As games continue to evolve as a medium, the stories that they tell are growing up as well. The themes, scenarios, and characters that developers have come up with have, as a result, made ratings systems around the world more important than ever.
The Mature rating is the highest a game can receive while still being sold in stores, plastered on the likes of The Last of Us, BioShock Infinite, and countless more, letting you know straight away what you’re getting yourself into.
Some M-rated games, though, are more mature than others. Sometimes, the content descriptors on the back of the box are as deep as a game gets. We’re not prudes by any means, but we know when a shallow game has little to offer besides gratuitous language or violence.
Here are five of those games.
With Beyond: Two Souls releasing tomorrow, I look back at Quantic Dream’s previous title, Heavy Rain. I look back and boy, oh boy, was that not a good video game. Hey, I give the game all the credit in the world for the effort. The idea of putting story first and foremost is an admirable idea that I can get behind. Heavy Rain, though, ended up being a hot mess.
The writing — considering the focus on story — was a huge disappointment, especially as far as character development was concerned. Players are tasked with undressing and watching Madison shower immediately after being introduced to her for no reason, all before being assaulted in her home. The eyebrow raising part of the nudity is that it’s completely unnecessary — it turns out to be part of a nightmare sequence. And try as we might, it’s hard to forget how awkward that sex scene was between her and Ethan.
Finally, it’s hard to take the story seriously when you’re spending half of the time making fun of the game’s terrible voice acting. Ethan Mars goes through several distinct accents, and the children in the game are clearly not as American as they’re portrayed in the game.
So this one’s pretty obvious. It’s a game about a scantily clad cheerleader that mows down zombies for six hours. It’s not exactly trying to be Shadow of the Colossus.
Juliet Starling isn’t even a bad character, but Lollipop Chainsaw seems to have been written by teenage boys, for teenage boys. She’s relentlessly sexualized, and some of the boss characters have a tendency to yell less-than-flattering words at Juliet.
It’s an alright game, but it’s the kind that creates an awkward situation if someone walks into the room as you play.
Grand Theft Auto V
You can plug any GTA game in this spot, but let’s just go with the most current. Everything that happens on-screen is a purely M-rated affair, that much is certain. But it’s often a crass glorification or ham-fisted attempt at parody that it’s difficult to take very seriously.
The writing and dialogue for characters within the main story is usually pretty good, but let’s be honest: Stuff outside of that — things like pedestrian chatter, radio ads, and fake products — often comes off as juvenile. It’s a world where Sprite is Sprunk, and 69 is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to mathematics.
There’s plenty more to it than that, but we’ve only got so much time and space. We have a full review of the game coming soon, after all.