Back at E3 I was dismayed to learn that, thanks to prudes overseas, Borderlands 2's darkly humorous death animations would have to be toned down from the original's, which included eyeball-exploding electrocutions.

Well, if the official ratings description handed down by the ESRB is any indication, I needn't have worried. Borderlands 2 went to gold master yesterday and it appears Gearbox highlighted, underlined and put a gold star beside all of the good stuff for the ratings board. And why not? They knew this game wasn't going to come within a mile of anything lower than an M, so might as well go whole hog and end up with an official document that reads like marketing copy. Are you ready for this?

This is a first-person shooter in which players join rebel forces to take down an oppressive corporation on the fictional planet of Pandora. As players explore open-world environments, they complete missions to gain experience and increase their characters' skills/abilities. Players use machine guns, sniper rifles, flamethrowers, explosives, and weaponized vehicles to kill human-like characters and hostile aliens in frequent combat. Firefights contain realistic gunfire/explosions; injured enemies scream and emit exaggerated splashes of blood. Various weapons result in dismembered limbs or bloody gibs. Some missions depict intense acts of violence: viewing characters getting electrocuted; shooting a man in the face; killing players' incinerating a cult member as part of a ritual sacrifice. The dialogue contains jokes/one-liners that reference sexual material (e.g., "I will hang myself from my own tombstone if in you I can't put my bone," "If there's anything they love more than getting to second base with their sisters, it's cars," "Bacon is for sycophants and products of incest."); during some sequences, players can find and collect adult-themed magazines-though no actual nudity is depicted. One mission requires players to consume three alcoholic beverages from a bar before they can progress. The words "sh*t," "p*ssies," and "a*shole" can be heard in the dialogue, in addition to language censored by audible bleeps (e.g., "God-[bleep]-ing-dammit").


Hold on. So that's no breasts, thousands of bodies, numerous motor vehicle chases with crash and burn. Dismemberment fu. Bloody gib fu. Incest fu. Ritual sacrifice. Ritual sacrilege. Drive-In Academy Award nomination for whoever said "If there's anything they love more than getting to second base with their sisters, it's cars."

Four stars, Joe Bob says check it out when the game gets here Sept. 18.

Borderlands 2 [ESRB. h/t Jason B.]