Posts tagged Homefront

Homefront: The Revolution

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+, +, +, +, + very brave and interesting story and atmosphere, i’d even call it “courageous” (in that suicidal kind of political sense) in that I wouldn’t be surprised if the edginess of their story cost them investors or maybe even political problems. What’s so strange about a silly “America gets invaded” story? If anything that’s the opposite, you might argue, and indeed that’s how the prequel game sort of felt, but whether through more thinking about it or (as I have come to suspect) through it being a metaphor for something much bigger and much more tabu, this game felt on a much deeper level.

+, +, +, +, – amazing length and depth. The game is huge, much bigger than I was expecting, and one of those rare gems that actually keeps some of its best content to spread it all over the story, even for the later parts. This is also a tiny negative because maybe the team might’ve been overly ambitious for their budget as maybe this is the reason why some regions might feel a bit thinner than what might’ve been needed to make a huge impact masterpiece

– there were small moments of being confused or unclear as to where to go next. I hear there were even bugs initially but by the time I played it the bugs were mostly gone and for anybody giving it a try now I’d say it’s overall a great game. The little moments of problem that might still remain are because you have to look around a bit more than might be comfortable

-, +, +, +, + this is not a “light” or clearly “fun” game, not just because of the great immersive storytelling, but in the sense of the atmosphere, the whole immersion. This was a minus even for me as it does for this kind of game what I would think maybe the difference is between a Gran Turismo car simulation and an arcade car show game like maybe some Need for Speeds. What I mean to say by that is that while most games about a revolution do little to get you into the mood of the place, but you feel like you’re always winning, this game is oppressive, sometimes even hard to bear. The propaganda you hear on the radios and everywhere is almost realistic, it’s almost convincing at times and certainly oppressive as opposed to caricatural. But I still count this as an overall positive because IF you’re willing to put up with it even if, like myself, with breaks of weeks, then you get something much more to a “simulation”. This is even stronger because:

-, -, +, +, + in terms of gameplay complemented by atmosphere also it’s the same: i’ve experienced quite a bit of frustration because I kept approaching this game like (in the above metaphor) a “Call of Duty” type hero game… this was frustrating. It’s only when i realized that this is NOT that, that this is a guerrilla, a behind enemy lines and always losing, a they’re in superiority and you’re weak, you’re lucky if you make a tiny difference, only when i started to accept that I started to do better and enjoy the game and also started to better get the story it was telling

+, +, + maybe i’m reading too much into this, but I had the impression that the game at times is trying to tell even bigger stories, the kinds of stories that you can only tell in history or scifi, because they’d be rejected about contemporary times by those in power and the well controlled public point of view. That sometimes in not being able to tell the contemporary stories it flips them so hard that it becomes ridiculous and I couldn’t help but wonder if the story it’s trying to tell is about something else than what it says it is. Hints that made me think like that (and if so I can imagine why the minds behind this were unloved/unfunded) is for example the great villain, and how it’s presented, it’s nothing half credible, it’s not even developed South Korea but poor starving North Korea, and yet here in the game they do all the things that America might’ve done in other countries. There’s a lot of references how in the game the americans loved initially the NKorean humanitarian aid, but then found themselves trapped and controlled, how they became dependent and loved NKorean technology but then lost their political and social freedoms, about their debts. There’s even cinematics of presentations from NKorea that look eerily like a Steve Jobs type presenting a new tablet to a cheering crowd… I got the feeling that the game tried to tell more than it could.

– sure the game is sometimes a bit rough around the corners, could’ve used more money for polish, though for the reasons above I’m not surprised they didn’t get it, what does surprise me is that it was made, and as well as it has

+, +, +, + great environmental love, attention to details. It’s not that it always looks beautiful, though there’s moments of that too, it’s more the touches, the uniqueness, the personality

– the gameplay does seem to be occasionally a bit stale/repetitive, yet at the same times it builds consistency and familiarity in going to the different zones with similar patterns, each having a certain flair

+ good music

+, +, + a great variety of gameplay tricks. There’s even a great implemented remote controlled car

-, -, +, + the game does little handholding. This can be a repeated source of frustration as you don’t know what to do, but then as you’re forced to actually look around, to really observe, you feel a big reward when you actually notice how to use a secondary side building to get the the building you were actually trying to go to through a circuitous route

+, +, +, +, + some extraordinary acting segments, great acting, great story, including wonderfully imperfect and flawed characters. Great motion capture, even for background characters that set the scene for a location.

