When Soldier of Fortune: Payback was refused classification by Australia’s Office of Film & Literature Classification, people were up in arms. Upon thinking on the subject further, OZ residents should have been breathing a sigh of a relief — finally opening and playing my copy earlier this week, I can confirm that they wouldn’t have been missing much.
Well, it’s back on again, as Activision has agreed to modify the game to meet standards of the OFLC, giving it an MA15+ rating, and effectively “un-banning” the game. What was removed? Oh, all of the “best parts” that were keeping it from the shelves in the first place — ultra-violence, dismemberment … that sort of thing.
Again, I can confirm that Australian’s won’t be missing much. The over-the-top violence and dismemberment that has been a staple of the series isn’t aging that well. Yeah, the blood spurts and the limbs fly, but even for those who find joy in such things will be disappointed. Shoot a guy in the chest? He might lose an arm. Firing a shotgun in the direction of an enemy may result in him losing a leg (or an arm!), too.
Can we at least start justifying our ultra-violent games with accurate portrayals of dismemberment, and (God forbid) solid gameplay?