Saints Row IV is refused classification.

New classification laws came into effect January 1st this year with the induction of an adult rating for video games. This inclusion bought Australia in line with international bannedphonesstandards.

Unfortunately, today Acting Director of the Australian Classification Board (ABC) Mr. Donald McDonald (no, that’s his name…) announced that Saints Row IV had been refused classification under the new laws. According to the media release, the primary reason for the refusal was sexual violence

“In the Board’s opinion, Saints Row IV, includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context,” a press release explained. “In addition, the game includes elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards. Such depictions are prohibited by the computer games guidelines.”

It’s interesting to note that Saints Row the Third had the same incentives and themes in the game but was given an MA15+. While that rating was given under a system that didn’t have an R18+ classification, I can’t imagine that Volition have come up with anything more crazy than letting me run around hitting people with a purple dildo the size of a baseball bat.

Volition are yet to comment but I’ll be sure to update this post once they do.

EDIT: (Via OXM)

“Volition, the developer, are reworking some of the code to create a version of the game for this territory by removing the content which could cause offence without reducing the outlandish gameplay that Saints Row fans know and love. Saints Row IV has been awarded PEGI 18 and ESRB M ratings where fans can enjoy their time in Steelport as originally intended.”

We’re back to square one. Volition now have to re-write their code and appeal to the ACB for Saints Row IV to be sold in Australia. While the rest of the western world is playing an uncensored copy of the game, Australia could very well be stuck playing a watered down copy to appease the ratings board. Am I the only one who feels like the R18+ thing hasn’t worked?

ACB Media Release

Share with:

FacebookTwitterGoogleTumblrLinkedInReddit


Review: The Last of Us.

The Last of Us has me at a loss for words. When I first saw the trailer for this post-apocalyptic world, I was excited. It was amazingly pretty, the characters had depth and the live gameplay was impressive. Unfortunately, after a few weeks and a whole bunch of new trailers coming out, I promptly forgot about The Last of Us. After playing it, how I managed to forget is astonishing and I think this game is one that will stick with me for a good, long while.

From the moment you start the game, you’re thrown directly into the action. You’re as confused as Joel and his young daughter Sarah are and you want to know what’s going on as much as they do. Within the first 25 minutes of the game, I’d already felt guilt, panic, fear and heartbreak and the emotions continue to freely flow.
Trying to break down my favourite part of this game is hard. I’m not sure if it’s the hauntingly beautiful soundtrack from Gustavo Santaolalla that you don’t notice until it hits you and it overwhelms you or if it’s how Neil Druckmann has crafted the characters into people you care for and you want to protect but it all melts into a story with a gorgeous backdrop. Whether you’re running through the barren cities overrun with nature or trying to silently pass through a broken building trying not to alert the Clickers, the detail that has gone into this game is immense and very little has been overlooked.

In fact, even when talk about the monsters in this game, the developers have taken from real life inspirations. On the night of Joel’s birthday, a Cordyceps-like infection breaks out and spreads across the United States. The infection is based on Ophiocordyceps unilateralis which is a fungal infection that infects ants and alters the way they behave and eventually the infection uses them to spread spores to infect others. Ophiocordyceps unilateralis turns ants into zombies.

In the game, there are varying levels of infection which range from relatively tame to stomach-churning. While they aren’t your typical gruesome zombie with decaying flesh and missing

Last_of_us_infected

limbs, the infected in The Last of Us make you terribly uncomfortable. The Clickers (which I mentioned above) are completely blind because physical, fungal growths have formed on their faces. Clickers eventually become bloated and die at which their bodies will start producing infecting spores, like the real life infection.

Non-infected enemies are even more difficult to encounter. Naughty Dog developed a new AI-System called “Balance of Power” where enemies act more like real people. Enemies will take cover, call for help and try to flank you with their reinforcements and even take advantage of weaknesses. During gameplay, I’ve been taken by surprise when trying to reload and had someone grab me from behind. Thankfully, I’ve got Ellie.

Ellie is a masterpiece all of her own. This fowl-mouthed 14-year-old isn’t just a character in a game that’s essentially a game-length escort mission; she’s a fully-fleshed personality who takes care of Joel and herself. She’s a major catalyst for change with Joel, too.

Ellie was born after the Cordyceps infection spread and she’s never known a world where there aren’t military, checkpoints and infected so her personality is mature for her age, but she’s willing to take on so much more than you think she’s capable of. When Joel is being attacked, Ellie can help by attacking his attacker. Once or twice, she’s helped my Joel by stabbing his attacker in the neck! When she sees the outside world for the first time, she’s blown away by how beautiful it is.

the-last-of-us21

When I was first introduced to Ellie, she was just another person I had to protect and just someone else to get in the way but when you go through these events with her, she grows on you and you genuinely care for her well-being. I’ve found myself saying, “Excuse me, Ellie” when she’s blocking a doorway or wondering where she is during an attack because I want her to be safe.

The only ‘problem’ I’ve found (and I say ‘problem’ because I’m really just nit-picking at this point) is that sometimes I could put the controller down and not want to play for a while. It’s definitely not a bad thing, but I’m able to just stop where I’m at, save the game and come back to it later.

The Last of Us lives up to the hype. It’s been called ‘perfect’, a ‘masterpiece’ and some are calling it a significant title for the current generation of consoles. Everything about The Last of Us from the writing, the sound, the characters and the graphics works together and compliments each other. It’s scary, breath-taking, edge-of-your-seat kind of game play that you need to be a part of.

