German Blogger, writing the series "The worst thing about censorship is ███████ " (go check it out!) since I like to write about that topic and am invested in it a whole lot. Also writes some other stuff sometimes. Likes to listen to very strange bands and has the ultimate goal in life to taste every soft drink there is at least once.
Pure Gonzo - and while I thank god for Jim Sterling sometimes, I thank god for Hunter S. Thompson every day.
I'm a bastard. Don't trust me. Always keep asking, don let yourself get fed bullshit - not even by me.
I like good games. Yes, that's quite general, but I don't really like confining myself to certain genres. I like interesting approaches, invention and creativity. But I can enjoy a straight-up shooter as much as a "Bastion". It just has to be done well and appeal to me on some level.
Want to know anything else? Just leave a comment under a blog or write a message. Same goes for corrections (please), as English isn't my native language and thus isn't nearly perfect.
Salida dear readers,
my name is Jim aka "OpiumHerz" and as some of you may already guess by that nickname: I am german. With the blog series "The worst thing about censorship is ███████ " I want to simply give you a little insight in videogame censorship, which is still pretty much alive and kicking here in Germany (but I won't restrict myself to Germany exclusively).I'll try to post entries at least all two weeks or so. Feel free to comment for suggestions, corrections or critique.
This episode is about: Saints Row
Now from what I've been writing so far, many of you might think that Saints Row could have impossibly arrived uncut over here. And oh boy, are you right. Considering what I wrote in earlier entries, Saints Row is the definition of stuff the USK doesn't like. Unlike GTA the Saints Row-series never left any doubt that the "Gangsta style" is the one right way for life. If you want something, you take it. If it's someone else's, waste him, then take it. Fuck bitches, get money. It glorified the life as a career criminal with no even the slightest ethical questioning. And don't get me wrong, I love it for it. But the things I love are rarely what our ratings board loved. So it came as no surprise that all three parts for the series so far have been heavily censored. So let's take a look, shall we?
The first censorship concerns money dropped by killed civilians. Those are removed in all three parts. Thus killing of innocents isn't encouraged in any way any more, since it won't give you anything but a wanted level.
While the blood was still in part 1 and again in part 3, Saints Row 2 removed the blood splatters when shooting at someone. It also removed the blood splatters when the player was hit.
Notice the missing blood splatters when the player gets hit.
It pretty much shows how over-sensitive the publisher was here, since the blood was never a problem before or afterwards. Also no puddles of blood formed under the corpses in part 2. And of course ragdoll effects were removed altogether part 1 and 2. Then again, that doesn't matter too much, because the corpses were dissolving pretty quickly anyway. You shot them, they fell down, and then disappeared through magic.
Burning effect ingame.
Burning effect in a cutscene.
Now for the part specific censorship.
A really funny one were flames in Saints Row. Instead of actually burning the characters were just smoking really heavily. This even goes so far that a video sequence is censored in a way, that just makes it look stupid. Somebody is lighting his cigarette on a burning corpse. But the corpse just isn't burning in the german version. See for yourself, it's just stupid. And while the cutscenes were uncensored in part 2, the burning effect ingame was still censored that way.
In best Grand Theft Auto-tradition, two side quests were also removed. The first one was called Mayhem, where you have to rack up a certain amount of damage in a short time. Basically you stand in a spot and blow shit up and shoot people. Of course, since you couldn't do the activity, you couldn't get the rewards for them either.
The second removed activity was called Hitman and pretty much that. You had to kill certain targets with certain weapons. Since this activity was removed too, you couldn't unlock the special homie Mr. Wong.
In part 2 you were not able to grab people and use them as meatshields. It was still described in the german version In the german version, you could grab a person, but it would be thrown away instantly and the player could do nothing against it. Of course as a result you can't execute your human shield.
Funnily enough, this makes a mission possibly even more brutal. In one mission ingame you have to fight your way through a bank. In the uncensored version you can grab your target person and hostage your way out of the bank. In the german version the hostage is friendly enough to just follow you (instant Stockholm Syndrome, I guess), right into the trunk of your car.
Another early mission has you throwing hobos into their little shacks. While this would still be possible even with the censorship in place, the hobos just bounce off the walls in the german version. You have to shoot the shacks to bits and pieces, which isn't possible without unloading lots of bullets into them in the uncensored version.
