PAM Hits Steam for $10

I have no idea if this is good or not but for $10 might be worth a flier if you are in the mood to run buddies off the road or shoot them with a modified range rover.

PR ahead…

Montreal, Quebec, Canada – March 17, 2011 – Post Apocalyptic Mayhem, a intense combat racing game for the PC, arrives digitally. Published by Meridian4 and developed by Steel Monkeys.

“Priced under $10 and with a full slate of new, downloadable content already queued up, Post Apocalyptic Mayhem offers tremendous value to consumers,” said Steve Milburn, Marketing Director of Meridian4. “With top-notch graphics running at 60 FPS, and an creative assortment of futuristic weaponry, vehicles and race tracks, Post Apocalyptic Mayhem delivers big fun at a (game for a) small price.”

In Post Apocalyptic Mayhem, over-the-top vehicular combat rules the day as player’s race and battle through numerous breathtaking tracks. With an assortment of menacing vehicles to drive – each with its own special abilities, attributes and weaponry – the game quickly reaches breakneck speeds and complete destruction of the competition (gets dangerous). Up to six players can race simultaneously online as they compete to earn up to 35+ Achievements.

Post Apocalyptic Mayhem is currently available for digital download on Steam for $9.99, with a 20% discount for the first week and the offer of a 3-Pack to get your multiplayer matches off to a great start for just $24.99. Broader distribution in the weeks to follow and downloadable content planned for the near future. For more information on Post Apocalyptic Mayhem, please visit www.pam-thegame.com.

Seeing A Man About Horse Armor

No High Scores

According to Pete Hines, he of the Bethesda PR machine, people are still buying Horse Armor for their mounts in Oblivion. In the latest OXM podcast, he talks about all things Oblivion, including DLC pricing and mentions that as recently as the day before recording the podcast, multiple people bought the accursed horse armor. Well, I can’t say I’m all that surprised. Things that tend to get the hardcore gaming folks in an uproar frequently don’t bother Joe Casualgamer who just wants to prance around Cyrodiil on a bedazzled pony. Plus, while $2.50 looks like a lot of money to spend on equine frippery, plenty of people spend upwards of four bucks every day to drink a coffee beverage that ends up circling the toilet 40 minutes later. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad people got outraged at the horse armor as it hopefully acted as a swat on the nose to developers looking to rape and pillage the Xbox Live Marketplace and Bethesda clearly got the message, going so far as to double the price for one April’s Fools. Still, I guess this just goes to show you that the word overpriced requires context and one man’s worthless pony clothes is another man’s glorious horse couture.

Seen at OXM.

Wii Die


This item came down the pipeline right as I was packing up my Wii to trade in for a decent $100 credit toward a 3DS, thus galvanizing my decision to let the l’il white box go.

Industry Gamers has posted a story wherin EA’s Frank Gibeau pretty much declares the console dead, referring to it as a “legacy” console on par with the PS2. Ouch. It’s worth reading since he points out some of the challenges Nintendo is going to face with the Wii 2, Wii HD, Dolphin, or whatever they decide to call it.

After playing the abysmal Epic Mickey last year, the stultifyingly sedate Kirby’s Epic Yarn, and the triumphantly brutal Donkey Kong Country Returns shortly after those, I sort of felt the doom in the wind, so to speak. With no major releases on the cards other than Skyward Sword (which I wouldn’t be surprised to see re-announced as a launch title for a new platform at E3), it seems that the writing is on the wall.

I can’t say that it was a good run, but it was an interesting one and a pretty lucrative one for Mario’s handlers. We did get two of the best Mario games ever made out of it and a great Metroid collection as well as a couple of culty gems like MadWorld, Star Successor, and Monster Hunter Tri. But oddly, the best game for the system remained the awesome Resident Evil 4 port. But these were islands in a sea of Cold Stone Creamery ice cream games, terrible movie tie-ins, and minigame collections.

I guess I don’t have the industry authority of Mr. Gibeau, but I may as well declare the Wii dead at this point too. Good night, sweet prince.

A Weekend Unplugged: Boardgames, Boardgames, Boardgames!

