This is one story I’ve been following for a little while, ever since I saw the trailer for it on a website showcasing this “murder simulator” as it would later be called. I am, of course, talking about the game Hatred by Destructive Creations. If you’ve missed it, I’ll summarize the gameplay for you. Basically, you’re a dude who has had enough with people and all the living that they are constantly doing and vow to take out as many people as you can before the police show up and remind you that they take the “protect and serve” part of their slogan seriously. As you could probably guess, this didn’t please too many people. Gabe Newell of Steam even pulled the game from, I believe it was Greenlight, before apologizing and putting it back up.
Well, if it’s not out yet, it will be soon. Me? I grew up in the 90s. I remember putting the Mortal Kombat blood code in my friend’s Sega Genesis version of the game, because blood was cool and we all wanted to be cool. But I had first written Hatred off as childish. I mean, a METAL!!!! looking dude goes on a rampage? Sounds like the developers of this game wore too much black during high school. (No offense to those that did. I became friends with a lot of these people and they are usually all pretty cool.)
Well, fast forward several months, and some lets plays and reviews of the game started coming out. Of course, with all the “controversy” the game had, I had to check it out. As a side note, is anyone else getting tired of basically every single thing on the Internet being “controversial?” I can’t browse three pages without being reminded that some person somewhere didn’t like some thing because of some reason.
Anyway, I digress. I watched Total Biscuit’s “WTF is…” series, because I trust him as competent news source in these sorts of things. And, I have to admit, the game looked sort of fun. It has a terrible premise, but done in a way that reminds me Diablo 2. And when TB started saying how difficult the game was, it piqued my interest. However, the NPCs you’re supposed to kill behave nothing like real life and the fact you heal your character by executing nearly dead civilians took several notches away from the “simulator aspect” of the game. That, and the gameplay I watched had the dude carrying around a freakin’ flamethrower. Combine that with his “Trench Coat of Holding” and it comes off as just another fantasy game, in my eyes.
The executions weren’t even that brutal. And you can turn them off, because apparently, it gets old seeing METAL!!!!!! dude shove a few bullets into a person’s skull. Honestly, I had more trouble watching the fatalities in the new Mortal Kombat X game than the executions in Hatred.
So, all in all, I thought it was a decent first game by a new developer. They want 20 bucks for it, but nah. I’d pay maybe five, since TB said they gameplay got a little stale. But completely destructible environments? That’s really cool!
Then, the most surprising aspect of the game was revealed. It’s one of the few dozen games on the market right now that’s rated Adults Only, or AO by the ESRB.
I couldn’t believe it. This game was so tame, I even let my daughter crawl up on my lap and watch with me. And she nearly fell asleep. That’s how not really gory the game was. It’s a 3/4 overhead view, and zoomed out enough that you can’t see blood when you’re shooting people. And the executions happen fast and again, lack any really gore unless you’re using a shotgun. But then there’s games like Mortal Kombat X that take fatalities to a whole new level. It was cool in the 16 bit era, but the super realistic fatalities just don’t seem fun anymore. Sure, you can cut off the front of someone’s head and their brain and eyes ooze off, but, it’s just missing that certain charm from MKs of yesteryear. Now, that game has like 50 times the violence of Hatred. And let’s not forget games like GTA, Postal and other stuff, and they rated Hatred as AO?
I’m sure it’s the premise of the game. While you can slaughter civilians in GTA games, it’s not the goal. You can rip off people’s arms in MK, but it’s not the goal. The goal with Hatred is to murder civilians. And that alone gets is rated an AO?
I don’t agree with that. This game could easily be MA. All it is, is simply murder, which is done on literally hundreds if not thousands of games. But AO? What’s adult about it? I honestly wouldn’t mind if my daughter played that in her teenage years. Of course, I’m one of those weird parents that’s telling her the difference between fantasy and reality, so there’s that.
I’m not advocating that we should all get over violence in games. But we should save ratings like this for games that really deserve them. And Hatred, by no means, deserves its AO rating.
It also reminded me of that one level in Call of Duty 4 where you mow down civilians in an airport. They had a disclaimer up and everything, so I watched it one day while bored. It was pretty boring. Again, the civilians behaved so unrealistically, I couldn’t suspend my belief. But it really didn’t bother me the way it did other people. I guess a quote from TB sums it all up. I’m paraphrasing here, but pretty much, yes, I am desentizied to the murder of pixels in video game. that in no way reflects real life. It’s not a big deal to kill NPCs, since, well, they’re NPCs. I did it all the time in the Elder Scrolls games, to see if I could take over an entire city.
So Hatred is just that. just killing people. The people aren’t real and the main character isn’t real. It’s a fictional place and everything is made up. So it doesn’t bother me. Not saying you’re wrong if it does bother you. All that means is that we grew up two different ways. But still, I think the rating of AO is overdoing it a little bit.
Catch ya later!