Violent Video Games Where can you support your claim that Violence and Violent Games cant be distinguished from each other with the human brain? Anybody that has killed on a gaming console have lawyered up, arranged a surrender date with the DA and prepared their bail. If you cant tell which is which then guilt would drive people to mass suicides. Everyone would head south to Brazil. Really? TV doesn't show violent rape because its a sexual act, and a violent sex act. With most children not knowing what is what when it comes to sex (And they all will have it before 18) you don't want anyone thinking rape is anyway normal.
Adult written by bd812

The human brain is incapable of distinguishing between reality and realistic video games. This is a known fact in the neurological field. Why is it okay for kids to play these games but not watch sexual acts on the screen? Why do we protect our children from rape scenes? Because we all know that it is damaging. Because it is violent and illegal. So is stabbing, shooting, killing.
Kid, 12 years old

Most kids my age LOVE skyrim. The same amount also aren't allowed to play m rated games, like me. I just turned 13 and I wanted a video game. I was already allowed to play t rated games, but I really wanted to get skyrim. I ended up getting oblivion. I had played skyrim at a friends house, and it wasn't any better than the earlier installment oblivion. So if your kid wants skyrim, get oblivion, or even morrowind, but oblivions better.
Adult written by epicXmedia15

Welcome to CSM! How may we control your child's life? I'm going to go on yet another rant there jinny. I don't expect you to read this (nor any other negative comments), but I do expect my message to reach others. Why do you listen to this CSM's so called parental "help"? I mean has this middle age children played every single video game out there? She must have because she knows all alternatives to the violent video games. It must make all you overprotective parents shiver. In conclusion, common sense media is worthless.
Teen, 13 years old written by CuteBabyGirl516

Why didn't they put GTA V on there?It's got full front nudity,the F word,and tons and tons of realistic voilence. It will probably be named "Best Game Of The Year".
Teen, 16 years old written by Evan Lewis

one, their is not actually that much 'realistic violence' as you say. Two, they are talking the about the most VIOLENT video games, not the most profane
Adult written by epicXmedia15

Hello there jinny. I would like to state that your whole article is completely sickening. I mean unless you have played these video games, you are just giving a biased report based off of false accusations. Violent videos games are just that, video games! I know, this can't be true! If you're unable to see that it's fine with me but to say they corrupt children? It is just a lie. It is not the game it's the child and the parent. They won't know how their child will react to it unless the seen them play game. Most of these so called "parents" think that their children will become murders! Guess what though? They won't! Most normal children know the difference between right and wrong. But the question is, do you?
Teen, 13 years old written by CuteBabyGirl516

I know!I was nine and playing these games.Parents can be overprotective sometimes and not think their children know right from wrong.
Teen, 13 years old written by Strategist101

AGREED! Somebody that realizes that video games don't corrupt our minds. Only 10% of all HUMANS are affected by violent games/movies/books. That's like saying you're going to run out and reenact what you just did in a game for real. And even then, many of these games are rated "M" or "T" for things that you have the ability to do, but don't have to (SWTOR, anyone?).
Teen, 13 years old written by CuteBunnyRabit

This list should have Grand Theft Auto on it.It's like one of the bloodiest games I know.My uncle has it on his I-phone.In 4 days is his 21st birthday,and I want to get him GTA V,because we love the series. Plus,it has so many profanities and some sexual themes,but no nudity,just women in bikinis.
Teen, 15 years old written by Daroa

Your kidding right? "It's like one of the bloodiest games I know". You just read this article and GTA is still one of the most "bloodiest" games? You are either completely incompetent or just sheltered.
Teen, 17 years old written by nuclearbomb

WOW. the list has 'replacements' that a 5 year old would enjoy. I have played every grand theft auto since i was 8 my cousin since 5. Seriously i feel you kibles.
Teen, 15 years old written by Daroa

