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Dead Island gets ESRB Mature rating

Stamp on a zombie's head.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Zombie game Dead Island has been given a Mature sticker by North American age-rating body ESRB.

Blood and gore and violence are the main reasons why. You can dismember zombies with a wide variety of weaponry and even stamp on their vacant heads to finish them off.

Dead Island also apparently has references to drugs, under age sex, alcohol and naughty words.

"This is a first-person shooter in which players join a group of survivors who must battle a zombie infestation on a tropical island," the ESRB website declared. "Players use baseball bats, knives, axes, shotguns, and rifles to kill waves of zombies. Battles are accompanied by screams of pain, realistic gunfire, and slow-motion effects. When zombies are knocked to the ground, players can sometimes stomp on their heads to complete kills.

"Large blood splatter stains the surrounding environment and players' weapon. Players can also dismember zombies, and various scenes depict bloody torsos, legs, or other mutilated body parts.

"As the game progresses, alcoholic beverages can be consumed to increase damage output, resulting in screen-blurring effects; in one cut-scene, drunken characters are depicted stumbling around a party. Some sequences also reference drug use; one mission requires players to retrieve drugs for a character (e.g., 'I haven't shot up since the day before yesterday and I'm getting the chills.').

"The game also contains a handful of sexual references in the dialogue (e.g., 'One rich bugger I investigated was clearly molesting his fourteen-year-old daughter.'); one scene depicts a bikini-clad woman tied to a bed and surrounded by video cameras. The words 'f**k' and 'sh*t' can be heard in dialogue."

In the UK, Dead Island was rated 18 by the BBFC. The game's "strong bloody violence" was deemed to "dwell on the infliction of both pain and injury" and as such was too much for a 15 certificate.

Dead Island is a promising survival-horror game that takes place in a once idyllic tropical holiday paradise. Call of Juarez developer Techland hopes Dead Island will stand out by offering an open world, RPG customisation and RPG-style looting.

Eurogamer's Dead Island preview was published only last week. "It's a little crass, a little off-key and a little low-budget," wrote Martin Robinson of Dead Island, "but it's set to be an enjoyably pulpy thrill - and Dead Island's final surprise, when it launches later this summer, should be a pleasant one."

Dead Island at E3.

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