10 most violent video games of 2017 and child-friendly alternatives to keep the kids happy – and safe
This year has seen some of the bloodiest, scariest, most gruesome games ever to come out, but don’t worry parents – there are some great alternatives for younger players to sink their teeth into
Every year, video game graphics become more realistic and immersive, bringing players closer to the action and story than ever before. With violent video games, this realism ratchets up the brutality.
Despite that, video game promotions target children way younger than the games’ age rating. Trailers, demos, blogs and more air on television, go viral on social media and are discussed endlessly on game sites.
Marketers advertise the excitement, the depth of realism and the cool gameplay – but they often don’t tell you exactly how violent the games are. The truth is, most of the hyper-realistic, hyper-popular games are best left to mature players.
Below are 10 of the most extreme titles to come out this year. A lot of them are well-designed gameplay experiences, but they’re definitely not for kids – so we’re offering two alternatives for each game, one for younger players and one for older players. The age ratings are based on the opinions of US-based charity monitoring organisation Common Sense Media.
Gamers try their best to be the last one standing in this online shooter, which throws up to 100 players into a constantly shrinking arena. Whether using firearms, cars, melee weapons or bare hands, players have to try to kill everyone they come across to ensure their safety. Even alliances between players can quickly be tossed aside in favour of points and survival, undermining the concepts of cooperation, loyalty and teamwork.
Alternative shooters: Hard Reset Redux (10+), Destiny 2 (13+)
Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition
Few sci-fi action games push the envelope as much as the Bulletstorm series, which focuses on players using guns, kicks and an electric whip-like device to destroy their opponents. There’s plenty of blood, gore and dismemberment, and players get points for killing enemies in extreme ways.
Alternative sci-fi action: ReCore: Definitive Edition (12+), Gravity Rush 2 (14+)
This massively multiplayer online role-playing game is full of bloody, gory hack-and-slash action that includes decapitations and dismemberment. Other game events highlight the brutality of Conan’s world, its environment and its subject matter, which includes cannibalism, torture and human sacrifice.
Alternate MMOs: Guild Wars 2: Heart of Thorns (12+), Marvel Heroes 2016 (13+)
Dark Souls III: The Ringed City
The end of this incredibly difficult action role-playing game franchise doesn’t skimp on the blood, gore or shock factor, as fantasy creatures moan and gush blood when struck by medieval weapons. Bodies are frequently seen scattered throughout the environment and players will slash, impale and smash enemies to pieces.
Alternate action RPGs: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (10+), Horizon Zero Dawn (13+)
Dead by Daylight
In this slasher game, a remorseless killer hunts down survivors to sacrifice them to an evil entity, using a variety of weapons to hack, stab and impale characters. Injured players may crawl on the ground leaving pools of blood behind and can be hung on meat hooks in brutal death sequences.
Alternative scary games: Five Nights at Freddy’s 4 (12+), Darkest Dungeon (16+)
Combat between three factions plays a major role in this action fighting game set in a medieval fantasy world. Each entity tries to assert its dominance over the others using melee weapons, such as swords, pikes and spears. Kills are frequently shown in close-up with large splashes of blood, while plenty of arenas show severed heads on spikes and other gruesome imagery.
Alternate multiplayer action games: Portal Knights (10+), Fortnite (13+)
Friday the 13th: The Game
Like a digital version of the horror movie franchise, this multiplayer slasher game places one player in the role of Jason hunting down and killing opponents, who assume the roles of different camp counsellors. Grisly violence abounds as characters are killed with weapons, environmental objects or even Jason’s bare hands. The cut scenes and gameplay feature tons of blood and gore.
Alternative action games: Cuphead (10+), Alan Wake (14+)
Gory scares run throughout this bloody horror game, which forces players to try their best to escape from cultists wielding weaponry and farm implements. These enemies only want to catch and torture the player in bloody, gruesome ways, and multiple scenes of viscera and stabbing are frequently shown, as well as the violent birth of the Antichrist.
Alternate scary games: Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (9+), Zombie Vikings (13+)
Resident Evil 7 Biohazard
Scares aren’t the only thing to shock gamers in this violence-packed game that glorifies cruelty as players use shotguns, chainsaws, explosives and other weapons against human and inhuman creatures. There are plenty of disturbing images of open wounds and injuries, and characters are dismembered, impaled or killed in brutal ways.
Alternative survival action games: Plants Vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 (10+), Adr1ft (13+)
Sniper Elite 4
War games frequently highlight massive casualties, but this shooter set during the second world war casts the player as a sniper. Using knives, explosives and a variety of firearms, you travel to some of the most dangerous locations of the war to conduct stealthy attacks against Nazi soldiers. Some kills are slowed down and highlighted with graphic X-ray visuals indicating the brutality of the damage inflicted on its target from a fired bullet.
Alternative shooter games: Splatoon 2 (10+), Overwatch (13+)