Dnanbnc, you can't judge a game by it's cover you fool. If you actually played the games then you would know that the point is not to mug and kill the "innocent", hiring prostitutes, and learning to swear?? Most of the time your beating the sh*t out of some massive drug dealer or bad guy, you don't have to hire prostitutes in the game either and if you don't want to learn a swear word that you hear everyday at school from kids nowadays anyway just turn your volume off, did I mention you were a fool? C'mon. You must be pretty immature to not even understand the basic point of the video game.
Teen, 16 years old written by Evan Lewis

If you have played the Grand Theft Auto games since you were 8, then you have messed up parents. Those games are, sadly, close to the real thing, I have just begun to play the Grand Theft Auto games, and they are amazing, but they are waaaaaaaaaay to inappropriate for a 5 year-old, in some places around the world your parents would be imprisoned for letting you play those games.
Adult written by Kibles

This list is preposterous. Ni No Kuni is a slow paced whimsical JRPG and it's supposed to be some sort of alternative to Call of Duty? This, along with just silly errors like saying Portal 2 is an action game, makes the list look like it was written by an ignorant grandmother.
Kid, 11 years old

You're right. Guardians of Middle Earth's a top down RPG. COD BlOps is an FPS. Mirror's Edge is like FPS, SRTT is a third person shooter. CSM listed senseless alternatives almost everywhere,unlike BatMan AC for SRTT. Come on, where are those days when you listed sensed alternatives like COP for GTA China town?
Adult written by EowyntheFair

I would just like to add that just because a video game has some violence does not make it bad...the type of violence and the reasoning behind it have a lot to do with the influence a game might have on a child. For instance, a game where you must defend your city by shooting arrows into invading hoards of goblins is a bit different from gutting citizens in a village so you can take their loot. Also, I think you should add Oblivion or Skyrim to this list. There are some "bad" paths available in this game, however, you do not have to take those paths. When I play Oblivion I just go through the quests to help people, collect items, learn new skills, etc.
Teen, 16 years old written by Two Wings Timmy

To be honest, the only games I would play from the alternate list would be lost plants 2, plants VS zombies, minecraft, and mirrors edge. From the violent list I would play every single game there and love them all.
Teen, 14 years old written by viciousglowworm

Oh boy, I wanted Saint's Row and my mom got me minecraft. Seriously, some of these make no sense. As great a game as it may be, no kid who wants Darkness 2 is going to be pleased with Quantum Conundrum. Most games on this list have no real replacements. Just have your kid get DoTA 2 or League of Legends and he/she will become addicted.
Parent of a 11 year old written by lmneely

My husband plays Halo, and it seems way less graphic than a lot of the games listed here. The graphic violence is less, and there is a lot less gore. You can turn off the bad language by putting it in "Party Mode" so that your kids can't hear it in the background - so that solves that problem (I was told that trick by a teenage friend of the family who plays online only with his own friends). I totally think that if parents watch their teens and are supervising what they play, and the kids understand the context of it, then I don't think that it is going to "mess them up" in our society.
Adult written by CarltonF

As an older gamer and parent, having a good alternate is the key. In our home we did this with all media we deemed not good for kids, all the way til their teen years. Parents have to be somewhat 'hip' and alert to the popular culture to guard young eyes and ears from the garbage. Eliminating anything makes them want it more but alternates really help, but you need to stay current. This writer has done her homework and though the alternates can use some work, they are pretty good.
Parent of a 13 and 15 year old written by Skander8356

Except that they arent, they all have nothing to do with these "most violent" games. Once kids reach around 15, (or at least in australia), they can usually look after themselves and decide what is appropriate, this list is really misleading and i feel extremely sorry for any kid whose parents are gullible and lazy enough to believe this.
Parent of a 12 year old written by michelhays

I agree with the above posters: a list like this isn't useful unless kids see the games as viable alternatives to the ones their friends are playing; with the possible exception of Mirror's Edge, none of the games you've chosen fit that bill. If you're going to make a list like this, may I suggest you ask the kids or other players to find alternative games? You have a community here - why don't you draw from it? A better use of the marketing power Commonsense Media offers would be to ask current game companies to offer the ability to block in-game content that adults might find objectionable. Games are not movies: every frame is programmed in, and every sentence is spoken independently; there is no reason why an M-rated game can't also be a T-rated game that requires a password to unlock the violence.
Adult written by zeroroute

