ESRB Descriptions Get Weird With Left 4 Dead 2, Kamen Rider Ratings

Illustration for article titled ESRB Descriptions Get Weird With Left 4 Dead 2, Kamen Rider Ratings

The Entertainment Software Ratings Board is home to invaluable information—and not just when they leak game details early. The ESRB's typically sterile content descriptions are enormously entertaining, as proven by entries for Brutal Legend, Bayonetta and Scribblenauts.


But the ESRB may have a new, non-sterile policy for game rating summaries. That, or Left 4 Dead 2 writer Chet Faliszek is responsible for said summary. Oh, it starts off normal enough, noting that "the 'Boomer'-Infected explode in a shower of blood and bile when shot, which clouds players' view of the impending zombie swarm." Then it switches things up. With italics.

Here's the second half of the description, with emphasis retained.

Bladed melee weapons and direct hits from rifles, shotguns, etc., cause decapitation or dismemberment; intense depictions include: piles of the Infected in a pool of blood along the roadside; intestines spilling out of abdominal wounds; zombie jibs shooting in all directions; charred innards; and skeletal bits and unclaimed torsos. While the litany of somewhat "gruesome" depictions attests to the Mature rating, the over-the-top onslaught is, in some ways, mitigated by the exaggerated menacing evil (camp?) of the drone-like zombie horde; the genre homage (horror, zombies, . . . cricket paddle) is palpable. Consumers might also wish to know that the game includes profanity, such as "sh*t," "as*hole," and "b*tch"; however, it is the intense violence, the blood and gore that are the primary factors for the Mature rating.

Interestingly, it almost reads like a justification of Left 4 Dead 2's violent display of zombie thrashing.

Now, for the Kamen Rider Dragon Knight official description, unaltered and italicized per the ESRB.

"It'll end fast," declares a "Kamen Rider" moments before holding his defeated opponent in the air and showering him with explosions. Players control these robotic humanoid fighters in one-on-one or one-on-multiple combat with alien robotic creatures from another planet, or in this case, the Kamen Rider Dragon Knight TV series. Players constantly punch, kick, and use weapons (swords, axes, spears, spiked gloves) to deplete their opponents' health meter. Explosions, slashes, and hit effects can be seen and heard throughout battle. "Final Vents" (i.e., finishing attacks) can be used to defeat opponents, and range from melee attacks (e.g., jump kicks and pile drivers) to elaborate projectile attacks; for example, a motorcycle can be summoned to shoot fireballs and run over the opponent amid . . . more explosions.


The ellipsis may have been the best thing to ever happen to ESRB copy writers. Everyone loves a good... dramatic pause.


Fernando Jorge

I just think whoever is writing these things should be writing game reviews.

It would love to see some weekly column of ESRB ratings. Even awesomer would be ESRB ratings like that for classic Atari, 8-bit and 16-bit games. Or a intentionally comedic and exaggerated description of the new games being released.