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Frontline: America
Frontline Title Card
Frontline: America
Genres First-person Shooter
Developers Infinity Ward
Quantum Inc.
Publishers Activision
Composers Hans Zimmer
Platforms Playstation 3
XBOX 360
MyLife
Microsoft Windows
Requirements Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista, 7)
Sound 7.1 Dolby
Original release April 9, 2013
Engine QI2-D
Modes Single-player, Co-Op, Online Multiplayer

Frontline: America is a 2013 first-person shooter video game, developed by Infinity Ward and published by Activision for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and MyLife. The game was released in North America, Australia, and Europe in April 2013 for video game consoles and Microsoft Windows and slated for release in early 2014 for Apple Mac OS and will be made available in Japan by Spring of that year.

The story takes place in 2017 following the United States' 2016 elections in which Republicans win back the Presidency and a Congressional and Senate majority under the guise of GOP reforms. As a result of increased tensions and deliberate aggressiveness of the new Republican administration against the Union of Everett's government, the United States wages a sudden invasion of the neighboring Everett. Conflicts throughout the game are seen from the perspective of a variety of Union of Everett military forces and their characters, including the Homeland Defense System, the Air Force, the Marine Corps and the Militant Forces special forces command in a variety of locales across the North American continent, within both the Union of Everett and the United States, as well as in Canada and Mexico.

Gameplay

Campaign

The player assumes the role of various characters during the single-player campaign, changing perspectives throughout the progression of the story. Campaign missions are separated into "fronts". Each mission in a front features a series of objectives that are displayed on the heads up display, which marks the direction and distance towards and from such objectives. Damage to the player is shown by the level of redness opacity shown on the screen. Increasing damage makes the visibility through the redness harder. The player's health regenerates over time, to a point, before accessing health packs and other aid kits becomes necessary. Mission objectives vary in their requirements, ranging from having the player arrive at a particular checkpoint, to eliminating enemies in a specified location, to standing their ground against enemy squadrons, manning mini-guns and other weapons, and planting explosive charges on an enemy installation. Some of these objectives can be failed, and may or may not hinder progression of the story. The player is also accompanied by fellow soldiers who cannot be issued orders. Unlike several other popular first-person shooter games, campaign missions include taking the role of piloting fighter aircraft in dogfights and the need to carry out aerial operations to allow NPCs on the ground to achieve their missions. Some campaign missions take place at the same time as others, in which the player must take the role of both a ground force character and next, replaying the same moment, as a combat fighter in the sky.

Co-Op Mode

Cooperative mode, which is a two player mode, allows a player to play with or against another player offline. Co-op mode features different forms of missions, including death match (each player fights each other in a map until defeated based on preset conditions) and survival (both players work together to fight off NPC enemies on an ever-increasing level of hardness). Players are allowed to modify and customize a variety of weapons and equipment, leveling up their stats and skill levels as co-op missions are completed. Co-Op mode includes all of the campaign maps, plus additional bonus maps including "The Skyscraper" (players battle inside of an office building), "Times Square" (players battle in an area of Times Square in New York City), "Aircraft Carrier" (players battle aboard a fully accessible Nimitz-class aircraft carrier) and "Vegas" (players battle along a section of the Vegas Strip).

Multiplayer

Multiplayer mode allows players to log online and join a network of other Frontline players around the world. In multiplayer mode, players may also, like Co-Op, modify and customize their weapons and equipment, build up stats and skills, achieve ranking and edit their online mode avatars for use in multiplayer gameplay. Multiplayer mode allows up to 30 players divided on two teams to fight each other on every map available in campaign mode, plus the bonus maps available in Co-Op. Multiplayer users can choose to join as the United States Armed Forces or as the Union of Everett Armed Forces. Avatar editing allows basic levels of customization. Male and female avatars, skin color and three preset faces for male and three for female allow for avatar base customization. Combat gear clothing can be changed between variations of camouflage (woodland, digital, solid colors).

Multiplayer settings allow for choices of Team Death Match (both teams fight their opponents to the death), Capture The Flag (teams must attempt to capture Intel from the opposing team and securing it), Team Defense (one team defends a point or object from being taken over or destroyed by the opposing team) and Death Match aka Every-Man-For-Himself (all players are on their own in killing each other, acquiring points for each kill, the top score wins).

