Review: Mother Russia Bleeds (PS4)

Formats:

  • PlayStation 4
  • PC, Mac, Linux

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
Title: Mother Russia Bleeds
Format: PSN (3.54 GB)
Release Date: December 3, 2016
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: Le Cartel
Original MSRP: $14.99
ESRB Rating: M
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
When I first saw Mother Russia Bleeds at E3 a couple years ago I was floored by some of the grotesque visuals presented but I was not offended, I was intrigued. The game is an old school beat ‘em up with an in your face art style meant to shock players.

The story is sort of throwaway. It begins with the main characters being abducted from their shantytown bum fights village by a mysterious group. The group holds the protagonists as prisoners and injects them with the all sorts of drugs. Luckily the “heroes” break free and now they must fight their way through the streets to find answers and lead a revolution… or something.

The story is not hard to follow and there’s some rough writing. I was unable to tell if it was intentional or not so forgive me for not remembering the storytelling details. This is a gameplay first type of experience.

The attacks are simple and easy with only a light attack, heavy attack, and grab to fight. Players can hold the light attack to charge up a power move that will send enemies flying and knock down anyone in the vicinity. In terms of basic gameplay feel, the mechanics are solid and fun.

I did have small collision issues here and there that would make lining up attacks feel slightly off. This issue seemed to stem from the characters blending into the background slightly. It made it difficult to ensure that I was lined up in the same lane as an enemy, especially as bodies begin to clutter the floor.

… drain your enemies with your needle …
The gameplay is absolutely vicious looking with intense violence sure to turn some stomachs. The amount of gore in this game is both impressive and disgusting. Every punch shows damage on the enemies with blood and broken bones splintering out everywhere.

Players can even go in for a brutal ground and pound kill that involves just bashing an enemy’s skull in when they are lying in the supine position. When a ground and pound is complete all that’s left is a headless body with bits and pieces of brain and skull on the ground.

The unique main mechanic here is the Nekro drug which is the lifeforce of the game. It can be used to regain health and send players into a rage mode where they are mega powerful.

The way to get it is a little demented because you it’s acquired by draining the blood of dead enemies. Not every dead foe can produce the drug, only those that are twitching. Basically you drain your enemies with your needle which you in turn jab into yourself for a health or rage boost.

The story mode is filled with a fair amount of variety in the way of enemy types and environments. There’s also an Arena mode where players battle waves of enemies on a single screen with each wave increasing in difficulty. I really enjoyed the core mechanics so I found myself really digging into the Arena Mode, especially since it features leaderboards for kills and score combos.

… some fantastic looking animation and art …
Visuals:
To say that the world of Mother Russia Bleeds is dark would be an understatement. It’s not only dark, it’s disgusting and borderline scary. The levels have a distinct intentional grime and the characters are disturbed and perfect for it.

The game in intentionally trying to shock its audience and it achieves this to great effect. I would find myself shifting from cringing to laughing at almost every turn.

The art style won’t be for everyone and it will likely offend some people, but for myself and my sick brain it appealed to me. Plus whatever you think of the actions happening on the screen there is no denying that there is some fantastic looking animation and art presented here. The game blends gore with vibrant, eye catching animation and colors that gives it a standout style.

Audio:
The soundtrack is solid at best, bordering on memorable and forgettable. Sometimes I felt like the music was muted, as if it got quieter as I played. I don’t know if this was actually happening as a result of me taking too long to get through a level or the music was just not sticking out enough to separate itself from the action.

Usually with this type of retro style game there’s a soundtrack attached that I naturally gravitate to, but for whatever reason that was not the case for me here.

… it can be borderline disgusting, but it’s a good game in the end …
Online/Multiplayer:
If you’re going to do an old school beat ‘em up then local multiplayer is important and thankfully it’s well represented here. Up to four players can play locally and if you’re short you can have bots fill in the roster.

All four players can play both the Story Mode and the Arena Mode and the mechanics do not change. There are even online leaderboards for the Arena Mode which track each individual player’s stats.

Conclusion:
This game will offend some people. It pulls no punches, it celebrates violence, and it can be borderline disgusting, but it’s a good game in the end. I’m not easily offended so if a game is fun that’s all that matters to me. Yes, it made me feel dirty, but I kind of liked that. (Dear god why did I type that?)

If you’re looking for a decent beat ‘em up and don’t mind the gore then Mother Russia Bleeds is worth looking into.

Score:

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Michael Cwick

Michael Cwick

Just a nerd from the Windy City. I’m actually really bad at describing myself because I get all self-critical and self-conscious. Follow me on Twitter, @The1stMJC, to see my borderline insane rants on tv shows and other non important subjects. If I’m not tweeting I’m probably just watching Buffy or Firefly for the millionth time.

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