Left4Dead2 Aussie ControversyNovember 20, 2009
In case you missed it. Left 4 Dead 2 was released earlier this week. I won’t blame you if you did miss it since Modern Warfare 2 dominated everything in it’s wake.
With this sequel came lots of new weapons, new lead characters, levels. And several new uncommon and special zombies. In addition to all this. The sequel brought a bump in the gore factor! At least in America…
First a little history. Australia is strict on gaming violence and gore. Many games have been banned or required censoring before they where able to be released in AU. A small handful of these ncluding L4D2 are Gears of War 2, all the Gran Theft Auto’s, Postal 1 and 2, Fallout 3, etc etc. The list goes on. It’s been going on for a decade+ now.
What makes this different? Well. There has been a larger outcry over Left 4 Dead 2 than previous games that where censored. The biggest culprit is Valves slobby job of censoring the game. While the original L4D had blood and gore. The sequel got the ban. Valves answer was to make bodies disappear, remove all dismemberment, and a couple other things. Let’s go through the check list of things the American version has that the Australian doesn’t.
Blood:Both versions have blood. One has WAY more than the other. Wanna take a stab at who’s has more?
The Uncut version has excessive amounts of blood. Spurting, splattering, spraying. It’s everywhere. While the Autralian version has an initial blood spurt as you make contact with enemies. It disappears quickly and never blurs your vision, gets on your weapons, walls on any other surface.
Is this missed? Yes. Does it take away from the gameplay? I personality don’t think so. While all the blood is cool. To say it “destroys the game without it” is silly.
Corpses:Uncut version has nearly as many as the game engine allows on screen. Pipe bombs are extra fun in openings as bodies will go flying through the air.
The Edited Version has none of this. Upon shooting an enemy. The body simply disappears. It’s not a jarring *pop* like cheap 60’s special effects. It’s a slow fade. But it can still be distracting. I’ve heard cases of bodies disappearing before even being hit? Or bodies flickering to black and vanishing. While I haven’t seen any of this. O would consider that a distraction. But game altering? Not really. It could pull you out of the immersion though.
Flammablity:Somethung that could be even more distracting is the fact that none of the zombies are flammable. When hit with a Molotov or gas can they will flare. Uncharred. And fall down, to then simply fade away. This is where the gameplay begins to change. In L4D2. When a zombie hits the ground. Walking over that flaming corpse will hurt you until it goes out. The edited version has no worry of this anymore.
Horde:I can’t be 100% sure fom what I’ve actually seen versus what I’ve played. But. The Australian version seems to have a thinner horde rush during cresendo events (car alarms being triggered.) Uncut version has massive zombie rushes that don’t seem to stop. But the videos I ha e seen of the edited version seems more sparse. If someone could explain. Maybe I am missing something? Perhaps because I was always playing with others? Maybe the Aussie videos i’ve seen are of “easy” and single player? I am not sure.
Zombie SWAT: Apart of the censorship involves “violence against authority figures”. Which means the SWAT zombies aren’t in the edited version. This is a definately game changer. The SWAT zombie are an uncommon spawn that is extra hard to bring down as they are armed with Kevlar padding and helmets. They take several shots to bring down.
With these uncommons not even in the Aussie version. That makes the edited version easier. Another change that actually effects gameplay.
While I can understand the outcry for the overly strict Australian rating system. I’m more than a little surprised that the lack of blood got more attention then the things that actually changed the gameplay feel.
IGN gave L4D2 a 9.0. While giving the Aussie version a 5.0. That is a huge difference. And all of there complaint was toward the lack of gore. No offense IGN. That is ridiculous. Personally. I’d give it a 6. And only mention the lack of blood. That wouldn’t be the majority of my score change. The actual changes to the gameplay (flames, thin horde, armored zombies). All of those would be my biggest concerns.
I am not justifying Valves editing technique. Because it did suck. I’m sure they’ll patch it all. I’m more annoyed by the communities outcry over gore. Sure it sucks. But… Is the lack of flying body parts really as bad as knowing you n00bs are getting off light with easier difficulty!?