Synopsis

Characters

The game sees the player taking on the control of a variety of characters in different missions. Primary characters a player controls in single-player campaign repeat their appearances in several missions. Captain Valerie "Judge Judy" Judge is used in different missions, piloting combat fighter aircraft in missions including dogfights and aerial support missions. In these missions, Cpt. Judge allows the player to pilot the SF-22 Raptor II fighter and the F-35 Lightning II. She appears during the Chicago, Groom Lake/Nellis, Hawaii, Sacramento and San Diego missions. Sergeant Daniel "Candyman" Oswald of the Union of Everett Marine Corps appears in several missions during the Second Front series of missions in which the United States and Everett are fighting on Everetti territory. Candyman is played in the Chicago, Indianapolis, Minneapolis and Memphis missions. Later in the Fourth Front missions, Candyman appears in the St. Louis, Denver, Los Angeles and Sacramento missions. Lieutenant Anthony "Reaper" Jackson of the Union of Everett Militant Forces is used in a series of missions, in which the player must achieve special and black operations goals including combat missions in the Houston, Cheyenne Mountain, FEMA Camp and Groom Lake missions. Other less frequent playable characters appearing throughout the campaign missions include Homeland Defense System Community Organizer Frank Dodson in the Springfield, Illinois mission during the First Front series of missions; Sgt. Heather Bertone, a New Orleans SWAT officer in the New Orleans mission; Ricardo Garcia, a Mexican Federale SWAT officer in Juarez, Mexico in the Juarez mission and Major Conroy "Joker" Winston, a Canadian Army Major who fends off the United States' attempted invasion of Vancouver in the Vancouver mission.

Plot

The campaign begins with an introduction cut scene, flashing different news reports and video footage of the 2016 United States elections as Republican candidate Ryan Willard, an obvious pseudonym for the 2012 Romney/Ryan Presidential campaign candidates Willard "Mitt" Romney and Paul Ryan, wins the 2016 Presidential elections. Under the guise that the Republican Party has undergone significant political reforms to make itself more appealing to changing times, the Willard administration launches a series of condemnations against the Union of Everett, calling for the reuniting of the United States under one U.S. government. The cut scene then fades to a date, August 7, 2017, during the late night, United States special forces teams killing off Everetti border guards and tanks and humvees rushing through the border crossings into Illinois, Louisiana and Minnesota. A third cut scene displays the date August 8, 2017, Springfield, Illinois, HDS community organizer Frank Dodson engages in combat with U.S. Army and Marines in downtown Springfield, joining police in rescuing the Illinois Governor and then defending a hospital and shooting down a U.S. helicopter.

A cut scene follows the Springfield mission, of news reports announcing the United States has declared war on Everett and launched an invasion overnight. The announcer specifies that U.S. forces have occupied Springfield, Illinois; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Memphis, Tennessee; Minneapolis, Minnesota and warn U.S. forces are storming towards Chicago, New Orleans, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Nashville. New Orleans police Sergeant Heather Bertone and the NOPD attempt to defend New Orleans for American forces by demolishing vital interstate routes into the city. A battle in the French Quarter ensues against U.S. paratroopers and helicopters. Sergeant Bertone is then executed by U.S. troops.

Frontline America Valerie Judge SF-22

The player's view in third-person dog-fighting around Chicago buildings in the Chicago Aerial mission.

The Second Front is noted by a cut scene of the Everetti Secretary of Defense calling for a taking up of arms and announcing a powerful retaliation against the United States' aggression. A next cut scene fades in, showing the date, August 9, 2017 11:37 am, Chicago, Illinois, Black Knights Air Force Squadron. A squadron of fighters, referred to as the Black Knights, all of which are SF-22 Raptor II stealth fighters engage U.S. air force fighters and dogfight over the city of Chicago. After destroying and acquiring air superiority over the city, the Black Knights take out unmanned combat drones until ground forces re-activate SDI anti-air defenses.

Immediately after the "Aerial Mission", Part Two of the Chicago mission begins, showing "Chicago, Illinois, August 9, 2017, 10:45 am, the Union of Everett Marines Sergeant Daniel "Candyman" Oswald and his platoon land on the shores of Chicago from Lake Michigan and engage American troops in the city. U.S. Marines are defeated and disabled SDI air defenses are re-activated, allowing the city to fend off American air support, paratroopers and helicopters. Candyman and his cohorts battle inside the Sears Tower, destroying the American base established there.

After a cutscene of Chicago defeating U.S. troops and forcing a retreat, Candyman and Everetti Marines deploy via helicopter into Minneapolis and engage in battles to rescue the Minnesota Governor. On August 10th, Candyman deploys into Indianapolis to engage in further battles against U.S. forces pushing eastward. The Marines fend of American troops in the capital city of Indiana and head south to engage against U.S. troops in Memphis, Tennessee.

Frontline America Thomas French Quarter Tank

Marine soldier Thomas in a GT-Harris tank in the New Orleans French Quarter tank mission in first-person view.

A cutscene switches the perspective to an Everetti Marine only referred to as "Thomas", on August 12, 2017. Thomas engages combat in New Orleans against U.S. forces, including driving a GT-Harris MBT to destroy U.S. tanks and push troops out of the French Quarter. A devastating blow is dealt to the United States as Thomas and several Marines and HDS destroy a vital U.S. communications post which forces the United States to retreat from its invasion of the Union of Everett.

On "August 11, 2017", the Black Knights squadron engages U.S. forces attempting to land in Hawaii. The entire mission is engaged in the air with pilot Valerie "Judge Judy" Judge. While dog fighting American fighters, Black Knights destroys U.S. bomber planes and NPC action below depicts naval battles between the Everettis and Americans. The Hawaii mission ends with reports of U.S. naval withdrawal.

A cutscene opening the "Third Front" begins, the United States has launched invasions of Canada and Mexico. Ricardo Garcia, a Mexican Federale SWAT officer has joined Mexican soldiers in fighting the U.S. invasion of Juarez, Mexico. Garcia and fellow Federales engage in combating American troops through the city, destroying U.S. anti-air missiles, allowing Everetti drones and fighters to drop ordnance on the U.S.-Mexico border, destroying a U.S. convoy into Mexico.

Meanwhile, in Vancouver, Canada, Major Conroy "Joker" Winston, a Canadian Army Major, engages U.S. forces attempting to take over British Columbia and attack Alaska. Several battles ensue in Vancouver, as Canadian military fights U.S. troops. Joker and a squad are deployed to protect the Alaska oil pipeline from sabotage and fight U.S. special forces to the northwest. Although the Americans are held off, the pipeline erupts in a violent explosion.

The Fourth Front cutscene "August 25th, 2017" depicts U.S. forces retreating from the Union of Everett, showing Everetti forces crossing into St. Louis. Sergeant "Candyman" appears again, landing from amphibious tanks from across the Mississippi River. A battle ensues in St. Louis and U.S. forces are defeated. The Gateway Arch collapses.

On August 30, 2017, Candyman's battalions have reaching Denver, Colorado with the intent of catching a U.S. general. Candyman and several Everetti Marines fight their way into a national guard armory and arrest the general. Meanwhile, at the same time, Lieutenant Anthony "Reaper" Jackson of the UEMF conducts a black ops mission to destroy a U.S. Homeland Security facility in Houston, Texas to cut off the agency's ability to track and monitor Americans. Intel is acquired that the U.S. is detaining Americans and Everetti tourists in FEMA facilities.

"September 1, 2017", Reaper and his special operations team raids a FEMA prison center north of Houston, killing the personnel, freeing the detainees and rescuing and Everetti politician who was being held since vacationing in Texas. The politician is rescued and the FEMA facility is destroyed by an AC-130 gunship. The next day, Reaper and his black ops team are deployed to infiltrate and disable the U.S. Cheyenne Mountain NORAD complex. Battles ensue inside and the U.S. attempts to launch its nuclear arsenal. Reaper's team successfully takes control of the facility, last minute, in time to shut down the launch sequence.

With NORAD, the U.S. nuclear arsenal and the entire U.S. air defense system down, Captain Valerie Judge and the Black Knights Air Force squadron engage U.S. fighters over Nellis Air Force Base and Nellis Bombing Range north of Las Vegas. The Black Knights defeat a large force of U.S. combat aircraft and disable Nellis' ability to deploy aircraft. The Black Knights then engage the Groom Lake facility, "Area 51", and take down its air defenses and fighters. Judge engages a secret U.S. super-fighter and destroys it after a dogfight.

"September 3, 2017", Reaper and his team are deployed into Area 51 in an attempt to capture the Vice President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense. Battles ensue throughout the base and Reaper's team manages to detain the U.S. Defense Secretary. As Reaper's team extracts, a large explosion destroys Groom Lake, bringing down Reaper's helicopter. It is unknown if Reaper lives.

