Review: Homefront: The Revolution (Xbox One)

Homefront was one of the most-anticipated games of 2011. The idea of playing what amounted to a videogame version of Red Dawn struck a chord with many gamers. The plot, which centered around a North Korean invasion of the United States, seemed just plausable enough to make the game’s central idea work. Unfortunately, the game’s release in March, 2011 revealed a mediocre first-person shooter with dated mechanics and a very linear playthrough. The game sold well enough, however, that a sequel was announced by publisher, THQ. THQ hit financial troubles later in 2011 and eventually closed in 2012. Deep Silver picked up the rights to the Homefront franchise and, after numerous delays, the sequel, Homefront: The Revolution, was released in May, 2016.

Homefront: The Revolution is actually more of a reboot than a sequel. The original game’s invasion story is replaced with a newer, alternative history scenario. This time around, the North Koreans use a combination of economic pressure and home electronics to sabotage the United States infrastructure and disable the military. The North Koreans (nicknamed the Norks by the resistance fighters in the game) military now occupies the United States, with prison-like structures in the cities.

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Review: Dishonored: Definitive Edition (Xbox One)

dishonoredscreenshot1For those that are not familiar with Dishonored‘s storyline, the game follows the story of Corvo Attano, bodyguard to the Empress of the Isles. At the beginning of the game, Corvo is returning to the plague-ridden city of Dunwall after a diplomatic trip to enlist foreign aid to combat the plague. He rushes to deliver the news of his journey to the Empress but soon finds himself framed and imprisoned for her murder and a suspect in the kidnapping of her daughter, Emily. While imprisoned, Corvo learns that the Lord Regent is responsible for the assassination of the Empress.

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Review: Valiant Hearts: The Great War (Xbox One)

valianthearts1Inspired by letters written during World War I, Valiant Hearts: The Great War is split into four chapters that follow the course of the war. Starting with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the game follows the stories of four people: Emile, a Frenchman; Karl, his German son-in-law; Anna, a Belgian nurse, and Freddie, an American volunteer soldier.

As the game opens, France begins to deport Germans from the country. Karl is forced to leave his French wife, Marie, and newborn child, Victor, and is drafted into the army upon his return to Germany. Emile is drafted into the French army and also must leave Marie. Their paths cross not only with each other but also with the aforementioned Anna and Freddie.

To introduce the player to the game mechanics, Emile enters basic training and learns the basic moves and item interactions that are implemented throughout the game. As the game progresses, the player is tasked with solving puzzles by variously moving objects, throwing items such as grenades, dynamite, and bottles, and using the melee attack to hit things — sometimes people and sometimes not. Later on, the player will need to dodge gunfire or drive vehicles to move through the mostly side-scrolling levels.

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Review: Far Cry 4 (Xbox One)

farcry4screenshot1The Far Cry series is one of the most venerable in videogaming history. Starting with the original game, released in 2004, it was initially one of the benchmarks used by PC owners to test the prowess of their video cards. Featuring then-state-of-the-art environmental graphics combined with first-person shooter and action/adventure elements, the game was a huge success. Later sequels have expanded the series from its PC-focused roots into the realm of console gaming. The most recent entry, 2014’s Far Cry 4, is the first to be released on the next generation systems alongside the PC and last gen consoles. My introduction to the series was on the Xbox One.

Taking place in the fictional Himalayan country of Kyrat, the plot centers around Ajay Ghale, who was born in Kyrat but raised in the United States. The game opens as Ajay returns to his country of birth carrying the ashes of his mother with the intention of spreading them in her homeland as she’d requested. However, Ajay immediately finds himself thrust into Kyrat’s struggle to free itself from the rule of maniacal (and quite eloquent) dictator/king Pagan Min.

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