Dead Island: Riptide

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Dead Island: Riptide Game Poster Image
Parents recommend
Gory, bloody zombie shooter sequel with co-op play.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 7 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value
Positive Messages

Dead Island: Riptide is a zombie-themed shooter. There's no real story, nor are there any positive messages to take away from this game, other than friendship and sacrifice -- and that's a bit of a stretch.

Positive Role Models & Representations

This cooperative-focused game reintroduces the same characters from the original Dead Island game, and a new one, too, plus a handful of new enemy creatures. You get to choose who you want to play as, but you really don't learn much about the character's backstory, motivation, and so on. You kill zombies to stay alive. That's about it.

Ease of Play

The game is pretty easy to play -- if the PC version of the game is any indication. Not unlike the last Dead Island game, a mouse and keyboard combo are ideal to control the action, while the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game employ a typical first-person shooter mechanic on the controller (utilizing the dual analog sticks heavily).


This is one violent, gory, and bloody game. Players can destroy, dismember, and behead zombies using a wide assortment of weapons -- both range and of the melee variety -- and can also stomp on someone's head (with a dense splash sound). Images of dead body parts and hanging bodies can be seen, too.


There is no nudity in the game but there is a scene with a bikini-clad woman tied to a bed and with video cameras pointing toward her. There are also sexual references in the dialogue sequences, including an investigator recounting a sickening story about someone molesting his 14 year-old daughter.



This video game has some strong use of profanity, including words like "f--k," "f--ker," "f--king," motherf--ker," "s--t," and other swear words.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Players can consume alcohol in the game and their vision becomes blurred. There are also images of inebriated characters who are stumbling around and slurring words. One of your missions is tied to retrieving narcotics for another character who is going through withdrawal (and talks of "shooting up").

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dead Island: Riptide is a very violent and gory zombie shooter. There's a lot of killing going on in this game, plus some frightening scenes such as zombies reaching out of the water to kill you on a boat, and another zombie that screams to freeze you. The game is also laden with very strong profanity, sexual references, and players can consume alcohol to become inebriated.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bylulatula December 13, 2013

Gory, Violent Zombie awesomness

Dead Island Riptide is technically a great game. The graphics are super good and it really makesthe game come to life. But this is the problem! Children are sti... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byalex1112 February 10, 2015

best game

its a greate melley shooter so good game the zombies are greate its just a good game
Teen, 14 years old Written byteen July 21, 2014

this game is pretty awesome

you just run around killin zombies its pretty cool
i dont know why common sense says there is sex it doesnt say sex on the back and i havent found that stuff ye... Continue reading

What's it about?

After narrowly escaping the zombie-infested island of Banoi in 2011's Dead Island, the remaining survivors -- Sam, Logan, Xian, and Purna -- take to a military ship for safety. Problem is, a monsoon carries the infection to them, transforming the crew and forcing the gang to destroy the carrier; and so they must take their chances on another nearby (and fictitious) island, Palanai. When a fifth character, John Morgan, joins the team, the group collectively discovers that the new island is also infested and must fight for survival once again. As with its predecessor, DEAD ISLAND: RIPTIDE is a shooter with "survival horror" elements, with a strong focus on cooperative play.

Is it any good?

If you enjoyed the first game then you'll likely have fun running, gunning, and slashing through this bloody sequel. If you can forgive the lame story and bland characters who don't seem to have any real "life" to them -- unlike Telltale Games' amazing zombie story, The Walking Dead -- this new gorefest includes open-world gameplay, role-playing game (RPG)-like elements, new vehicles (like boats) and enemies, and a focus on four-player first-person co-op action. The game is better played with others online than by yourself, where you might be more likely to scrutinize the technical bugs, repetitive missions, and mixed graphics (water and blood effects look good but not much else). At best, wait until this game hits the bargain bins or consider a weekend rental before laying down $40 to $50 for it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the developers handled this sequel to Dead Island, and perhaps debate if the game is different enough to justify the purchase. Or do players like when game makers don't mess with the formula too much? 

  • Families can also discuss the impact of media violence.

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love scary games and zombies

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate