It will probably come as no surprise to anyone that the Rockstar, Team Bondi crime thriller L.A. Noire has received a Mature rating from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. However, if anyone is curious as to exactly why the game received the seventeen and older mark, the ESRB is happy to oblige with a complete summary for the rating. Rather than trudging through the whole thing, here are the highlights.
In regard to the violence the player will be engaging in:
…shootouts are highlighted by realistic gunfire, cries of pain, and blood spurts that stain injured characters and the surrounding environment. Cutscenes also depict instances of violence, including a character being beaten with a crowbar (off screen)—large spurts of blood are depicted in the foreground.
The game also doesn’t pull any punches with the investigation portions:
…players may come across crime scenes in which badly beaten or mutilated corpses are subject to investigation; players are able to examine victims’ bodies close-up, surveying various bruises and bloody cuts for evidence—a few female corpses are depicted fully nude with fleeting images of pubic hair. Investigations sometimes pertain to sexual assault crimes, and details are often conveyed in clinical terms through dialogue or on-screen text…Some sequences allow players to collect/manipulate drug-related evidence such as marijuana packets, morphine syringes, or amphetamine pills…
And finally there are the standard flourishes of classy language that can usually be found in a Rockstar game:
Language such as ‘f**k,’ ‘sh*t,’ ‘c*nt,’ ‘n**ger,’ and ‘sp*c’ can be heard in the dialogue.
Even though Team Bondi says this is a game for everyone, kids definitely don’t fall into that group. Although, aside from the rough language and the nudity, most of the summary sounds like the average Law and Order or CSI episode. While those shows do dabble in mature content, most people would probably be fine with letting an young teenager watch them. A rating like this goes to show the difference between the power of interactive media versus passive media.
The description doesn’t say just how much gore, violence or nudity the player will encounter, but it does lead one to wonder about their frequency throughout the game. It would be a shame for a game that is already experiencing a high level of prestige to get gratuitous with the mature themes just for the sake of maturity.
Do you think this type of description will turn players away from L.A. Noire, or will it draw them to it? Should the ESRB get extra points for the most unintentionally funny line in a ratings summary? “…fleeting images of pubic hair…?” Really?
We’ll find out just how mature L.A. Noire gets when it starts walking the beat on May 17th for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
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