I'm in the same boat as those who say the genres are way off. My take on this list Saints Row 3: no substitute Dead Space 3: Star Trek (I know this was bashed by critics) HItman Absolution: no substitute God of War Ascension: Heavenly Sword Gears of War 3: Dark Void Dead Island Riptide: no substitute Shadows of the Damned: no substitute Darkness 2: none Neverdead: Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Black Ops II: 007 Legends Also, If I deem a game too objectionable, I won't even play it.
Kid, 12 years old

Okay, I agree with most of this list but some I disagree with. I admit I have played basically every game on this list. This is my personal opinion. 1.Dead Space(1, 2 and 3) 2. Grand Theft Auto(Series) 3.Dead Island(Riptide) 4. The Darkness(1 and 2) 5. God Of War(series) 6. Gears Of War(only 3 and judgement) 7. Outlast(has anyone heard of this game) 8. Aliens vs Predator(2011) 9. The walking Dead(telltale: due to its content) 10. House Of The Dead(so old)
Kid, 11 years old

Adult written by ruzilla01

almost every game you offered as an alternative is in a completely different genre than the one its supposed to be replacing and by the way nothing is wrong with just saying no if you feel violent video games are the source of all evil in children treat them the same way you would a drug don't offer one that is supposed to be the same just a little less bad just say no the parent has the money the parent has control over the content that is purchased for the child yes violent games are today's main source of income in the gaming world but those games are aimed at the adults that can purchase it or mature working teens that can purchase it themselves video games like movies use a ratings chart and ALL stores licensed to sell video games have the ratings chart posted next to the game isle personally i don't agree with buying violent games for children under the age of 13 and at that age it really depends on how sexual it is gory it is and how it depicts drug use if any exist in the game and how mature you consider your child because lets face it they are already learning about sex drugs and gangs from school at that age and trying to replace the game they want with a watered down game that even your not interested in would be a waist of money because not only will they not play what you bought but if you cant trust them to own a copy of a game themselves its likely they will get to play it at a friend or relatives house anyway another thing to try would be getting involved in what your kid likes most consoles offer a free demo version of just about every game released that can be downloaded directly to the console so download it try it if you do not consider it age appropriate delete it and save yourself the trouble and money
Adult written by CSM Screen name...

Also, Gears of War 2 and 3- you can turn off the swearing and the gore. It is still violent because it is war game and I wouldn't recommend it for young players but older teens would be fine. I wish all game companies would do this. Just because I'm an adult doesn't mean I want all the characters to swear all the time. Also- all the Batman Arkam games are pretty dark and some of the villians can be scary. I wouldn't recommend those games to anyone under 13 and even then, if your kids doesn't like creepy- don't bother. And the women in Batman and Injustice are practicly bursting out of their costumes.
Adult written by CSM Screen name...

As a Mom and a gamer myself, I have to say that most of the games you have mentioned are good. And I would agree that if your kids are in the tweens and pushing for a first person shooter like COD- get them a Halo Reach, or other Halo title. Although they are rated M because of violence, they are not gross and bloody and not a lot of bad language. And you can't always trust the rating system anyway. My kids bought a shadow the hedgehog game that was rated 10+ and we had to sell it to Gamestop. Everytime Shadow died (and it was a LOT) he cursed. Anyway, one thing I warn other parents about who don't play videogames is the online multiplayer gaming. I think it is great that my kids can play and talk online with their friends from school and even friends that have moved away. But be aware that if you haven't changed the parental setting so that they can ONLY play with people on their friends list- they can be exposed to some very unfriendly and vulgar people. You would be amazed at the stuff that is said to kids in these games. A lot of the adults and 20 somethings that play multiplayer games online do not want to play with younger players. When they hear a young voice they will berate that player with some of the most foul language they can think of to get them to quit the game. I'm an adult and a lot of players that I am paired up with when playing online, I have to mute because they can't play without insulting other players and cursing every other breath. I know a lot of parents don't understand the online part of gaming or take the time to set all the controls. They just give a kid a game and figure that is all to it, it is a lot more complicated than when we were kids.
Teen, 14 years old written by Solaris XD

