It's the height of the fall rush, and more and more games rain down upon us every day. And with so many games, whoever will tell us which of them contains objectionable content? The Entertainment Software Rating Board, that's who!
Each week, we take a look at the newest, most salacious ESRB ratings and assemble them here for The Week in Dangerous Games. From sexy to druggy to violent, let's see what's new for the first week of November.
First of all, the biggest newly rated game this week is doubtless Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. It follows in the footsteps of its hyper-violent predecessors. "Players use pistols, rifles, machine guns, and explosives to injure/kill enemies; the frenetic conflicts are highlighted by realistic gunfire, screams of pain, and large splashes of blood from injured characters. Blood-splatter effects appear often in the surrounding environment, in addition to dead bodies lying in pools of blood." The game also features "more intense" acts of violence, including "a defenseless prisoner getting lit on fire; a man losing his arm from a sniper shot (with blood spurting from the wound); and a family dying (off-screen) in an explosion"
Hmm, I think I remember a certain someone getting his arm blown off back in the first Modern Warfare. Could this be a flashback? The ESRB also warns us that in some instances, "scattered packages of drugs appear in the environment (e.g., packets of narcotics that explode in white puffs when shot); in multiplayer mode, players can also unlock an emblem that resembles a cannabis leaf." Also, the words "The words "f**k," "sh*t," and "a*shole" can be heard in the dialogue." They don't mention the other, much more problematic dialogue you'll hear online.
Lastly, there's MW3's plot synopses, which super spoils (sarcasm) everything about the game (sarcasm) by telling us that in the game, "players assume the role of military operatives tasked with thwarting the plans of a terrorist leader."
The new PSP game Hakouki: Demon of the Fleeting Blossom has such a lovely name. Surely nothing could be upsetting or objectionable! It's about a blossom. Well, actually… the game features lotsa killing, revolving around the story of a girl looking for her father in 19th century japan, and the stillframe cutscenes depict violent acts accompanied by "flesh-impact sounds" like the ones we last saw when Diablo III made an appearance here.
The upcoming PC game Global Ops: Commando Libya doesn't quite compete with MW3 for content, but it does have the usual blood, gore, and exploding buildings, F-bombs, and s-bombs. Are "s-bombs" a thing? Is it still a bomb if it's just shit? Maybe it's more like an S-Bullet.
The big, colourful action RPG Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is certainly bloody, with characters finishing battles by "impaling enemies, tearing them in half." No big deal, right? But the books that can be collected in the game have some fine chestnuts, including "His trousers down, his passions flared/He groped with drunken hand," a reference to "panting and sighs of love," and the following gem: " . . . from the motions of their bodies, I perceived that they were taking part in an activity that was altogether satisfactory." That last one is so erudite that I'm having a hard time thinking of it as dirty language.
Also rated but with no included plot synopses, we have Ring of Red for the PS3, which is rated "T" presumably because it gives all Xbox 360 owners red-ring flashbacks. Also rated is God Hand, which is rated M presumably for being divisive among gamers as to its quality. The DSi has the new 1950's Lawn Mower Kids, which sounds like either the most boring simulation game or the most horrifying horror game ever made. Given that it's rated "E," I'm going with the former.
That's all for this week, folks. Check back next week for more scandalous language, more exploding buildings, and more flesh-impact sounds.