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This past weekend featured a long-planned venture by The Abner clan to spend the weekend with me and mine for a couple days of some quality boardgaming in Indy. After kevetching over Dragon Age 2 for over a week, it was rather nice to unplug and get back to basics. Bill brought a boatload of titles with him, far more than we would ever make time for, but we definitely gave it our all. Here’s a breakdown of what we played and, most of them being games I’ve experienced for the first time, what I thought…

Innovation

After a four hour drive from Columbus to Indy, with the clock already ticking past 9:00, you need something that doesn’t take 40 minutes to explain and can be played in about an hour. Innovation fit the role nicely. Bill did a pretty thorough write-up of this one already, so I’ll just sum it up as this: If Civilization were exclusively about its tech tree, and a card game, what you’d end up with is Innovation.

We knocked out three games of it before calling it a night and, as an appetizer or tasty dessert, I can see its appeal. Once you get around the table the first time you immediately get a feel for the game and, like Fluxx, the rules are mostly all laid out on the cards in front of you. We played another game of it on Sunday before The Departure and I never did settle on any kind of strategy for it. If you go for points early (to get towards the four achievements you need to have in order to win), as I did, it appears that you stunt your ability to score in subsequent turns by not having enough techs laid out in front of you to prevent the other players from doing horrible things to you. And they did do horrible things to me; with great frequency.

It’s worth pointing out that you do have to be very careful about the fine print on each tech card. It’s easy to forget or misread a rule and have that break the game. Mrs. A put out a card in game three that we were all too bleary-eyed to interpret correctly that resulted in her drawing and playing a ridiculous number of cards, leaving her with multiple big stacks of techs that, when shifted, quickly left us all in the dust.

Fire and Axe

This was, no doubt, my favorite game of the weekend. This one’s basically all about loading up little plastic Vikings, and maybe some trade goods, on a Viking boat and sending them around Europe to do Viking things: Trade, pillage, and conquer. You cannot go wrong with a game about Viking shenanigans. Impossible.

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For whatever reason, boardgames with particular strategy mechanics are easier for me to grasp than others. Four games of Innovation and I still had only the barest sense that I had learned something that would help me win against other players. (It showed in that I didn’t win once.) This game appealed to me on the same level as does one of my all time favorites, Rails of Europe (Railroad Tycoon; Railways of the World). You’ve got a big cardboard map, plastic pieces, you claim land in a variety of ways, and you need to think two to three moves ahead. Where are the other players going? Will they interfere with my plans to trade at a port, conquer a city, or settle a port? How do I manuever ahead of a player going the same way? When do I cut and run, finding a new strategy? You have to really evolve your play as the game unfolds. I live for games like this. Perhaps it showed, given that I won and all.

My only disappointment was finding out the game is no longer in print and is extremely pricey to obtain if you can find it on the used market. Maybe I can trade Bill a can of kidney beans for his copy?

A Brief History of the World

A Brief History of the World is a game in which each player takes six turns, or epochs, playing out the rise and slow fall of a different civilization each time. You get your turn, place your units (possibly also playing a modifying “Event” card), and determine your score for that turn. When it’s done your Civ is retired; the pieces remain on the board, but you can do no more with them. The next player does the same, often seeking to take away or conquer land one of your Civs currently occupies. You can successfully defend, but it gets harder with each successive attempt; ultimately all but the end game civs are doomed to fall. That said, the longer each of your civs lasts, the more points you’ll get at the end of each turn. The player with the highest score at the end wins.

I had invited a few other local buddies to come out and game with us for Saturday; two of them arrived in time for this one, giving us a solid six players. The whole civ retirement aspect of the game gave me a strong Smallworld vibe. Smallworld was another one I’ve played multiple times and still haven’t really figured out how it ticks; not really a fan. I liked this game better than Smallworld, but not by a whole lot and ultimately it showed in the results since I finished dead last. It wasn’t that I wasn’t trying to compete, but there’s a strategy to choosing your civ and event cards at the start of each turn that I really struggled to grasp. (It didn’t help that I had to drop off my daughter and pick her back up from a birthday party during the start and end of the game.) It also seems like there’s a bit of a rubber-banding mechanic to the game that keeps a player in the lead from staying there. Nor is a player trailing the pack unable to mount a comeback, though I did my level best to disprove that theory. Although I certainly don’t hate them on spec, I’ve always been luke warm to games that do this. (Powergrid comes to mind.)

