Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Caveman reviews

Homefront ended with a whimper by stealing scenarios from other games that it did not do the work to deserve. I am not going to talk about the way the game plays. It is serviceable, good even, just as soon as I wrapped my head around how few hits I could take before dying. Call of Duty this is not.

Spoilers incoming. Like anyone else played this game.

Homefront spends several cutscenes exploring how despicable the leaders of the revolution became after the leader was captured and forced to read statements saying that he was wrong about how bad things were and that everything was perfect under the glorious leader. Standard North Korean propaganda. Without him to hold everything together Jack, the working man stereotype who is not good with words but can fire a gun, and Dana, a sadist looking to kill anyone wearing red, move from rebels to terrorists with surprising speed.

And I mean the terrorists part literally. They start with storing weapons in field hospitals and graduate to murdering the figurehead mayor on camera 'to make a point.' They are not likeable people and the player character's muteness make him complicit. The only character with any redeeming value is the pacifist doctor who tries several times to make a point but never really stands up to the other two.

After the afore mention murder the North Korean occupying forces decide that the Americans are more trouble than they are worth and start the gas the entire city - nerve gas. Rebels have gas masks but civilians are proper fucked. Jack and Dana are surprised (because they aren't very bright) and the game at this point begins to jump through hoops to redeem them.

It doesn't work. Jack gets shot up and Dana grabs some explosives and blows up both herself and the armored vehicle that shot him (in spite of the player character having a goddamn rocket launcher right the fuck there) in a moment that is supposed to fix the character.  I felt nothing beyond 'good riddance' and moved on to the end of the game.

This is the difference between a mediocre shooter and an excellent one. It is possible to have honest emotional moments in otherwise blatantly violent games if work is done to make characters likeable or at least relatable. Even Call of Duty manages this and Call of Duty is the gaming equivalent of a roller coaster with an incredibly short line. Homefront tries this and fails so hard it is silly. I should feel more than bemusement at the sacrifice of a main character.

To summarize, shooting good. Everything else, bad.

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