Don´t cry wolf when there is no wolf around to be concerned about
I know that I´m pretty late to the “Mother Russia Bleeds” hype/controversy party, as Gamers, outlets and Gaming sites have been talking about the game for months now (or to be exact, ever since E3 ended this summer). However, as Le Cartel (the developers of “Mother Russia Bleeds) and Devolver Digital (the publishers of the game) plans to release “Mother Russia Bleeds” sometime next year (for Windows, MAC, Linux and PS4). It felt like it´s about time that I give my thoughts on the game so far. Especially since I´m a huge fan of beat-em-up games in general (I literally grew up playing games such as Double Dragon, Golden Axe, Final Fight and Streets of Rage). Anyhow, by the looks of MRB, the game seems to be a mix of “Streets of Rage” (the beat-em-up part), “Splatter House” (monsters and the bizarre setting) and “Hotline Miami” (all the brutal violence).
In other words, MRB might become the most violent beat-em-up game ever created. Well, once the game hits the market that is (which should be sometime next year). So it´s no surprise that sites such as Polygon have complained about MRB´s violent nature and content. In fact,
Polygon complained specifically about the violence against transsexuals and homosexuals in the game. Well, I got no problem with that, as Polygon is free to think and say what they want on this matter. Even so, I would like to point out that in MRB you can beat up everything that moves. And that includes everything from thugs, mobsters, pigs, bears, soldiers to psychopaths. So it´s not like Le Cartel “targeted” homosexuals and transsexuals exclusively with the violence that exists in MRB. As you (the player) simply attack anyone who attacks you in the game (no matter gender, race or sexual orientation).
The real-life world are even crazier than “Mother Russia Bleeds”, as it´s the real deal
Well, you get my point. Besides, personally I just see MRB as a very violent parody of the USSR days (the Soviet Union, 1922 to 1991). In a way, Le Cartel has used the same kind of humor that Free Lives used for their game “Broforce” (but instead of famous US action movie heroes, tons of American flags and references to American pop culture. Le Cartel focused on USSR related pop culture instead). Okay, sure, MRB offers the ultra “brutal” kind of humor (or satire). Still, you have to be pretty crazy if you´re taking a game such as MRB seriously. As it´s quite obvious that MRB was never mean´t to be taken seriously (just like South Park was never meant to be taken seriously).
However, I can’t comment on whether or not MRB´s brutal content is just there as a gimmick or shock/provoke factor, or if the violence plays the same role as it does in my all-time favorite FPS game “Brutal Doom” (the gore and violence are so overdone in Brutal Doom that it´s laughable. As the violence becomes almost something of a comic relief kind of thing). I should also point out that it´s somewhat unclear how much of the content that will stay (or how much that will be added or removed) in the final production of “Mother Russia Bleeds”. As the game is still in the pre-alpha phase right now. In fact, everything that´s been shown from MRB so far has been pre-alpha in-game footage.
Nevertheless, one should not forget that Devolver Digital (the very same publisher that has published ultra violent titles such as Hotline Miami 1-2 and Shadow Warrior 1-2) is well-known for not compromising with the game developer’s visions and creative goals. So it came as no surprise to me that Devolver Digital told Polygon the following on the matter of “Mother Russia Bleeds” violent nature:
“We allow our developers the creative freedom every artist deserves, and always have,” a spokesperson said. “Yes, we’ve seen the entire game and understand the developer’s overall creative goals in gameplay and narrative. The game is about violently fighting your way out of a repressive regime. Enemies are of all different genders, including transgendered people, none of whom are targeted — or even called out specifically — because they are of any particular gender. The heroes fight against all oppressors with no recognition or discrimination of gender identity.”
“The message simply is: The enemies are all baddies and to gain your freedom and to expose a corrupt government you must fight your way through it.” – Devolver Digital, via Polygon
Violent beat-em-up games is nothing new. “Mother Russia Bleeds” are simply taking the genre to the next level when it comes to violence
Honestly, I don´t think that I could have said it any better than Devolver Digital did, besides. The “real” world is even more messed up than the world of “Mother Russia Bleeds”, because reality will always be more painful, dark and evil than fiction. In the matter of fact. All of this actually made me think about the movie “Straight Outta Compton”, because back in 80s Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E got tons of shit for their “explicit” lyrics for their “Straight Outta Compton” album. Well, here´s the thing. The whole album was based on real-life events (events which Ice Cube, Dr.Dre and the rest of the crew experienced in their everyday life, before and after fame). My point would be this, we live in a very fu**t up world.
And I bet that Le Cartel has taken a lot of inspiration from the real-life world when they created MRB (the dark side of humanity). Frankly, I don´t understand what all the fuss is about? As there have been plenty of violent beat-em-up games in the past (the Splatter House, Double Dragon and Streets of Rage series, for example). The only big difference that I can see is that MRB is trying to take the beat-em-up genre to the next level when it comes to gore and violence (MRB is a +18 rating on the game for sure). Well, just put an AO (“Adults only“) rating mark on the game then? As the game is meant for adult eyes only (just like adult movies etc.).
With that said, it remains to be seen if “Mother Russia Bleeds” has what it takes to become a fun and entertaining Co-Op brawler (yes, you can play MRB with up to four players at the same time. And there´s even an online mode as well). And “if” that happens to be the case, then I think that the ultra violent content has been justified. Funny enough, according to Le Cartel they just wanted to make something very bizarre with MRB. Well, they have succeed on that point for sure. Speaking of which, this is what Le Cartel had to say about MRB and their goal (s) for the game:
“OUR GOAL IS TO DELIVER AN EXPERIENCE THAT WILL HELP REVITALIZE ONE OF THE MOST CHERISHED GAMING GENRES WITH A METICULOUSLY CRAFTED AND CHALLENGING BEAT ’EM UP OF OUR OWN, ONE THAT ABOUNDS WITH NEW TWISTS AND SURPRISES.” – Le Cartel
So what do you think about “Mother Russia Bleeds”? Will you buy the game? And do you think that Le Cartel has gone too far with the violence and gore in their game?
This is a personal opinion of the writer, and it doesn’t necessarily represent the other writers (nor The Gaming Ground´s) opinions.
Robin “V-Act” Ek
The Gaming Ground
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