The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct Game Poster Image

The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct



TV-based horror game is violent, gory, and profanity laden.

What parents need to know

Educational value

AMC's The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct wasn't created with educational intent and we don't recommend it for learning.

Positive messages

On one hand, the game has you killing hundreds of zombies -- so there's plenty of violence, blood, and gore in this game -- but on the flipside you're trying to stay alive against the flesh-eating undead and you're helping survivors, too. 

Positive role models

Like the hit AMC television show, you play as the mysterious Daryl Dixon -- a motorcycle-riding hunter adept with a crossbow -- who, alongside his annoying brother Merle, explores the Georgia countryside on a mission to stay alive. Not much is known about Daryl, an expert tracker, but in the show he's somewhat short-tempered.

Ease of play

The game isn't too difficult to control, sticking with standard first-person shooter conventions -- such as the left analog stick to move, the right one to look around, and the right trigger to shoot.


This "Mature"-rated first-person shooter lets you use a number of weapons to kill (re-kill) zombies, including a crossbow, shotguns, and melee weapons like a knife or hammer. You can shoot players in the head, slash someone's neck open, stab them in the eye, or decapitate them altogether. Blood and gore can be seen while fighting with the undead and from battle-torn corpses on the ground.



There are some suggestive words and phrases in some of the dialog, including expressing interest in having sex with a female survivor.


The game has strong profanity, including words like "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole." Other words include "hell," "damn," and "bitch."


The game is titled and based on AMC's popular The Walking Dead series of the same name. This includes the same characters, locations, and story premise. This game could be looked at as part of the show's marketing extensions.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is a violent, gory, and profanity-laden survival horror game based on the television series upon which it's based. But as Daryl Dixon, you're the one shooting, slicing and dicing through undead zombies out to get you and your crew. The game has plenty of blood and gore, including dismemberment and beheading. There is also strong language in the game and some sexually suggestive references in the dialogue sequences.

What's it about?

As you might expect, THE WALKING DEAD: SURVIVAL INSTINCT is based on the mega-popular AMC television series, The Walkind Dead, about survivors of a zombie apocalypse. It's a first-person shooter that has you assume the role of Daryl Dixon, a tough warrior who relies on his hunting skills to take down zombies, protect other humans (including his overbearing brother Merle), and find a way to survive in the wake of this deadly outbreak. This single-player campaign is story-driven, and folds in elements of exploration, action, and resource management.

Is it any good?


The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct isn't a great game, which is too bad for fans of the Emmy-winning series. On paper, it seems like it's a winner: step into the shoes of one of the more popular heroes, Daryl Dixon -- who is played on the show by Norman Reedus (plus he lends his likeness and voice to the in-game character) -- and you get to test your skills to stay alive among all the zombies and panicky survivors. But the game has bland graphics, repetitive environments, technical glitches, less than stellar enemy A.I. (artificial intelligence) and no multiplayer options. Sure, there are some fun combat and scavenging moments (like looking for gas cans so you can drive away) and different ways to tackle each level, but overall it's a disappointing romp that pales in comparison to last year's imaginative The Walking Dead serial game series.

Families can talk about...

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo Wii U, PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
Subjects:Social Studies: citizenship, exploration, government
Language & Reading: following directions, using supporting evidence
Skills:Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, applying information, problem solving
Self-Direction: achieving goals, identifying strengths and weaknesses, work to achieve goals
Responsibility & Ethics: honoring the community, learning from consequences, respect for others
Collaboration: respecting other viewpoints
Available online?Not available online
Release date:March 19, 2013
Genre:First Person Shooter
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language

This review of The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct was written by

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 15 years old Written byConor Coyle April 28, 2013

A Disappointment to an Awesome TV Series

I was quite disappointed with this, the graphics are that good and in Dead Island you can kick, create and upgrade weapons and gain rage, in this you can't do any of those. There are no weather conditions to change the atmosphere, it's just day and night, no fog, no, rain, no nothing. Some missions have too many zombies coming at you and surrounding you, and that was another reason I didn't like this. I would watch a few walkthrough before deciding to play it for real.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 11 years old November 18, 2014

Survival Instinct

there is very little swearing and some violence. They swear a lot less then in the show witch isn't even that much. As for the violence you only kill Walkers whitch are already dead. The game isn't even about killing it's about stiking with siblings and how to react in Wierd situations.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 10 years old October 27, 2014

Great game

This game is really good. It has a bit of violence and swearing. It's about sticking with your siblings and how to defend yourself in situations. I'm not saying it's for 3 years olds ( even though I wrote that above ) i wanted to bring the age down to 9 because thats a good age.It's a really good game (not as great as the show though) and I think you should always let your kids play it.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much swearing