Battlestar Galactica + Pegasus Expansion

For the particular group of people who made it out for the night, this game of humans versus Cylon was a big reason why. The gist of it is that the humans have to survive out in space, Cylons pursuing them, trying to make enough hyperspace jumps to reach the relative safety of the planet Kobol. (Am I remembering that right?) If Team Human loses enough food, fuel, population, or morale they lose. If Galactica is damaged too much, they lose. If Heavy Raiders board Galactica and advance too far without being stopped, they lose. Humans lose a lot in this game.

I’ve got some local buddies who flat out love the game as does our buddy, Billy “Baroo” (who also made the trip). I’ve seen some people grow tired of the constant accusations that come from playing a co-op game that features multiple traitors in the midst (Cylons in this case), but with the right group of people the game is more fun than it has any right to be. The last time we played it nearly ended Bill’s marriage (not really) after I asked Mary (who was human) point blank, “You’ve known your husband more than a decade. Is he lying right now? Is he a Cylon?” She didn’t miss a beat in saying, “Yes!”

Not so much. Team human didn’t last particularly long after we put Bill in the brig.

The drama wasn’t quite as high this time around, but we did get to experience the seven player variant made possible using the Pegasus expansion. In this variant you use a revealed Cylon Leader along with six regular players. The leader is revealed from the start, but their goals are nebulous. Some want the humans to win, some don’t. Even if the leader is on the side of team human they may have to do things to sabotage the humans, like ensure that the population is below six or that Galactica has three damaged locations. It’s an interesting variant, but it does seem like the Cylon Leader (me in this case) has less participation, since you’re very often excluded from the decision making of the distrustful team human. Just ’cause a guy all but wiped out most of their race he’s not trustworthy? Sheesh! Also, in a seven player game, you spend a lot of time waiting for your turn.

Still, it was the highlight of the evening. The accusations flew, including a near in-game execution as dramatically presented here:

That’s my son’s Star Wars laser blaster in Bill’s hand, if you’re wondering. It was an attempted execution of a suspected Cylon. Sadly, it didn’t get to serve its purpose; if it had it would’ve helped my cause. I’m the one on the right in the comfy chair. What can I say? Even from that angle I’m gorgeous.

Anyway…

The two Cylons managed to stay hidden deep into the game, but that was in part because nobody got a Cylon loyalty card until the game’s mid-point, not to mention that they reached said mid-point after just two jumps. Usually it takes at least three and it does make a big difference. I think I also blundered badly by infiltrating Galactica following the game’s first jump. It was a wasted turn getting there and another wasted turn getting back later on when I realized there was too little going on around the ship to do much damage (my victory conditions were predicated on the humans losing).

All in all, a very successful day and weekend of boardgaming that provided a much needed break from, well, everything else. It’s always a good time when the Abner clan rolls into town. I’m just glad Bill managed to win a couple games this time. Believe you me, that is not a given.

If, by the way, you’re interested in a deeper look at some of these games, check out some of Mike’s past Cracked LCD columns:
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Innovation
- Battlestar Galactica
- BSG Pegasus Expansion

In Other Homefront News…*Updated*

And the cycle continues as Dragon Age 2 and its “issues” (fair? can we all at least agree to that?) begin to fade to the back burner, Homefront moves front and center to receive the bulk of today’s press. For example:

After news of THQ’s Black Market Tuesday and Metacritic wrangling, and Mike’s glowing mini-review, we now have two stories from CVG that take a different angle.