If you think the shadow the hedgehog game has more and worse swearing then call of duty your out of your mind. All he ever says his damn and hell once in a cutscene (He says hell in a morality route your son probably wouldn't anyway). In call of duty there's F**K, S**T etc. swearing doesn't bother me but if damn bothers you then I worry about you.
written by D0nt 13link

It really, really pisses me off when anyone calls us adolescents "tweens". When your kids are like 13-17, they are not little kids. God, it really grinds my gears.
Adult written by epicXmedia15

Your children must be ashamed to have you as a parent. I mean you are honestly one of the most protective parents I have ever met. How long will you shield your children from the real world? (Let me remind you that video games aren't real life) Almost everything in these games are done for entertainment, not to corrupt children's minds. They are fictions pieces of work and will not come true.
Parent of a 9 year old written by Benburrito

As a 31 year old gamer, I'm a good resource for other parents as to the appropriateness of a game being asked for by their kids. This list was bizarre in it's recommendations however, so much so that I felt inspired to create my own, though I understand there's usually not always a good 1-1 replacement. (1.) SAINTS ROW: THE THIRD :: Infamous, Just Cause 2, Batman Arkham City (2.) DEAD SPACE 3 :: Lost Planet series, Front Mission Evolved, Amnesia (3.) HITMAN: ABSOLUTION :: Dark Void, GoldenEye 007, Mercenaries II (4.) GOD OF WAR - ASCENSION :: Heavenly Sword, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II, Injustice, The Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection (5.) GEARS OF WAR 3 :: Transformers War for Cybertron/Fall of Cybertron, Starhawk (6.) DEAD ISLAND RIPTIDE :: Enslaved, Bully, Xenoblade, Monster Hunter Tri (7.) SHADOWS OF THE DAMNED :: Red Steel 2, Uncharted series (8.) DARKNESS II :: Alan Wake, Ratchet & Clank (9.) NEVERDEAD :: Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (10.) CALL OF DUTY - BLACK OPS II :: Earth Defense Force, Gotham City Impostors, GoldenEye 007: Reloaded. ------ I love your site's reviews for games and movies, thank you for helping to keep everyone informed about content.
Teen, 14 years old written by Braden James

As a teen who plays a lot of these games, I must respectfully say a lot of these alternatives don't make sense. A lot of your choices seemed to be based off either the genre of the game. Just because the game is a open world game does NOT mean that it is an alternative for another open world game.
Teen, 17 years old written by godspoken

No offense but some of these recommendations make no sense. If I was a kid who wanted to play BlOps, I would in no way be satisfied with No no Kuni. Don't get me wrong, NNK is a great game, but has literally nothing in common with COD; they're opposite ends of the spectrum. Something like Siphon Filter would make more sense, but then again, there hasn't been a new one of those since the PSP releases. Point is, if you're trying to find an alternative to a realistic shooter, put down a realistic shooter.
Teen, 13 years old written by Superepicpizza

