Censorship and idiot design decisions

October 29, 2009

So to follow up on my earlier article about Left 4 Dead 2 being censored, we have this video, comparing the Australian version vs the uncut version.

Now while the censored version is idiotic, the uncut is equally so.

The blood splattering the screen is completely ridiculous. It’s like in race sims where you crest a hill and see a lens flare. THE HUMAN EYE does not cause lens flares. It’s a stupid graphical trick that looks cool but is utterly unrealistic and gives the impression you’re watching through a camera rather than an active participant in the world.

The blood splattering the screen is ridiculous for that very reason. Do me a favour. Go into your kitchen or bathroom, fill your hands with water and throw it in your face. What happens? Your vision is obscured, you have to blink lots. THAT is what happens when invasive fluid hits the human eye.

It’s an increasing trend in violent movies to splatter the camera with blood. The criminally underrated Shoot ‘Em Up being an immediate example. (I watched it again the other day so it’s fresh in my mind.) It’s a cheesy gimmick, but when you’re obviously only passively involved in events, it’s forgivable.

Which brings us back to L4D2. The blood splatters are illogical and make no sense. That amount of blood, if they really insist on doing it, should obscure your vision. All that blood flying around like some sort of crimson shower would get in your eyes. However it seemingly does not have that effect. It just splatters the “camera” through which you are participating, thus removing you from the reality, which is an odd choice as unlike movies you are directly controlling a character and participating in the universe. Which leads us to the other idiocy of this design decision.

You’re killing humans who have been infected by an unknown contagion. (We’ll save the discussion on whether they can actually be classified as zombies for another time.) So of course the one thing you want to do with an infected individual is COVER YOURSELVES IN THEIR INFECTED BODILY FLUIDS BY HACKING AT THEM WITH A SWORD!

Melee in the first L4D made sense. You hit them with your gun. This was realistic. If you’re being charged by a horde of slavering infected beasts and can’t fire, once they’re on top of you it stands to reason that you have very little to lose by smashing them in the face with your gun to try and get them away from you. Fair enough.

This latest one though, actively choosing weapons that will cause infected material to splatter god knows where is ridiculous from a realism perspective. Yes, I realise arguing on the realism of a zombie game seems somewhat far fetched, but the fact is if they want to be that graphic and make the game immersive, which they surely do, then they should consider the logic and intelligence of the situation.

Just like in movies, you need a certain suspension of disbelief, and it’s jarring when characters do something utterly stupid or something else pulls you out of the reality crafted on screen. In the case of this game, even if I did plan to buy it, seeing that ridiculous effect would kill any interest in the game.

In the universe of Left 4 Dead 2, an infection has contaminated a large portion of the population. To see survivors hacking and slashing and spraying themselves with infected material with scant regard for the consequences?

Let’s face it. They deserve to be left 4 dead.


5 Responses to “Censorship and idiot design decisions”

  1. Skynet Says:

    While I agree with you, if these people are immune like the 4 in L4D, having blood splatter everywhere won’t be an issue. Yeah it’s pretty gross and they might still carries diseases from when they were uninfected, but if they’re immune to this unknown virus they could probably bath in it and be fine.

  2. Skynet Says:

    Oh yeah, I also agree that splatter on the camera is ridiculous as you’re seeing it from their perspective and it doesn’t work the way they’re showing in game. A game that got this right is Metroid Prime. When you walk through water and waterfalls, etc. you would see beads of water on the screen. This makes sense however because Samus wears a helmet and actually adds to the realism of it. In a game like this it’s just over the top and rather stupid.

  3. FIREWIRE1394 Says:

    the uncut is better than the cut one.. yeah the blood splatter sucks, but not as much as fucking bodies just disappearing.

  4. Steve Says:

    Skynet: I don’t know. I mean if I told you you were immune to AIDS, then sprayed you with AIDS infected blood… Or any fatal disease for that matter… Unless I had concrete proof I was immune (like I’d be bitten etc…) I still wouldn’t be taking any chances. And near as I can tell from the story the immunity is just kinda “Well, guess we’re immune!”

    Firewire: Don’t get me wrong. The cut version is idiotic and has no business being released.

  5. Naomi Says:

    I think you’re forgetting something very important… When there is a new popular virus you have to do anything and everything to survive for as long as possible. If it comes down to being torn limb for limb, it actually would be realistic to hack against your assailants with anything and everything, even if you became splattered with infected materials. There’s got to be a swimming pool somewhere to wash off…

    But in all seriousness, I think they had to do something to add dramatic tension to this game, as they can no longer depend on dimly lit corners and shadowy passages to provide cheap scares. Unfortunately, I agree that the camera splatter effect is more annoying that anything else. They could have done better. Stylistically, this game doesn’t appeal to me nearly as much as the first. By setting game play primarily in daylight, they really limited the feeling of suspense. I’ve only played the xBox demo – which I enjoyed immensely – but it doesn’t hold my interest nearly as much as I’d hoped. Seeing a horde streak down a sunbathed street while you stand pipe bomb in hand isn’t nearly as gratifying as surviving a horde rushing you in dark warehouse corner.

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