There have been plenty of reports on the first few games to earn an R18+ classification since the new adult category for videogames was introduced in Australia, but perhaps just as interesting are the number of games that are still finding their way into the less restricted MA15+ category.
The latest title to earn the lower rating is Soul Sacrifice, the PlayStation Vita exclusive title developed by Sony's Japan Studio in collaboration with Marvelous AQL, and Comcept, under the direction of famed Capcom veteran and Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune.
Prepare yourself for a brutal combat experience where every decision made will have consequential results. Take on the role of a slave who stumbles upon a forbidden book that allows its readers to relive epic battles between sorcerers and monsters of the past. In order to use the magic during fierce battles, the player must be willing to make a sacrifice in exchange – ranging from personal belongings, a limb, or even a life.
The game's concept makes it seem an unlikely candidate for a softer rating, as combat is built around the character tearing parts from their own body to use as weapons, including a headline grabbing special where the spine is pulled out through the mouth and re-purposed as a skeletal sword.
That the Australian Classification Board has included the consumer advice label of "Strong fantasy themes and violence", suggests that those reviewing the game deemed the game's brutality far enough removed from reality to not have as high an impact as other violent titles --a heartening conclusion for adult gamers that may have feared the new 18+ category simply becoming a new badge for formerly MA15+ games.
Other games to have received an MA15+ stamp since the January 1st introduction of R18+ include the upcoming Injustice: Gods Among Us, Gears of War: Judgement, Deadpool, Fuse, Defiance, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, as well as the content-bundling Borderlands 2 Add-on Content Pack, and Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen.
Soul Sacrifice is due on May 5th 2013 for PlayStation Vita.
Soul Sacrifice TGS 2012 Trailer