I appreciate how your listing violent/inappropriate games and alternatives,i really do but i think you got some things wrong here such as(Keep in mind i applaud you for trying to take on a task such as this..It's something i probably couldn't do): In your saints row the third you listed skylanders giants as an alternative...Now i have never played it so i don't know if it's open world or not, but something like saints row exchanged for skylanders giants would make a kid unhappy. Another thing is, the batman arkham city/arkham asylum are very dark and "Scary" for younger kids (I am 13 and there's a bit of a jumpscare part that got me...Very creepy atmosphere as well) And although the violence isn't terrible it is still not-so-great for younger kids (I don't know if your listing alternatives for kids and teens.If so, ignore the one about arkham city/asylum) now onto dead space 3... Dead space 3 is an action/shooter horror game. starcraft is a strategy game....Those 2 genres are EXTREMLY different (Action/shooting you...Shoot and fight and in strategy games you command a army) so although it IS sci-fi as is dead space, I know i wouldn't be happy if i asked for dead space and got starcraft 2 instead. Let's move on to Hitman. Hitman is quite bloody and the language aint pretty either. Infamous has some pretty strong language ( S words) but i agree that the violence isn't as bad. Now as much as i love what ive done in infamous it isn't anything like hitman. now for gears of war i do not know almost anything about it...But i know enough to know that inustice gods among us and portal 2 are just what youe described them to be...There only similarity is that it's on the same system (PS3). Dead island riptide is un-explored territory for me as well but from what ive seen plants vs. zombies cannot be compared to it...And i looked at the other ones and there not like it either... The people would get dead island:Riptide for its survival mode type gameplay (Yes plants vs. zombies is that to except it's tower defense...Not FPS) and maybe the crafting/leveling system (There is a leveling system right? xD) now for the next one (if you stayed with my review this long then you get a cookie....Go either buy some or ask you mom for one..If you just skipped here then go in a corner and think about what you've done, i will be skipping some as i don't even know of them) HERE is the one that really kills me... Ni no kuni= RPG game...Guardians of middle earth= LOTR (Lord of the rings) top-down fighting game... COD black ops 2? A futuristic FPS I would reccomend: Some of the earlier COD and medal of honor games for teens and for kids? Well i thought about it for a while and i don't think i can think of any GOOD kid's FPS games So this is what i leave you with and i hope that you know that i am not in any way trying to be disrespectful to Commonsensemedia, i respect what you think but this is just my input on what I think :P -This review was written by a 13 year old- (Are your kids bored of mainstream games that you have to pay for? Try freeware sites -make sure there not illegal- a COMPLETELY legal site for freeware is freepcgamers.com There are many others such as acid-play.com.Might just wanna search acid play freeware instead) If you finished this comment/review then have 2 cookies... Either take them from the cookie's you bought or ask your mom for another... -Superepicpizza
Teen, 15 years old written by Longshot

It's truly funny how blown out of proportion these reviews are. Especially on something like Black OpsII. They're pushing towards a more realistic side of warfare, people of both sides, innocent and hostile will die and you can't do anything to stop it. The worst is the gore... The has no gore aside from blood splatters on the wall or the tiny mist that comes out from shooting a person, only zombies mode has any true gory details to it. I understand they're reviews to help parents decide if games are okay for their kids, but Christ, you could at least play them for awhile and really understand exactly what it is before jumping the gun because something didn't appeal to your liking in the first scene of the game.
Teen, 14 years old written by shadow of the damned

Common Sense, I are disappoint. Really, Listing Ni No Kuni as an alternative to Call of Duty? That's like saying a piece of plain bread is a substitute for a doughnut. Look, I recognize the fact that most games won't be a perfect, less violent and gory supplement to take in the stead of something bloody, but I mean really, you could do a better job. I'm not saying I have the answer. I'm saying you don’t.
Parent of a 8 and 10 year old written by judgedad

Thank you so much, this is perfectly timed and v useful! Oldest son is 10, gone beyond Lego Star Wars etc and now there seems to be a gap! He is pushing hard for Call of Duty# and we are simply saying "No" all the time, trying to explain obvious reasons without actually knowing anything much about current games (other than the covers in shops). We are IT savvy parents but not up with current games or the content of them (really, how could we be without playing them, which I don't want to do?). Your descriptions are so useful and a wake-up call for me that this is something we need to get to grips with, preferably before he wakes up tomorrow asking again! This is a good heads up for me on the very existence of potential alternatives, although obviously some gamers below don't agree - at least I now know some appropriate games which he might like are out there. One argument put forward by Son1# was that "Dad, all my friends have COD and there are no 10+ games anyway". Clearly I need to do some HW on this... any further help much appreciated. For example, actual UK ratings page would be useful for a start and then a longer list of possible appropriate games for his age group. I was scrambling for ideas, saying "I think there are some nice Star Wars games which look great." thanks again. appreciate the article, whatever the outcome regarding the appropriateness of alternative titles.
Parent of a 13 and 15 year old written by Skander8356

