When Left 4 Dead 2 was originally refused classification in Australia, the Classification Board noted the "high impact violence" carried out against "living humans infected with a rabies-like virus". It sounded like the Board viewed the game's enemies as human rather than zombies. But apparently that's not why it was banned.
Gamespot has revealed that when Left 4 Dead 2's Australian distributor EA appealed the decision, it tried to argue to the Review Board that because the game's violence was "unrealistic" and its zombie enemies "fictional", it should receive an MA15+ rating.
In response, the Board didn't buy EA's line, claiming there is "insufficient delineation between the depiction of the general zombie figures and the human figures as opposed to the clearly fictional ‘infected’ characters".
What comes as a surprise, however, is that ultimately this delineation wouldn't have mattered. As the Board went on to say, "whether the objects of the violence were fictional or real, and whether a 15 year old could discern the difference, is largely irrelevant where the game displays the level of realism this one does."
The Gamespot report also lists many examples of the "high impact" violence observed by the Board. It was the accumulation of these aspects, not whether or not violent acts were carried out on human or zombie enemies, that in the eyes of the Board warranted Left 4 Dead 2 being refused classification.
Aussie censor board explains L4D2 banning [Gamespot]