+, +, + Like WOOOW, this game had the biggest secret I have ever found in a game, and I’ve seen many amazing easter eggs, but this game (and shockingly late in the game) had an arcade machine which when I started I couldn’t believe my eyes, it had whole levels out of the game Timesplitters 2 which was for me one of the more remarkable games of the ps2. It’s one thing to have games which emulate some old DOS games, which while I appreciated in Wolfenstein, but this is on a whole new level in size… we’re talking here about a game with full on scripted moments and true 3d. I’m afraid it’s just a few maps, but still, very very impressive. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Overall I’d call this a diamond in the rough. Maybe at release it was much more buggy then I experienced it, and maybe that’s why i see the hugely overwhelming negative press around this game, or maybe it was simply its serious tone, whatever the reason I think this is a huge gem that undeservedly got a super bad press. I’ve just bought the DLCs also and look forward to them and am genuinely sad for all the bad reviews it got and am fearful the studio will be killed off by this, which is sad because I could feel a lot of love behind this game, and despite the fact that it could’ve used some more polish I’d give this game a 3.4 on a -5 to 5 scale. I think this is an extraordinary and remarkable game, a one of a kind story and atmosphere that you’d miss something in life on to never have experienced as a gamer. I think of these developers with this game as people who had the flaw of being overly ambitious, but hey, if that’s a sin, may more developers have this sin that they may make such great masterpieces. It saddens me that they may pay the price but gamers across the world and posterity got a fantastic gem as a reward.

Homefront: Revolution + TimeSplitters 2 = WOOOOW!!!

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This might just be the biggest ingame secret I’ve ever discovered. I’m totally impressed. There’s others that surprised and delighted, in different ways, and some even in size, for example I admire a lot the whole Wolfenstein 3d inside Wolfenstein II, however even that didn’t blow me away as much as seeing this. That felt “old tech” and doable… but this, maan, this is relatively new tech, I played it on ps2… and it even has scripted moments. Like WOOOW!!

PS: yeah, i keep playing the game. It’s sometimes “uncomfortable” to play for reasons of atmosphere and others, yet I can’t help but respect and appreciate all the work and world they put in there. It’s such a shame that it seems the game even gets better with time and gives more and more, and yet it’s easy to see how most players will never even get half way through it… and I was almost one of them… and even so far in, after multiple times thinking I was near the end new areas and secrets are revealed and it just keeps on giving. I’ve often wished games would keep better content for the end game… even while recommending they use it at the start before they lose players… this is one of those games that does it… even if it killed the devs?!?

PS2: this is so technically impressive!?! that must’ve required a whole game inside a game… and not a trivial old game either. maaan.

Homefront – quick impressions

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+ quite an interesting story, the game at least dares to be different, unlike the other thousand games in which the American army is always victorious and always kicking ass on foreign territory this game starts with America being the one occupied and with foreign armies on it’s territory (as i’m writing this in the last days I’ve learned a lot from the book “The New Empire of Debt” – William Bonner, Addison Wiggin, a lot of interesting stuff about the American empire)

– the premise with North Korea though is a bit silly, given these days it is afaik very poor and starving while South Korea is doing good. It’s a bit sad (though to be expected) that always the villains in games are made to be those down and easy to pick on, “za germans”, “the evil russians” and now the North Koreans.

+, + the surprise is that though the game tries very hard to inspire American patriotism propaganda, in doing that in alternation with trying to attack the Korean propaganda it manages to sometimes (possibly mistakenly) cross the line and make it almost visible that in fact the difference between a group of patriotic fighters and a guerrilla/terrorists is thinner than one hears in todays media. Probably the other side of the government story not told by the game is that a group of people who failed to give up their guns are shooting people and blowing up large parts of cities (which they did). Maybe it was just me getting this feeling… but still, it was interesting. For example it was rather silly/educational when another group of Americans who fail to do what this group of rebels believes they should are attacked and killed off, to the (to my surprise) even surprised comments from a woman in the team.

– often the enemies are made paper thin morally, caricaturaly evil. The conquering N. Korean government is made to look all evil and murderous on women and children, instead of the more likely historically version that they would just demand their taxes and label these freedom fighters as the terrorists they were behaving like (having weapons, killing law enforcement forces)… it’s funny how much “law” depends on who’s holding the weapons :P

– the general budget of the game seems pretty low, the animations and models and environments sometime leave to be desired

+ howeeever, the locations themselves are often pretty interesting, from cities to suburban backyards to the most beautiful san francisco bridge, some brave level designs are placed

– quite a lot of military style “move it soldier” style order barking

+  unlike many games it manages to keep some of the best content till the end, including a surprise ending surprisingly beautiful setting

– as with many such games way too many soldiers, wave after wave, making it sometimes arbitrary weather i survived or not even at the easiest difficulty level I could pick

+ some very interestingly done in-between-fights sequences showing the lives of the guerrilla camps. It reminded me a lot of the similar scenes in the Resistance games, except in this game they were a bit braver than to fight against evil one dimensional aliens… it was evil one dimensional North Koreans :P

Conclusions: 0 (on a -5 to 5 scale). It feels rather outdated and low budget, the concept arts are too photographic in my opinion yet if you are okay with old style first person shooters it provides some variety, a somewhat courageous story (maybe that’s why it got such a low budget and it’s company killed off) that at least dared to be a bit different so if you can make your own entertainment and look at the events with a critical mind and maybe try to imagine how it would have really been it can be an enjoyable experience. For example the bits of North Korean newspaper clips and propaganda are educational, even as it is drowned in the one from the rebel radio. But then again in the game they won in the end… and as we know, history is always written by the winners, and they make sure their version of history is the one that remains through state monopoly over mandatory education.

gameSketch 223

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Didn’t play the game, but liked the cover. :P A fps about invasion on US soil…

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