Oh and remember that bossbattle with DJ Veteranchild? Who takes your homie Shaundi hostage? Yeah, not in the german version. Because not even NPCs can take hostages anymore. In the uncensored version you have to use flashbangs, so the boss lets go of Shaundi, then you can shoot him. In the german version he has no hostage, thus you can just open fire.
Uncensored: DJ Veteranchild holds Shaundi hostage, you can't open fire.
Censored: please headshot this guy right away.
And while we're at executions: you can't use the finisher move in the Fight Club activity anymore. The same goes for the Katana finishers. Those special little animations where you kill an enemy in a cool fashion up close were completely removed.
Also removed were all the things that give you respect. For example: headshots give you a little amount of respect (which you need to unlock new missions). Multi-Kills, car-kills, kills from a bike, kills through throws... the list of stuff that gets rated with a 9 star system goes on and on. The german version doesn't know these. At all. Just the driving tricks like powerslides remained. You don't even get points for taunting anymore. As a result, you can't unlock the rewards for doing these tricks really well. The drive by-"mini-game" was also completely removed.
And of course some activities got cut out again too. Mayhem was gone again too, of course. See part 1 for details for this. In Crowd Control you had to play bodyguard for a star, which usually contains throwing fans that are too eager off a roof or into airplane turbines or something like that. You can see why that was removed. In FUZZ you dressed as a police officer for a fake TV show and had to act out police brutality for the camera. And last but not least Trail Blazing got cut out. In this you drive on a quad on fire and earn points by ramming cars or civilians. Also, whenver you would hear lustfull moaning or comments like "Ride it, cowgirl", you hear nothing like that in the german version.
While not an activity, the horde mode mini-game Zombie Uprising which you can activate through interaction with an arcade machine was removed too. Here you play a civilian and have to fend off waves of undead. Also the homie "Zombie Carlos" isn't available anymore.
But hey, that wasn't enough. In the first mission you have to kill a doctor to flee. In the german version this doctor just isn't there.
No doctor in the medical bay you have to kill.
And while we're at removing stuff: the flamethrower and the satchel charge got removed too. You can't unlock these via cheats either.
Satchel charges changed to regular grenades in the german version.
Of course the cutscenes got censored here too. This time it was really blatant. In some scenes the screen turns black with white text on it that just says: "We ask for your understand - some really evil things are happening behind this black screen". It feels kinda like a spit in the player's face. I won't list all the censored cutscenes here, but just to give a few short examples: a report for the Stilwater university where you see drug consumation and fighting students, the player character hitting someone in the face with a bottle (completely unbloody), the player character shooting a friend so he doesn't have to suffer more, Gat torturing another gang member or a complete fight scene were censored.
To round off the package: some "evil words" were changed (we know this stuff from the Nazi entry), some stats were removed (for example the number of killed enemies), 8 achievements were removed (the points of those were split over to other achievements in the X-Box version), the manual was censored accordingly and even the cover was changed!
Now that was a mouthful, right? Well, Saints Row The Third was doing a bit better. Again, you couldn't grab and hold people. At all. You didn't just throw them away this time. Also the police was far easier to trigger in the german version. While you could get away with one or two kills without triggering a wanted level, this wasn't possible in the german version. And as the last censorship the horde mode (called "Whored Mode" this time) was removed again.
That's it. That's all the censorship part 3 got. Compare this to part 2, please. No money drops, no grabbing enemies, police is easier to trigger and removed horde mode (that nobody ever wanted anyway).
The Zombie Uprising arcade machine is just not interactable at all in the german version - notice the missing prompt.
The kicker of all this? Even with all those censorship, ALL THREE games so far got rated 18+ in their censored version. Yep, they still got the highest rating possible. From all three parts the uncensored version is indexed and Saints Row 2 still has the possibility of getting confiscated.
Funnily enough the last Humble Bundle, called Humble Deep Silver Bundle, contained Saints Row 2 and 3 (including DLC) and also Dead Island and Dead Island Riptide (both Dead Island games never released in Germany and were indexed). While a previous Humble Bundle was censored for german users, this time it was all there. We could activate Dead Island without a problem and Saints Row 2 and 3 were completely uncensored. Thumbs up for this, it made a LOT of german players really happy.
Saints Row 4, by the way, was announce to come completly uncut.