CoD black ops can be ok for a 10 year old, but you need to play it WITH him at first, and you need to occasionally check up on him playing it. If you really hate it that much, get him an fps like star wars battlefront, no blood and a fun game
written by D0nt 13link

As I said to many other people. Deal with it. They are not your little children anymore. Let me tell you this: only 10% of people reenact what they see on the media. If they do, they are insane. Is your child stable? Does he know right and wrong? Most likely he is. Stop worrying.
Adult written by morethanicecream

Alright. Call of Duty is not terrible in the way of gore. Most of the time the blood is brief. Now, there are certain missions that are very gory, but the game asks you if you want to turn off the content. The one mission that gives Call of Duty a bad name to this day is the Airport mission in Modern Warfare 2 (where you go through an airport and kill every innocent civilian). There is a lot of blood involved and that is where you get the rumor that Call of Duty is a very bad game for younger players to play. This game is really just fun overall. Multiplayer is least violent, zombies is next, and campaign is the most violent. The game isn't as bad as certain games such as Killing Floor or Grand Theft Auto. If you want a less alternative violent game for him, get Halo 3, Halo: Reach, or Halo 4. They are really fun, not as violent, and way better than Call of Duty. Soon, after he plays the game, get him Call of Duty. But, honestly, you shouldn't be worried about Call of Duty. There are far more worse video games to get him.
Adult written by TreyF

The author is getting confused in number 10 of the list. It is described as "In one scene, the player steps into the shoes of a villain and goes on a murderous rampage against soldiers, the screen turns red with blood rage as he takes damage." This scene however is in Call of Duty Modern Warfare, not Black Ops. It is the single bloodiest mission in all of the Call of Duty franchise and it isn't even in the game that the author says that it is in. That might change the number 10 spot on this list. There is also customizable setting to reduce the violence. These reviews assume that the violence is set to maximum.
Teen, 15 years old written by Longshot

I think they were referring to the level when you played as Menendez and have the rampage type mode of invincibility while trying to get back to Sophia.
Teen, 15 years old written by BillyTheKid

You guys always say that every single m rated game spoils a kid's mind. Some of them do. But do guys ever say anything good about one. No. There are some M rated games that are alright for kids. Assassins creed 3. You can turn off the blood. And it doesn't focus on killing random people. Connor has a vision that he was gonna save his tribe. He became an assassin. There are games that are alright. On common sense media, if you see an m game you automatically put "not for kids" why don't you guys actually look into them. I'm just nailing you because you're wrong. Video games are not the world's problems.
Teen, 14 years old written by Sol9000

I love Portal 2, but what would it replace God of War? And on that note, Grand Theft Auto is far more violent then Saints Row. In addition, WHERE IS HALO? Half Life? No More Heroes? Metal Gear? ANY OF THOSE? ... Wait a minute, I don't play any of these games.
written by D0nt 13link

GTA is not really violent. You don't see any dismemberment or bloody chunks in GTA 4 or 5. Just blood and profanity.
Parent of a 11 year old written by puchasr

I don't know if I should be upset or disappointed that my favorite game Killzone3 is not on the list... I thought the melee kills where very violent... glad Im not playing one on the list.
Adult written by Cheesewhiz

The alternative games mentioned are mostly good, just not similar at all to the ones being substituted. Also, all the violent games listed here are rated M, which means not for kids. Any parent that buys their 13 year old kid M rated games (besides the Halo series) needs to look at the ratings. There are plenty of T rated games such as the Uncharted series that are just as fun.
Adult written by rdm24

I feel like a lot of us are ganging up on Jinny, so in her defense I'll say this: The list correctly characterizes mature themes in popular games, and her list of recommended alternatives are all pretty solid, quality games. The problems are that the recommendations may only be marginally less violent, and the substitutions are more thematic, when gameplay style is arguably more important. This list is better than if she addressed those problems by recommending a bunch of shovelware (which is a huge chunk of the market aimed at younger players)
Teen, 14 years old written by Bionic Reviewer