If you believe Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz (for the record I haven’t the faintest idea who that fellow is) then Homefront is going to sell two million copies–which isn’t terrible. It’s not CoD. It’s not Battlefield. But it IS two million copies. Money quote from the article:

“With over 20 reviews now reported at the Metacritic website, it is clear that Homefront has not lived up to expectations in terms of game quality. While this will likely hamper the title’s ability to achieve breakout success, we still feel reasonably confident that it will achieve sales of 2M units, and see no reason to change our estimates at this time. We note that EA’s Medal of Honor earned a similar 74 aggregate review score last year but has still sold over 5M units to-date, in part due to aggressive marketing by EA and positive pre-release buzz.”

So, take THAT Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey and your “this is a quality based market” mumbo jumbo. As in any consumer driven industry it’s really all about the marketing. Thanks Cowen & Company analyst Doug Creutz.

In addition,. CVG has another interesting piece today about how Kaos says Homefront 2 will have a longer solo campaign if that’s what people want. Homefront 2? Looks like it.

Update: THQ announces Day One sales…

AGOURA HILLS, Calif., March 16, 2011 – THQ Inc. (NASDAQ: THQI) today announced that first day sales of Homefront™, its thrilling first person shooter with outstanding multiplayer, approximated 375,000 units in North America. The game is scheduled to ship in Europe and Asia Pacific throughout this week.

”Homefront’s excellent multiplayer experience, combined with our commitment to dedicated servers, make this a must-have (potential) purchase for gamers,” said Danny Bilson, EVP Core Games, THQ. “Due to the strong and growing demand for Homefront’s multiplayer, We continue to add dedicated server capacity. We are confident that the large-scale multiplayer maps featuring 32 players, vehicles, infantry and drones, will continue to be a major draw for the huge audience of FPS gamers looking for a new experience over the coming months.”

“We are delighted with first day sales for Homefront and are already fulfilling re-orders for the game from multiple retailers,” said Brian Farrell, THQ President and CEO.

New Battlefield 3 Trailer

There’s no way around it. This looks ridiculously good.

Salty language so maybe NSFW. Although I suppose that depends on where you work, doesn’t it?

Dragon Age Legends Live on Facebook

BioWare and EA have released its Facebook Dragon Age App, Dragon Age Legends. Normally we don’t cover FB games here but this seems appropriate. Plus, we’re going to have Soren Johnson on the podcast soon to talk about this game so…I guess we ought to play it. We’re pros.

For now, get Facebookin’ and check it out. It’s free. Well, sort of.

“We built Dragon Age Legends with one goal in mind: to bring the AAA quality gameplay BioWare is famous for to the social space,” says EA2D’s general manager Mark Spenner.

So go give it a look and report back here, stat.

Rico, I'm sorry…

No High Scores

Hey Rico, what’s up man? Yeah, look, I gotta apologize. Lately I’ve been saying some pretty bad stuff about you and I wanted to talk to you about it. I may have called you incompetent. It’s possible I called you the worst videogame character in the known universe. I know, I know, that’s some rough stuff and I probably went a little over the line, but come on man, we both know you deserve some of it. I mean, you weren’t a very good soldier in Killzone 2 and people died because of it. Not to mention you colossally screwed up your only mission while on Helghan. I mean, that’s bad, right? Well bro, I may have meant that before, but I totally don’t mean that now.

Not since meeting Ishi.

Ishi Sato is your, I dunno what you’d call him, your cyborg co-pirate in Bulletstorm. Cy-jerk is more like it. He’s part of your crew and then you get him half blown up pretty early on in the game. He gets patched up, don’t worry, but from then on he’s a cyborg who is constantly whining about how painful it is to fight the AI in his computer parts. That is when his bad, computer eye doesn’t get all red and he tries to kill you.

Now, Ishi certainly has a reason to be upset, I mean, it is my fault that he’s a cyborg, but he totally was an uptight prick before being turned half-robot. In the obligatory flashback scene where we see why me and my crew are a bunch of drunken idiots, he’s all like “we should take no joy in killing” and being all sanctimonious. I mean, we’re assassins, and aren’t you supposed to enjoy your work? And then I totally take a bullet for the dude and he didn’t seem even the slightest bit grateful. All I get now is “your thirst for revenge doomed us all Gray”, “I’m a cyborg because of you Gray”, “I won’t hesitate to kill you, Gray”. Yeah, well guess what dude, you were a pompous jerk before and you’re a pompous jerk now only now you can bench press a Volvo and take 10,000 volts to the face with no damage. From where I’m sitting, that’s an upgrade.

