Venturing into what he admits is unfamiliar territory, North Korea expert Aidan Foster-Carter critiques Homefront, which he calls a “sick, stupid Korean invasion fantasy.”
I’m not going to argue that the plot is anything less than absurd, that the marketing wasn’t annoying, or that switching the Chinese for the North Koreans wasn’t rather craven, if admittedly sensible from a business perspective. On that last point, though, it is interesting to note that Homefront maker Kaos Studio’s previous game — the underrated (IMHO) Frontlines: Fuel of War — did feature the Chinese as an enemy (even if most of the game is spent killing Russians).
Still, you’re dealing with a game whose premise in an occupied America. Given that it’s hard to imagine any scenario in which an invasion of the United States — a concept that is absurd enough — doesn’t end with the nation of the invading party being turned into a sheet of glass, the background scenario of any any kind of “occupied America” game, movie or book is going to be ridiculous. The background scenario exists simply to establish a setting. Sure, turning the North Koreans into an invading, occupying force requires a far greater suspension of disbelief than, say, battling invading Russians in the White House in COD: Modern Combat II, but it’s just a matter of degree.
Anyway, Dr. Foster-Carter concludes:
Or again, have I had a humor bypass? I think not. For the record, and perhaps unlike some at 38 North, I don’t have too much of a problem with Team America: World Police. Subtle, this was not, but the parody was inventive. And I suspect Kim Jong Il really is lonely.
Whereas Homefront is just stupid, and sick. A country where grown men make stuff like this for other grown men to play is not a healthy one. The real North Korea is bad enough, but it is not about to invade the USA—except in the lurid fantasies of the ineffable Kim Myong Chol, soi-disant DPRK spokesman and regular snorter of over-the-top bellicose rhetoric: “The next war will be better called the American War or the DPRK-U.S. War because the main theater will be the continental U.S., with major cities transformed into towering infernos.”
I bet he’ll buy a copy of Homefront. But he’s in Japan, so he’ll have to make do with the censored version where the KPA doesn’t even get the credit for all that mayhem. Bummer.
A country where grown men make stuff like this for other grown men to play is not a healthy one? OK, I suppose one could feel that way, but if you think Homefront is bad, take my advice and stay away from Manhunter and the Grand Theft Auto series, both of which were made by none other than Edinburgh’s own Rockstar North.