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 Homefront

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PostSubject: Homefront    Fri Dec 02, 2011 2:28 pm

The year is 2025, and the evildoers occupying our turf are a newly formed militaristic regime originating from North Korea. The backstory explaining this seemingly implausible scenario is chilling, but it supports the sort of emotionally charged gameplay rarely seen in the trigger-happy genre. The scary setup aims to make players feel like they’re actually fighting for something, rather than mindlessly headshoting a sea of helples bad guys.
We got a taste of this affective approach in one of the game’s action-free early moments. Evoking nearly the same sober solemnity we got while strolling through Metro 2033’s subterranean settlements, a makeshift Boulder, Colorado community — composed of interconnected suburban backyards,introduces us to a civilian resistance movement. Homefront’s hero, a pilot rescued by his new freedom-fighting friends, encounters a ragtag group of NPCs preparing food, fixing gear, and milking goats.The pilot found himselve sucked into joining the cause and are lead through by an underground tunnel, where we come to the surface to discover Rianna, a female member of the militia, choking the life out of an enemy. Instilling the sense Homefront isn’t your typical super soldier–starring vehicle, she noticeably struggles with the kill, reminding us that we take other games’ effortless neck-snapping for granted.
With the enemy soldier downed, we’re free to take in what lead single-player designer Chris Cross describes as “the familiar becoming alien.” A shopping-center parking lot, just like the ones we pull into every time we make a Best Buy run, is patrolled by Korean soldiers who’ve set up a base camp at the local Lumber Liquidators. The real-world retailer boasts a “Hardwood floors for less!” banner above its entrance, but our brothers- and sisters-in-arms aren’t here to shop for a kitchen remodel; they’ve come to light up the night sky with a homemade white phosphorus bomb, What at first looks like a pretty Fourth of July fireworks show soon turns into a baddie-barbecuing massacre. The protagonist zooms his sniper rifle on a horrifying display of flame-engulfed soldiers flailing and screaming as Rianna shouts, “Put them out of their misery!” In the midst of doing just that, another phosphorus attack illuminates the night, but accidentally hits too close to home, knocking our civilian soldiers to the pavement. A rifle-toting enemy approaches to return the favor — and spare them of their anguish — but a drone-like vehicle abruptly mows him over.

This weapon-on-wheels, which belongs to the enemy but can be hacked to help the resistance, isn't maneuverable. However, you will have control over its explosive payload by way of a targeting scope to aim into a row of enemy soldiers and tag multiple targets.
While this drone shows off some of the more sophisticated tech you’ll have access to, other weapons won’t deal death with such flair. Homefront continually reminds you that you’ll constantly be outgunned with the odds against you and your team, and your gear realistically reflects this. Rifles are covered in dirt and duct tape rather than the gleaming gunmetal we’re used to seeing in military shooters; scopes are cracked; and stocks have initials or personal messages etched into them.
Back in the parking-lot-turned-battlefield, we witness the drone continuing to unleash hell on the enemy, while our heroes leverage the chaos to put down as many soldiers as possible. Things go FUBAR fast, though, and for the next few minutes the scre
en drowns in blazing explosions, whizzing bullets, and screaming soldiers. The sequence comes to a close with a flaming helicopter hurtling toward us, but before the fireball consumes the entire screen, we spy a familiar sight in the background. Just beyond the unlikely war zone, a Hooters restaurant stands defiantly, reminding us whose turf we’re fighting for.
Homefront’s frantic gunplay and defining Red Dawn-like vibe definitely have our interest piqued, but it’s the threat of losing our right to eat buffalo wings while ogling barely dressed waitresses that'll ultimately find us on its frontlines when it arrives.
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