Rift: Nightmare Tide

Game review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
Rift: Nightmare Tide Game Poster Image
A beautiful, interesting, but violent multiplayer game.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Messages of standing against oppression, defeating evil, and helping characters fulfill their destinies are diminished by fighting as the only solution to problems.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Players become the Ascended, special heroic saviors seen as strong, powerful characters fighting for right. Unfortunately, violence is their sole method for justice.

Ease of Play

Complex controls accessible only for players who have played Rift for a while.


Players spend most of their time engaged in combat. Countless missions reward players for killing people, animals. Violence is abstract; injury and death shown by enemies falling down, with minimal blood effects.


No sex, but players encounter partially clad female characters. For example, mermaids wear tiny shell chest coverings but seem topless when seen from afar.




Lots of encouragement to purchase items that improve gameplay from in-game store.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Players often drink potions with alcoholic names to heal, provide other effects.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Rift: Nightmare Tide is a downloadable expansion pack to the Rift massively multiplayer online game (MMO). It's a combat-centric game wherein violence is used to achieve most ends and is consistently rewarded. Though violence is more or less a constant, it's not overly gory. Injuries and/or deaths are shown by characters falling down with occasional brief blood effects. Players will frequently be pushed to purchase additional items that will improve or affect the gameplay experience from the in-game store. Although there's no sex, players will find some female characters who are scantily clad. Players will drink some potions with alcoholic names to replenish health or achieve other effects. Controls are complex for anyone who hasn't played Rift for a long time. There aren't language issues in the game, but players who don't turn off the chat functionality with other players could have negative interactions with others.

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What's it about?

In RIFT: NIGHTMARE TIDE, the power of the Ascended is called upon when the aquatic denizens of the Plane of Water find themselves threatened by an ancient evil. The sleep of a legendary dream lord has been disturbed, and dark forces are using the dreams of impressionable cultists to bring malevolent phantoms to life. The Ascended must enter the Plane of Water, counter the threat, and restore balance to Telara.

Is it any good?

Rift: Nightmare Tide is a fascinating expansion thanks to the clever use of the water theme, which takes the ocean's strange beauty without forcing you to spend all your time underwater. Its greatest success is the way it evokes a convincing dream world that's simultaneously familiar and surreal. Nightmare Tide is home to a collection of terrifying, Cthulhu-like creatures with the result being an atmosphere that's spooky and strange. Boss fights evoke an awestruck reaction, and who wouldn't be awed when faced with a tentacled menace the size of a skyscraper? Add in the new skill sets for masteries and the collectible minions that can perform separate side quests and mini-adventures on your own, and you have an exceedingly deep expansion for a multiplayer game.

The graphics are stunning and the music -- especially the ethereal song of the sirens that comes out of nowhere to send shivers down your spine -- definitely pushes the notion that you're in an alternate plane of existence. Unfortunately, what also adds to the surreal setting is the low server population. If you usually play solo and need help with a specific quest, it can be a challenge to find someone to help because there may only be a handful of players in any given zone. It's too bad because, from an exploration standpoint, Rift: Nightmare Tide is an unusually creative expansion. Though its prone to stumble on the same things it and other MMOs can't seem to avoid, it's well worth playing if only for offering some of the most fantastic fantasy-narrative experiences seen recently in a modern MMO.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about war. Do countries ever have a valid reason to attack one another?

  • Discuss dreams. Are your dreams realistic, or are they about fantastic, imaginary places?

  • Think about what it would be like to live under the ocean. What would you enjoy about it most?

Game details

  • Platforms: Windows
  • Pricing structure: Free (The game and expansion are free, but there are three tiers of Collector's Editions for purchase, ranging from $25 to $150. There are also paid "Patron" subscriptions that reward players with extras like mounts, store discounts, and dungeon queue priority.)
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Trion Worlds
  • Release date: October 22, 2014
  • Genre: Massively Multiplayer Online Game (MMOG)
  • Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
  • ESRB rating: T for Blood, Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol, Violence.
  • Last updated: August 25, 2016

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