Meanwhile on September 5th, 2017, Captain Valerie Judge flies with the Jolly Rogers squadron from an Everetti carrier on an air raid against San Diego, California. Dogfights ensue as the mission to disable the naval ports and sink two nuclear carriers is achieved.

Frontline America Candyman Hollywood

Candyman battling on the streets of Hollywood, California, in the Los Angeles/Hollywood mission, played in first-person view.

Candyman and the Everetti Marines land on Los Angeles beach on September 7th 2017, following the U.S. President's refusal to surrender terms. Union of Everett Marines, supported by armored vehicles combat U.S. forces throughout Los Angeles, Hollywood and West Hollywood. With San Diego defeated, U.S. strongholds are reduced to Los Angeles and San Francisco. U.S. forces are forced to retreat or surrender, leaving the U.S. capital of Sacramento exposed for the final attack.

Nightfall on September 7th, Captain Judge's squadron leads a final strike on Sacramento's defenses, destroying anti-air vehicles and striking bunker strongholds while ground forces penetrate the city limits with the intent to arrest the President and end the war. The final mission switches constantly between aerial missions and ground missions between Captain Judge's and Candyman's point of view. Candyman and his squad work their way into the New White House and after a drawn out battle, capture the U.S. President.

The campaign plot ends with news agencies reporting an end to the war and the capture of the United States President.

Marketing & Release

Frontline was marketed through a series of mysterious television advertisements and several internet websites which took advantage of conspiracy theorists and gamers alike. The controversial advertisements on television included four different commercials which would start off each time with the television appearing to have gone black and white static and switching to a multicolored Emergency Broadcast System screen. What followed next were false news reports reporting varied acts of war and terrorism, starting with a series of commercials run for two days, claiming the United States had launched an invasion of the Union of Everett and video footage of the John Hancock Center in Chicago collapsing. For two more days, a second commercial ran, depicting Everetti forces invading St. Louis with video of the Gateway Arch falling as fighter jets streak by. The third series of commercials ran for three days, showing footage of combat and chaos in the United States, mostly Los Angeles and Sacramento. The fourth series of commercials ran for one day, announcing the coming soon release of Frontline: America for PS3, PS4, XBOX ONE and MyLife II. The game released two days later.

On the internet, several websites had been set up for three weeks prior to the game's release, in style of conspiracy theorism and survivalist allegations of a coming war between the United States and Everett and for people to prepare. Each website had slightly different "theories" and "claims". Two days before game release, the websites switched to full video game promotions for Frontline: America.

Upon its release, coinciding with the coincidental North American Cold War in the real world, between the United States and Everett, it became the largest selling individual disc-based video game in video gaming console history. The game sold some forty million copies in North America alone within the first month and back-orders were so flooded that delays for game purchase were backed up for nearly one year. By 2014, the game had sold and delivered another 60 million back-orders in North America, forcing Sony and Microsoft to adjust and upgrade their online gaming servers for the increased online play. MyLife was forced to provide fully downloadable online copies to provide increased delivery of the games with promised future delivery of full discs later on when available. Quantum Inc. also had to add additional server availability for the flood of downloads from the internet to players' MyLife and MyLife II consoles.

Reception

According to many critics, Frontline received a 9 of out 10 in ratings for game play. Critics reported that the constant transition in action between aerial dog-fighting and air strikes and ground based combat with mixes of naval action kept the campaign "exciting and edge of your seat entertaining". Graphics quality was rated by most notable game critics was a 10 of 10.

Although the game released at a time of high tensions between the United States and the Union of Everett, the game's plot was reviewed with mixed reactions from critics living in the Union of Everett and abroad. Everetti gamers reviewed the plot, including combat between Americans and Everettis as positive, along with gamers in the United States. The result of the game's plot and real world events has led to one of the largest online multiplayer gaming events in video game history.

Game critics alleged that online matches often took place with American citizens siding on their own "U.S. Forces" team while Everetti gamers siding with the "Everetti Forces" team in online matches.

The United States President Barack Obama mentioned the game in a national speech, making light of the real world intense situation between the two neighboring countries, saying in part, "We hope our political differences do not turn our two countries into a video game war." As well, Everetti President Kaitlyn Spencer also comically mentioned the game, "I swear, this was unintentional."

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