Not all of these are comparisons, but they're close enough. My two cents... Substitute for God of War: The Force Unleashed series. Plenty of bloodless, sci-fi battles. Substitute for Grand Theft Auto: inFAMOUS and Infamous 2. Open-world exploration of cities, and electrical powered combat with humanoid or masked human enemies. Relatively violent, but unrealistically so. Substitute for violent Sci-Fi Games: Any Star Wars game. Star Wars has only had blood on two occasions, none of which are featured in these games. In answer to that question at the bottom there, I think overtly violent games (Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, etc) that portray blood and gore should be avoided. For mature audiences, the others seem okay.
Teen, 16 years old written by MacroPower

Nice list, but I think the alternative choices are kinda sucky. I mean, what does shooting portals have to do with demon arms? They aren't even the same genre! Also, PvZ has pretty much nothing in common with Dead Island, except zombies (gameplay is COMPLETELY different). Non-gory first person puzzle games: Antichamber, CUBE, Portal. Non-gory first person action games: Section 8, it's a science fiction action game with little to no gore, minimal language (damn is literally the worst word they use, and it's only used a few times). Zombie Games: The less profane/violent (yet still gore-filled) Left 4 Dead would be an alternative, but a gore-free zombie game is almost impossible unless it's strategy like PvZ or Atom Zombie Smasher. The Force Unleashed is an alternative to God of War, they're pretty much the same, but TFU takes away the nudity, gore, and language. Plus it adds lightsabers. A lot of games don't have "alternatives", each game is its own.
Teen, 16 years old written by SpadesofAce

Yea, there is a difference between Protoss VS. Zerg and The Walking Dead... thumbs up to everyone who knows what PvZ is on here.
Adult written by rdm24

I'm not entirely sure about your recommended alternatives. Some of them are certainly still "violent" (like Arkham City or Injustice: Gods Among Us), though perhaps less graphic. I guess I'm not really clear on the difference between your "more violent" and "less violent" games--is it the more cartoony nature of the violence? More importantly, there isn't a world where Ni No Kuni and Call of Duty are interchangeable. You'll end up with one disappointed child if you pulled this switcheroo.
Parent of a 4, 10, 11, and 12 year old written by Anthonybr

GamerTears took the words right out of my mouth. Most of this list is like your kid asking for apples and you giving them oranges. Minecraft is a huge omission from this list. Skylanders is another one that should have made the list. Also, no one should try and recommend the Star Trek game for any reason. It was terrible.
Kid, 11 years old

Star Trek wasn't that great,I agree.But Minecraft & SG have been added as alternatives to SR3,which makes no sense.True,Minecraft is fabulous,and so is SG,but sr3 and these 2 are different.Well,i think Prince of Persia,Driver,James Bond,Wheelman or Elder Scrolls should make it to the list.
Teen, 14 years old written by You Can Not Redo

I agree that the games introduced in the article have disturbing visuals and violence, but I don't like the idea of 'alternatives'. I don't think there are alternatives for games. Each has different stories and different ways of playing it.
Adult written by GamerTears

I work at a GameStop between 4 private schools. I don't agree with the most of the comparisons, but many of the non-violent games listed are good selections. Most kids are out to play what the older kids are playing. But there are some that are into a specific genre. Unfortunately the sandbox genre is the most often desired and represented by the most extreme games (GTA, saints row, read dead redemption). Alternatives for these include MINECRAFT (why didn't you include this?) Infamous, Lego City Undercover. Halo Wars and Halo 3 are great gun toting alien killing games that remain rather clean despite the M rating on Halo 3. "Why won't you get me Call of Duty like every other MOM!?" -get this kid Halo 3 or lost planet. Oh and keep an eye out for Lost Planet 3, Batman Gotham City, and Lego Marvel Heroes this year.
Adult written by Jinny Gudmundsen

GamerTears, thanks for your thoughtful comments. We liked your suggestion of adding Minecraft as an alternative. Minecraft is now listed as an alternative to Saints Row: The Third.
Adult written by DiEx-80

Portal 2 and Portal are both First Person Puzzle games because the point of the game is to get from one side of the room to the other using the Portal Gun. (Note: the gun does not have offensive capacities. Meaning: It cannot be used to "kill". Besides, the only enemies in the game are stationary robots that can be defeated by knocking them over.) Also: Both games are great for demonstrating physics. In addition: Steam and Valve gave away a free copy of Portal as part of a "going back to school" sale. I don't know if they will do it again, but...
Parent written by amykrooke

My boys are still young enough (9,7,5) that we've been able to avoid the violent games in our home. I am shocked though that some of their friends are playing them and that my 9 year old believes he's the only kid who doesn't get to play violent video games. Not sure how much better the alternatives are but I'm saving the list and will check these games out when the time comes. I just wish all parents could be informed and have a united front against anything violence related. It sickens me to hear friends with older kids then mine say their kids play them because "all their friends are playing them".
Adult written by epicXmedia15

It sickens me to hear that you won't expose your child to something as trivial as entertainment. No wonder humanity has gone down the drain.
Parent written by Whizparent

Thanks you so much Jinny for this list! I notice there is some status attached to watching "over age" or gorey stuff amongst my 11 year old sons friends. I would prefer if they didn't play violent games and have been reading various research about the effects of same. Research results are all over the place but the psychologists seem to be worried. Your readers may be interested in the not for profit Whizparents.com site which helps parents and kids talk about technology.
Teen, 14 years old written by Solaris XD

The only reason your kid would turn into a psycho murder from video games is because their insane, unstable or have a extremely bad mental disease.
Adult written by epicXmedia15

I just want to make this clear, THERE IS NO BAD EFFECTS OF PLAYER VIDEO GAMES. It is YOUR fault if your child turns out to be a mindless killer.
Parent of a 12, 14, and 18+ year old written by Parenting IS COOL

Reading these violent game descriptions is almost more than I can stomach. I'm all for people making their own choices and having enough freedom to allow differences in beliefs from one community/group to another. Yet I don't know why this kind of graphic violence is so accepted today and so many children are exposed early in an effort to fit in by "doing what everyone else does". It is beyond me to understand the cost to our children and the future of our society. Thanks for giving us information to make informed choices, but honestly in this case if it breaks the law in real life maybe we should not see/do/practice it in our heads either?
Teen, 14 years old written by Solaris XD

I've played games like cod and halo since I was 9. I haven't got the urge to shoot up a place yet and I don't think it'll ever happen. The only people who do that because of video games are mentally unstable
Adult written by Jourdy288

As much as I appreciate the article, the "alternatives" pointed out, while they're certainly good games, aren't really alternatives. A much better alternative to Dead Space, for example, would be Lone Survivor. Both are intense horror games, but the latter isn't gory or disturbing. While I haven't played Dead Space, I know for a fact it's nothing like Starcraft II, on the other hand, is a very different game altogether- it's not a good alternative IMHO.
Teen, 15 years old written by Connor Casey

I can agree with this list, i'm glad this site is not as bias as it used to be, the most violent games are indeed extremely violent, although i would have to disagree with saints row the third, it is highly violent, but its more of inappropriate than violent. And the recommendations are great, battleblock theater tests your wits
Adult written by JEDI micah

As much as how impressive the graphics look on this M-rated games, I do my best to avoid them (even though I am over 18). Honestly, the game that I look forward to are the cartoony games (like Mario, Donkey Kong, Rayman, and Sly Cooper, to name a few) and sometimes the sports games (like my ultimate favorite: SSX). Occasionally, I will look into some T-rated titles, like some Transformers games. So parents, I may not have kids, but I can probably tell how hard it is to protect your children from such violent games. That's why you should be thankful to have Common Sense Media on your side! Cause they will always be honest and they know what is safe for you and your kids!
Adult written by rdm24

Sly Cooper is a good low-violence alternative to Infamous/Infamous 2. (I don't know why Infamous was proposed as a low violence alternative to anything)