Now, if Ishi were just a jerk, it’d be ok. Well, better, but not necessarily ok. Here’s the thing though, he’s not just a jerk, he’s incompetent. And not incompetent in a passive way, like you, but actively incompetent in a way that gets me killed. Like, a lot.

First of all, dude can’t aim for shit. I mean I know the guns we get ain’t nothing to write home about, but come on, I’m popping off gag reflexes and head shots all day and he can’t hit the broad side of a barn. Maybe it’s because his idea of firing from cover is to hold the gun above his head and spray wildly, but still. Second, he’ll let dudes just run by him so that they can make a beeline for me. I mean, I know I got him in this mess, but this leash thingy on my arm means that I’m the only one who can move that bus to make a bridge. Without me, Ishi sits planetside until his Energizers run out and the creeps and skulls try to make a stereo out of his stupid, red eyed face.

Still though, that’s not the worst. I mean, you can’t aim for shit either and based on our time on Helghan together, you were more interested in wasting bullets than killing Helghast. What makes Ishi so bad is that he gets in the way, like all the time. If I go to slide into an enemy, he’ll step in front of me and stop me dead so that the enemy I was going to launch into a prickly cactus now clubs me to death. Or, I’ll have an enemy in the sights of my flail gun and Ishi will step in front of me just as I shoot. That’s one round wasted and one enemy still alive to shoot me. Thanks Ishi. Or, even better, I’ll leash a dude and as the guy is being pulled to me so that I can kick him away, Ishi will step in between us and stop the guy dead so that he can get up and kill me. I mean, I know Ishi hates me and all, but this is ridiculous. The weird thing is that Trishka never gets in my way. Even when the enemies have dispersed for the time being, Trishka is all running forward and Ishi is all up in my business staring at me. I mean, personal space dude! It’s like this leash isn’t just for enemies, it also ties Ishi and me together.

Then, to top it off, Ishi doesn’t even have the cyber-stones to stay mad at me. Two thirds of the way through the game he has to give me some speech about how he doesn’t blame me, that my attempt to kill Sarrano, the attempt that got Ishi robotocized, was actually a mission of justice. Dude, it totally wasn’t! I just wanted Sarrano dead for using us! Justice had no part of it! I know that, Sarrano knows that, hell everyone knows that but Ishi can’t even be mad correctly! He’s gotta make it sound like he understands! Let me tell you something dude, if things were reversed, I’d a crushed his throat the minute I realized I was half MP3 player and then gotten off planet my own damn self. Screw this forgiveness noise.

So dude, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I said all of those things about you because for as bad as you were, you never got in my way, you never got me killed and you never backed down from your anger. I wish I could have said the same for Ishi. Worst part is he’ll be back in the sequel. Friggin’ great.

Hug it out, brah.

-Brandon

"Press X- Jump into Mass Grave"


Rejected titles for this article:

“Saving America One Hooters at a Time”
“American Cheese”
“2005 Called, They Want Their AAA Shooter Back”
“The Second American Revolution, Brought to You by Full Throttle Energy Drinks”
“Fever Dream of a Neo-Con Hawk”
“Fare Thee Well, Kaos Studios”
“Good Guys Wear Red, White and Blue- Even if they’re Dirty Subhuman Koreans”
“Smells Like Korean Barbecue”

Even though the last one is a line directly from Homefront and the penultimate one references how they’ve stuck in a “friendly” Korean-American resistance fighter to stave off the pretty blatant xenophobia and racism present in the game, I went with what I thought was one of the funniest onscreen prompts I’ve ever seen in my life. It was supposed to be chilling, I guess. It wasn’t. It made human suffering trivial and silly. I woke my wife up laughing at the absurdity of it.