Naughty Dog have done something amazing with this game and I’m genuinely looking forward to see what they have in store for us next.

Share with:

FacebookTwitterGoogleTumblrLinkedInReddit


“Your Feedback Matters” – Microsoft Listen To Criticism and Change Everything.

Hardware developers have no respect for sleeping schedules I tell ya….

Today, Microsoft announced that it would remove the dreaded DRM and used-game policies that everyone has been so anxious about. Previously, your Xbox One would need to check in to the Xbox servers once every 24-hours to verify files. Microsoft tried to calm the waters by saying that the files that would be transferred were so small you could tether your phone to your Xbox for this check-in. Alas, the masses had spoken and they didn’t want to be anywhere near this DRM.

The used game policy was just as confusing and frustrating for consumers (even I’m still trying to get my head around the ex-policy). And that’s partly Microsoft’s fault, they weren’t very clear in explaining how trading and lending games. But they’re now changing the policy so that used games are handled the same way they’re handled on your Xbox 360; whether that’s a good or bad thing.

What’s new? The Xbox One is now region free which is something I’ve wanted for years. For too long have we been punished in Australia for our location and thus, we get games about a month behind the world (which the exception of one or two games to keep the unruly masses at bay) so now, you don’t have to wait. I’m a sucker for pre-order shinies so I might still have to wait, but at least I’ve got the choice to get a game in advance.

There’s an article on Gizmodo that outlines the ways that this change could really suck for the customer. It’s a really good read. I’d suggest going in with an open mind and seeing how it changes your mind on things.

Share with:

FacebookTwitterGoogleTumblrLinkedInReddit


What I Assume Is Going Through Joel’s Mind In “The Last Of Us” At The Moment

Tess, the little Bitten Chick and I just escaped the train station from Hell and that old museum and now we’re at the back on what looks like an old warehouse.

Tess keeps looking at me like I’m meant to do something but opening doors is her part of the agreement. I stand here, look broody and hurt, shoot bullets and she opens doors but fine I’ll take a crack at it.

Well, it needs a key and I certainly don’t have that key. May be it’s on this dead guy over here… Nope, he’s just a dead Firefly making sure that Bitten Chick is fine and dandy (she’d probably be better if she wasn’t bitten and all) punch it? Punching zombies makes them die… Nuh, that just made me look like a tool. May be if I shoot it! Nope, that didn’t work…

Fuck. I don’t know. TESS, AREN’T YOU MEANT TO OPEN THE FUCKING DOORS IN THIS STUPID FUCKING PLACE!?

 

(Review coming soon… If I can open the stupid door/gate thing)

Share with:

FacebookTwitterGoogleTumblrLinkedInReddit


What You Can Expect To Play On Your Xbox One or Playstation 4.

With the Microsoft and Sony press conferences at E3 done and dusted, the console war reignites with new passion and more glory than ever before. But, before you make a  concrete decision what console will be at home in your lounge room, it’s worth taking a look at what games you’ll be playing on your couch. Both Microsoft and Sony have an extensive list of confirmed games to back up their latest hardware and both have some pretty interesting exclusives.

Let’s take a look at the Xbox One’s game list first:

Infinity Ward and Dice will be competing for your FPS war game with Call of Duty: Ghosts and Battlefield 4 respectively coming to your Xbox One. Square-Enix announced Final Fantasy XV, which is the latest in the series and it also announced it would be bringing the latest instalment in the previously PlayStation exclusive series Kingdom Hearts to the new Xbox, too. This is a surprising move since none of the other Kingdom Hearts series is available on the Xbox platform.

343 announced another Halo game. This will be the 9th game in the series and it’ll be interesting to see if 343 Studios can follow up Halo 4 with another brilliant addition. Talking about Halo, Bungie (the developer responsible for the series for 9 years) is bringing the previously thought-to-be PS4 exclusive Destiny to the Xbox One, also. Destiny is generating a lot of positive chatter among critics and journalists and gamers are excited to see how this game turns out.

Crytek announced an Xbox One exclusive by the name of Ryse. Set in ancient Rome, it’s a tale of loss and revenge with a Roman warrior witnessing the murder of his family. Crytek are known for their pretty games and Ryse looks to continue the trend.  The release date of Ryse is TBA.

So there are a few choices for you if you’ve decided to get an Xbox One. But what if you’ve been wooed by Sony? What do you have to look forward too?

Ubisoft have confirmed that Assassins Creed 4: Black Flag will be coming to a PS4 near you in the future along with The Crew. Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts will also be on the newest PlayStation so you can shoot’em up with your friends. The long awaited sequel Mirror’s Edge 2 will be jumping on to PlayStation 4’s everywhere, which is fantastic news. Mirror’s Edge is a game I hold quite favourably in my heart so I’m really looking forward to seeing how Mirror’s Edge 2 turns out.

Everyone is expecting the Dragon Age Inquisition from BioWare and we’ll be getting Phantom Pain from the new Metal Gear Solid V game from Kojima Productions. It’s been confirmed that Kiefer Sutherland of ‘24’ fame will star as our favourite box-hiding Snake.

I think my favourite game announcement was that the Mad Max movie series was getting a video game! Warner Brothers is cashing in on the Australian cult series and a game but strangely, no Australian accents featured on the trailer. Could this be a sign of things to come?

There is a great variety of games for both consoles coming out in the next few years and whether you pick up an Xbox One, a PlayStation 4 or decide to be greedy and get both, you’ll be entertained for quite a while.

 

Share with:

FacebookTwitterGoogleTumblrLinkedInReddit



%d bloggers like this: