The universe is descending into chaos as the war between Heaven and Hell gets complicated. The Charred Council created The Four Horsemen, giving them the task of enforcing law and maintaining balance across multiple dimensions. Humanity emerges in a third dimension named Earth between Heaven and Hell, and this is where the real trouble begins. The very fabric of existence is threatened by screen tearing, as a videogame company named THQ threatens to publish the universe.
How does that read to you? To me it sounds like sports commentary. The winner goes to the next round and the loser is knocked out as everyone fights for center stage. Is this how we treat artists? Unless you’re THQ, this isn’t how the gaming industry operates. It isn’t how ANY entertainment industry operates. People make cool things, other people buy and share the cool things and more cool things are made. Movies are shown in different cinemas, musicians play at different venues. Why are we being so passive-aggressive about videogames, have our lives gotten so easy that we need to simulate chaos where it doesn’t belong? Gaming journalists apathy for videogames has gotten to the point where Nintendo has actively moved away from the whole scene with Nintendo Direct becoming the sole outlet for their game announcements.
Homefront is THQ’s answer to a question nobody asked; why can’t we have more games about war? There isn’t enough violence in the world according to THQ, so they’ve made up a new scenario for this game. It takes place in 2027 and apparently Korea has been terrorising the world for 15 years because they’re Korea. The game starts off with 3 Korean soldiers attacking you and acting smug, before they push you down some stairs and lock you in a bus. There’s a “normal” dude you’ve never met waiting on the bus and he acts like you’re his homeboy. The bus gets going and you’re forced to look outside through the window, with a locked camera that makes sure you see all the brutality happening on the streets. Korean soldiers are hitting people for fun, explosions are going off, children are crying, slaves are being prodded in a line. Apparently this has been going on for a decade, but seemingly everything happens at once right as the bus goes by. Are we having fun yet?
2009’s sledgehammer-swinging simulator Red Faction: Guerrilla ended up being one of those games for me. As in a ‘whoa, this is what I dreamed the future of video games would be like as a kid’ type revelation. Emerged from deep within the dustiest corners of my mind; created over countless weekends of rental regrets. While I may have technically been playing the likes of Virtual Bart or Brutal: Paws of Fury, I was actually elsewhere – looking forward to a distant time where a game would reward me for driving a truck into the side of a building to somehow complete a rescue mission which should have required a certain degree of care and planning.
Oh yes, this game exists. Reception of the first game was mixed – some people actively hated the game, some passively hated it. Big Beach Sports managed to sell over a million copies; a very impressive milestone for any game. Despite this claim to fame, the game was a broken mess, and was only popular for being the first Wii game to feature Cricket. The motion controls didn’t work and it was a frustrating game to play. THQ decided this was a formula for success, and now it’s back. I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on a copy of Big Beach Sports 2, and I thought I’d give THQ a chance to redeem themselves. After all, they went to the effort of getting a special team to handle this sequel. What could go wrong? With two all new racing mini-games, I couldn’t help but try it.