Homefront is a total turkey. I’m so disappointed…

Now, this isn’t a formal review. I’ve only played the game for about four hours, but that includes three hours of the single player campaign which by all accounts is over half of it. I also played online for about 30 minutes yesterday morning and then for another tortuously laggy 30 minutes last night. I won’t be playing it any further, and I’ve already posted the game for sale at Half.com.

But I feel the need to rant about it, because I think it’s a complete piece of trash and if I can save at least one person from plunking down 60 bucks for this I’ll have done a good deed for the day. I’m literally shocked that THQ, who has done some mighty fine publishing work lately including the amazing Metro 2033 and the surprisingly good Darksiders, would have poured so much money into marketing what is essentially a half-decade out-of-date shooter with a “provocative” theme that turns out to be as nastily hateful and jingoistic as all of that North Korean propaganda they print up to convince their people that Americans are evil and bad.

It starts out promising with here-and-now footage of Hilary Clinton at a news conference regarding real-world North Korean transgressions, which sort of sets the stage for at least some degree of feasibility. Then we’re shown how events lead up to an emboldened and reunited Korean state that starts throwing its weight around internationally, leading up to an EMP attack on the US. Once we’re in the game proper, the faceless and voiceless protagonist is rounded up by hand-wringing, moustache-twirling Korean MPs, gets conscripted, and is put on a bus. It’s very similar to the opening of Half-Life 2 and how that game depicts the oppression and injustice of City-17, but more brutal and at least in one instance, more shocking. Derivative and a little forced, but I wasn’t hating it yet.

Once the resistance fighters show up and the shooting starts, it all goes to hell. The gameplay is stiff, the guns lack any kind of impact or punch, and enemy AI is of the “shooting gallery dummy” variety. The settings aren’t particularly effective, because they’re really just variations on the urban apocalypse we’ve seen in plenty of other shooters. It’s just supposed to be Colorado and not Afghanistan. You follow your betters around like a puppy, and they tell you everything to do. Over and over again. And then, when you get to a door, you wait on them to come open it for you. There was one point where I was sneaking into an area with this girl and I was way ahead of her. There was a wicked, murderous Korean soldier standing there oblivious so I walked up to melee him. It did nothing. I walked in front of him, he did nothing. Finally she came up and performed her scripted kill. The scripting is terrible, and it’s made worse by the fact that many scripted scenes lock you into walking incredibly slow behind other characters. Not a big change of pace since the running in the game is the slowest I think I’ve ever seen.

The much-vaunted Goliath is little more than a rolling version of the artillery strike function in other games. Paint targets with a targeter, it shoots them. There is also the need to babysit it, since those pesky, Satanically savage Koreans have EMP rockets they shoot at it. Yes, you’re escorting it.

The worst things about the gameplay are elements that other shooters did away with long ago. About a full hour of my play last night was trying to cross this catwalk to get into the administration building of the labor camp (set up at a football field- THOSE MONSTERS!). Endlessly respawning blood-drinking, baby-killing Koreans streamed out of the building while one of my compatriots CONSTANTLY yelled that I needed to get in there and shoot the guys manning the machine guns. I died over and over again because of enemies that were unseen, accidentally picking up a gun and thus triggering a painfully slow animation, and because skill is thrown out the door and the best you can do is charge forward and hope to squeak by. When I finally did get in the building, a monster closet opened up, apparently, and some guy shot me from behind. I think. There are also magically appearing grenades- I assume they’re either magic, or the filth-wallowing worse-than-Hitler Koreans have some amazingly accurate pitchers on their side.

The game is also very old-looking, with textures that look like first-generation 360 fare but with slightly better lighting. People look atrocious. I think the Gamebryo Engine has better looking faces. I’m not kidding. The previously mentioned good guy Korean (who, by the way, is of course the one character that royally screws the pooch during an operation that I believe is intended to reclaim a Tiger Direct store) has a face that looks like hamburger meat with eyeballs stuck in it. I’m not quite sure how this game is supposed to have all of this emotional resonance when every character in it is dead-eyed and completely devoid of any personality.

