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    dkirschner's Homefront (PC)

    [September 17, 2012 10:19:47 AM]
    Homefront, Homefront, Homefront. At first I thought, Wow, you are a serious game. This will pull my heartstrings and make me hum the national anthem as I shut down the computer post-play. I will break out my American flag bed sheets and go to bed warm knowing that I am safe and that North Korea will never invade the country I love...

    And then I got to what I will refer to as the Product Placement level, which was the most ridiculous piece of crap I've ever had to put up with. The Product Placement level is otherwise an interesting level, as is most of the game, except that there are approximately 5 blatant product placements. Let me list the ones I caught (both up to and including the Product Placement level):

    1. At least 2 Pabst Blue Ribbon ads
    2. White Castle billboard
    3. NOS energy drink machines
    4. I'm pretty sure there was a different energy drink earlier that I don't remember, before I started writing these down.
    5. Fender billboard
    6. Coffee Beanery building
    7. The Product Placement level takes place in and around a GIANT megastore and a Hooters. A HOOTERS. Are you kidding me? My FAVORITE part of the game was in this level when my squadmate continues to yell at me, "ENEMIES IN THE HOOTERS!" The first time I heard it I almost fell out of my chair laughing. "ENEMIES IN THE HOOTERS!" I just wanted another character to yell so bad, "I HEAR THEY HAVE GOOD CHICKEN WINGS!"

    Like, the number and prominence of the ads was just stupid and I almost quit the game right then. I'm okay with small ads in games here and there, like on a can or like a small thing. But these were giant billboards and buildings, the only things on the horizon, and the freaking level took place in the freaking store with like 1000 decals plastered everywhere. For like 20 minutes I looked at and listened to "ENEMIES IN THE HOOTERS!"

    But I powered on through my ill feelings about the ads and beat the level. Oddly, there isn't hardly any product placement after that level. They just got it all out of them right there.

    So this game was quite fun. It's an extremely guided experience and the set events were really exhilarating at times. You get to take control of several vehicles and use a couple special weapons throughout, all of which I enjoyed. The chopper mission guarding the oil tankers was probably my favorite of all. I actually got a special achievement on it for not dying once! It feels very old-school because there is no cover system, no RPG elements, no sound or line of sight mechanics. For there to be no cover system, there sure is a lot of cover. You just crouch and pop out and shoot and crouch again. It's like Homefront ignored many of what I consider advances in the FPS genre over this generation of games. Same thing for no RPG elements. In a day and age where like every game has something that levels up, Homefront feels oddly pure. And for the sound/visual mechanics, what I mean is that you don't sneak. One mission, we were 'sneaking' up a tower, and I didn't even realize it until my squadmate assassinated an oblivious guard. I was like, wait, we were sneaking? There's no sneak button! Shouldn't he have heard us? But that doesn't concern Homefront. There is another mission, the stealthy farm mission, and several instances in other missions, where you must make your way from A to B without being detected. In the farm mission, I CLEARLY made eye contact with numerous enemy soldiers, but because the whole of Homefront is so completely scripted, it seems that if they weren't supposed to see me, they wouldn't. The scripting is sometimes irritating because it so limits the player's freedom. You pretty much can't move anywhere unless the game says "go there," but even then 95% of the time you're following an ally and you inexplicably HAVE to follow. You will hit all kinds of invisible walls if you try to go ahead of them, or climb a ladder before them. So it's a hell of a simple game. The plus side is the shooting feels awesome.

    My least favorite part of the game, gameplay-wise, was going through the Utah farm. This level was very slow-paced compared to the rest, and rubbed me the wrong way like the Product Placement level. I will call this one the Southern Redneck Stereotype level. In this stereotype, most Americans who love guns and are kind of crazy will be given a Southern accent and portrayed as a racist hillbilly, especially in games. This is why Southern accents are way overrepresented in military games. So even though this farm was in UTAH, at least 1/2 the characters there talked like they were from Georgia. "We gon' kill them stupid Norks y'all. Jes gimme my gun and watch 'em dance!" Like seriously, so annoying. As someone from the south, I hate it when Southerners are portrayed this way. Yes, we are all dumb, racist, gun-toting, freedom-loving backwoods retards who wear flannel and talk funny. Thank you Homefront for reminding me of my roots.

    The game is quite graphic too with its depictions of violence, in the beginning especially. It totally preps you with a school bus ride through occupied Main Street where you watch a lot of civilians die in various disturbing ways. There is also a scene later on that is definitely one of the most disturbing scenes of a game ever, somewhere up there with sticking a needle in Isaac's eye in Dead Space 2, except more of a genocidal kind of way. But I'll let it surprise you...

    It also attempts to have you empathize with the characters, but doesn't do a very good job. It's mostly a little laughable, in part due to all the cursing and the far far stretch that is the story. It's a cool idea, don't get me wrong, but come on. The little home away from home in suburbia was a notable eye-roller. "It's our little piece of America" the guy says as the kid swings on the playset and the woman cooks a meal in the kitchen. Makes me all teary-eyed! Hey wait a minute, all the children in the game look like Bobby Hill. And the (adult) characters curse like sailors. It's a little over the top. But I won't lie. I felt oddly patriotic running through suburbia defending Joe Everyman from the invaders, and finally at the end, assaulting the Golden Gate Bridge. That's a whole different question too. What exactly did my rebel group accomplish? We blew up a couple tanks, one Goliath, a helicopter, and killed maybe 100 troops on the Golden Gate Bridge...and freed America? Ummm. I thought North Korea had a bigger army than that...

    And seriously, a big 'what the hell' goes out to the length. I beat this sucker in under 4 hours. What a joke! You want to make a AAA FPS and you're going to have a 4-hour campaign? Fail. Did they run out of time? What happened there? I would have been pissed if I'd paid more than a few bucks for this. Oh well. I don't not recommend Homefront. If you want a short, action-packed, scripted shooter, grab it on the cheap. It's got some cool things going for it.
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    dkirschner's Homefront (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Sunday 16 September, 2012

    GameLog closed on: Monday 17 September, 2012

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Heard it's supposed to be short --------- and it is! But it's pretty fun, despite too many ads and southern stereotypes.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstar

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