@feenwager Chances are pretty good, given that it’s Maxis, right? Really dug what I’ve played of the beta.

Also, been indulging in Homefront. Funny thing, that. Imported the US version, required Steam to install – as in, being online – and hit a brick wall with “this game is not yet available in your region”. So, I was allowed to preload. This was a few weeks ago now, and after a little searching, I found out the Japanese versions – console only, it seems – were being released on the 14th of April. Incidentally, given the long-standing politics of Japan and North Korea, the localisation Japan is or has received completely strips any notion that the “invaders” are North Koreans. Wonder how that all turns out.

Anyway, long story short, I’m able to bypass the damn Steam region restrictions (one gross insult, Steam!) by finding the game within the Steamapps folder and booting straight from there. Hilariously, or sadly, Steam is still logging my playtime and achievement unlocks.

I’ll concede (and this might bring a knowing, prescient “told ya so!” smile to @RedSwirl’s dial) that I probably was in love with the concept more than the reality of what might come of this game’s campaign. It’s got an incredibly strong opening, but from there, it kinda loses its impetus and becomes a bit of a “coulda been” experience. I do hope there’s a sequel, because there is so much potential here. There’s sadly all too little of those quiet moments in the game…the safe haven known as Oasis being one of them.

Kaos Studios are fantastic at the mechanical side of the game, though. They manage to craft more technical multiplayer experiences than most, create levels that actually feel like places and a slew of intelligent game choices within that, probably to their detriment, confuse and irritate the fast food CoD junkies.

Let me state, though, I love the concept of military shooters. Objectively, I see military-themed games as having the capability to be excellent vehicles for narrative and conveying the full range of human emotions – only for the fact that, since we first started picking up rocks and flinging them at our slow-brained Australopithecine cousins, we’ve been shaped by conflict. There’s a gaping deficit in military-themed games. It’s either highly-nuanced and mechanic-centric (your simulation titles) or it’s a frat-boy “power fantasy” (which I’ve never quite subscribed to, as I think it’s triggering something much deeper in our evolutionary psyche) where it seems the inertia stems from strange cocktails of 20th Century nationalistic jingoism and thematic overtones from 80s action films.

Perhaps Brothers In Arms is closer to the mark, but even then, the emphasis lies with the technicalities of squad movement and management than on Baker and his men, even though Gearbox did an admirable job with the series.

So, after Homefront’s faltering first step, I await Spec Ops: The Line. The developers made that awesome Xbox/PC arcade flight-sim Yager, but this looks like it’ll be a little more…er…narrative-driven. Maybe it’s overly optimistic, but going by their last game, I’d like to think these guys have a good shot at crafting something with a little more headspace than the usual fare. Out in August.

I hope we can get some seriously thought-provoking, morally-interesting games in the military set.