I’m making light of the racism and xenophobia in the game because I’m really just sort of shocked at how passively it’s been treated. This is a game that states quite clearly who the enemy is, and dehumanizes them every bit as much as the Koreans are supposed to be doing to the Americans in this game. It doesn’t help that they have this sort of stormtrooper body armor that hides their faces. One of the characters apparently feels bad about slaughtering them, but she’s probably a bleeding heart liberal.

As for the America depicted in the game, it is interesting that the game is almost a neo-con fable. America is made vulnerable and is worn down by financial crises, its dependence on Middle East oil, and waning morale. Adding to that is that the various newspaper collectibles you find throughout the game also suggest that a decentralized, stripped-down, and underfunded military is what allowed the situation depicted in the game to happen. No surprise, coming from the pen of John Milius. I’m male so I love Conan, Red Dawn was a great 80s picture, and Apocalypse Now is one of the greatest war films ever made…but Homefront is like that cranky old guy down at the used bookstore issuing proclamations and dire warnings about where America is headed.

Corporate logos and sponsorships also abound in the game. I’m not kidding about fighting in a Hooters or the Tiger Direct store. There are Jansport bags, and both Full Throttle and NoS energy drink ads. In a sense, I think this is actually OK because it’s realistic. Walk outside in America and you’ll see this shit everywhere you look. Why not in a game about America too? My retort to that, however, is that if that is what America is then let those ravaging, barbaric Koreans have it.

As for the Multiplayer, what little I played of it wasn’t particularly inspired or interesting. The big twist is that instead of unlocking killstreaks through continued killing, you get points to spend toward on-the-fly upgrades and abilities. It’s kind of a cool idea, but I can’t see playing this game over Killzone 3 or one of the other FPS offerings just to enjoy a different scoring mechanic couched in routine game modes.

So yeah, Homefront sucks. I was really looking forward to a great, story-driven campaign and some interesting multiplayer but I’m not seeing it at all, and I’m ready to drop this turd like a hot potato. In closing, I do find it awfully fishy that Monday night’s de-embargoed Metacritic scores were pegging this game in the high 80s and into the 90s. By mid-day Tuesday when the embargo levee broke, it plummeted nearly 20 points and for the 360 version I believe it’s sitting at 72, which I think is still awfully, awfully generous of a lot of reviewers. THQ’s stock dropped 26% yesterday, and the game’s servers are a complete shambles.

The only mass grave this game is headed for is the bargain bin.

Homefront Reviews Cause THQ Stock to Plummet?

The power of the press, eh? Tom Chick’s Homefront review, which he’s writing for Gameshark, will be posted on Friday but the general consensus so far is that the game isn’t quite as good as we’d hoped. THQ sunk a lot of money into this game, and top level THQ reps spoke of it as a real competitor to Call of Duty and Battlefield. So far the critical reception has been less than glowing.

That said, Homefront pre-orders were through the roof, according to THQ, and it’s not like this is the first high profile game to receive middling review scores. Currently Homefront sits at the completely arbitrary “71″ on Metacritic but according to a story from Reuters, this is the reason for the 9% stock drop.

Then there’s this:

“The first-person shooter game “Homefront” received a score of 75 on Metacritic, a website that tracks reviews of games. The market leader in war-themed games is Activision Blizzard’s (ATVI.O) “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” which has a score of 88 on the website. “This score is a bit of a disaster for THQ and the share price today is reflecting that,” said Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey. “The market is a quality driven market (and) you need at least a score of 80 and above on Metacritic to do well.”

Even Reuters and “Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey”, who somehow is under the impression that this is a “quality driven market” even though I can show Mike about 1,000 cases of where that’s not true, cite Metacritic scores as if they’re actually tangible and every time I see that my stomach starts to hurt and I need to get up from my PC and take the dogs outside, get some air, and hug my family for reassurance that the entire world in which I work hasn’t lost its collective mind. If, and this is a huge assumption, that the Metacritic score is the reason THQ’s stock dropped, then we really need to start looking at how this industry functions from a criticism standpoint because if it’s THAT big of a deal and we’re using arbitrary review numbers from an aggregate website to determine stock prices and, thus jobs and livelihoods, then we’re deeper down the rabbit hole than I ever imagined.