Published on March 18th, 2011 | by Kyle Spencer, Editor
Developer: Kaos Studios
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [Reviewed], PC
Release: March 15, 2011
War has changed and America is now under siege of the “Greater Korean Republic”, which is the uniting of both North and South Korea. People are being captured, tormented and killed for no reason at all, and the United States of America is in shambles. Military is scattered, Government is broken down, and citizens are left to fight for themselves, with whatever they can find. This is not your typical first-person shooter, but more of a survival game. Penned by legendary writer of Red Dawn, and Apocalypse Now, John Milius, Homefront creates a devastating setting the genre hasn’t seen in quite a while, and features a story that is not only eerie, but plausible.
Let me start by saying that I have seen, read, and chatted with many different people surrounding their thoughts on Homefront since it’s release. The likes and dislikes of Homefront are so sporadic that it is hard to pin point the games drawbacks. One thing is clear, do not go into Homefront thinking that you are getting a game that is “Like” “Call of Duty” or “Battlefield”, because you will be disappointed. If you want a Call of Duty or Battlefield then please save yourself the trouble and buy one or both of those games. Homefront honestly has more of a Rainbow Six game play without the strategic formula added to it.
The game’s campaign is where Homefront draws on some of it’s strength. The opening cinematic draws on what happens in the world through the next fifteen years, showing where North and South Korea squash their differences and the North Korean dictator dies and his son takes over. The Greater Korean Republic strengthens it’s military regime and missile production, and after taking over Japan, the Koreans have the United States in their sites and start with invading Hawaii. Watching the opening cinematic hits close to home, and becomes more and more apparent that these events could be a reality sometime in the future. This is Homefronts charm, and sadly enough during the opening of the campaign there will be an execution scene while you are traveling on a Korean bus that will forever loom in your head and will be the topic of conversation among friends.
(This is just the beginning of the torment in the single player campaign)
The setting in Homefront is where the game truly shines. You will fight your way through a broken down United States, fight your way through other peoples back yards, school stadiums, U.S. Landmarks, and broken down homes. We were told early on that weapons would be hard to come by, but in the retail release we found that you become well acquainted with a handful of different assault rifles with different attachments from the very beginning. You will start off with a pistol, and within two minutes you will be armed with two assault rifles. You will be accompanied by a couple of people that are part of the revolution, and are looking to bring you back to their settlement because you are a solider of war who can bring a lot of aid to their cause. Although all the characters share a lot of interesting dialogue, their back stories are never explained and become just another pawn to the progressing storyline.
The action of the game is not nearly as strong as the environments or story. As you progress through the very linear story line you will encounter enemies that are small in numbers and feature some extremely horrible A.I. The only balancing factor to the horrible A.I. is the difficulty is oddly enough difficult. I can’t count how many times I died trying to progress through different areas of the city, especially when turrets were in play.
The graphics are pretty solid for the most part. I did notice some pop-ins and small texture loading issues, but overall the game was graphically sound. Again this is not your typical FPS where the visuals are bright, and lavish, but instead are very gray, dark and battered due to what has been done to the country. The campaign is also short and ends way too abruptly, leaving room for sequel opportunities.
The subject of a lot of conversation is how does the Multiplayer play out for a title of this caliber? It is a nice choice to have a 32 player multiplayer added to the mix and the maps are large enough to support such a huge group of players. The maps are built well enough that you can climb any building or environment set pieces you run into. The world is open and at your disposal. The gameplay is much slower than some people used to, which is nice coming off of games such as COD, and Battlefield where the action is fast paced and all about self. Homefront slows everything down and makes everything about team work.
The fundamentals are all the same. You earn experience points which you will use to buy new weapons to increase your load-outs, attachments, and abilities (COD Perks). You can create classes much like Call of Duty, and choose your load-outs, but go into this knowing that there are not a whole lot of weapons that you will have to choose from, even when you purchase them. You have to think of the multiplayer as taking a piece from the single player. You are in a ravished United States where you will not all those weapons at your disposal that you may have had in previous FPS games.
Each kill in Multiplayer will also earn you money which you use in the battlefield to purchase and activate one of your two abilities. This is a refreshing way of using “perks,” as opposed to going on a “certain kill count kill streak”. The air drone is extremely useful. It doesn’t have any attack features, but instead can paint certain enemies that you and your team can see. If your like me then you may want to save your points up and spawn inside of an actual vehicle that can be driven by you. Other teammates can also join you in the vehicle and provide assistance.
(The environments look this good)
The mechanics will feel very familiar to veteran First Person Players, and Homefront offers a lot of different techniques that you may not find in other titles. It also doesn’t have features that other popular titles may have and will be off putting to some. There aren’t many game modes to choose from, so diversity takes a hit, but with a decent experience system and solid pacing, the multiplayer does have legs. It offers a nice balance to an over saturated market of FPS multiplayer games.
The Final Truth:
Homefront is a unique game, all in all. From the relatively respectable story line, to a solid multiplayer experience, Homefront is in a league all of its own. You have to understand that this will be a title that you will enjoy thoroughly, or it will be a title you will want to get rid of just as quick as you bought it. You have to go into Homefront with the correct mentality, and not try to compare it to Call of Duty or Battlefield. It will not play like any of those two games, but offers some solid differences that those other titles do not offer. You have to give the multiplayer a chance as well, since they havent fixed the server issues yet, finding matches will be like pulling teeth. Sometimes keeping a lobby of your friends together is a bit difficult, but remember that this is a launch of a new IP and a lot of games have server issues on day one. Homefront is a solid experience , and left me wondering what future sequels could bring. I just wish it would have ventured out a bit more and offered more freedom to explore the elaborate world, and that the story didn’t end so abruptly.
+ Elaborate Environments
+ Decent Story
+ Solid Multiplayer
+ Solid Experience System
– Un-interesting characters
– Horrible A.I.
– To Short of a Story
– Abrupt Ending