Homefront

Homefront's engrossing vision of the future and gratifying competitive multiplayer outweigh its squandered potential and workaday game mechanics.


7.0
CNET Rating
4.0
User Rating


War on American soil isn't a foreign concept for first-person shooters, but few do it with the grim dedication of Homefront. Its chilling vision of life in occupied America is vividly illustrated through lengthy scenes that depict the brutality of military subjugation and the desperation of its victims. This thoroughly developed setting is one of the most engaging the genre has seen for a while, making the campaign worthwhile despite its run-of-the-mill action and unsatisfying length. There is some longevity, however, in Homefront's competitive online multiplayer. Though the paltry modes are little more than a pastiche of gameplay mechanics you've seen before, it tips the scales just enough to create a hectic and enjoyable combat arena. Much of what Homefront offers feels overly familiar, but the dramatic setting and good multiplayer recipe make it a worthy stop on any shooter fan's tour of duty.

The campaign kicks off with a montage chronicling the next 15 years. As gas shortages lead to civil unrest, the United States weakens while across the Pacific new expansionist leadership leads North Korea into a golden age. This video paints a satisfyingly plausible picture, and collectible clippings throughout the campaign flesh things out even more. With every image of a bread line and article about the consolidation of America's armed forces, it gets easier and easier to suspend your disbelief. As Homefront's vision of the future becomes more believable, the events of the campaign hit closer to home. An introductory travel sequence in the spirit of Half-Life brings you up-to-speed very quickly with how bad things are, and one particularly shocking execution scene will likely stay with you throughout the entire game. Homefront's most intense moments aren't action movie sequences — they are emotionally wrenching, human encounters with the horrors of war.

The setting is the standout in Homefront's campaign, though the story is more of a tour through this rich scenario than a compelling journey in its own right. The characters who accompany you the whole way have a few good bits of dialogue and create some dramatic moments, but they aren't developed well enough to make you really care about them. This detachment can help you overlook the occasional friendly AI blunders, but don't expect your companions to carry much weight. As in many modern shooters, you are the workhorse. The action itself is solid and proceeds at a pace that steadily intensifies as small shootouts give way to larger skirmishes. An explosive mid-campaign climax leads into a stealthy infiltration, and a much-foreshadowed vehicle sequence near the end delivers nicely. Despite the fact that you are a small resistance force, you scrounge a variety of powerful guns from the enemy, giving you a substantial (and satisfying) arsenal. Homefront gives lip service to things like having to be frugal with ammunition and getting creative to avoid patrols, but it mostly plays out like a standard, linear shooter campaign.

It's a shame that the action isn't really on the same wavelength as the setting, but the environments you traverse reinforce your grim situation well. Though Homefront isn't a beautiful game, there are a lot of thoughtful details that provide echoes of earlier conflict and show different stages of societal breakdown. There are some issues with screen-tearing and characters clipping through solid objects, but on the whole the visuals are equal to the task. Unfortunately, the campaign wraps up around the five-hour mark. That may not seem terribly short by modern-shooter campaign standards, but what makes it worse is not that you're left wanting more— it's that you are left expecting more. By spending a lot of time on quality exposition in the early going, Homefront's campaign sets itself up for a longer story arc, but it doesn't deliver. It's an unpleasant surprise when things wrap up so abruptly, but it's still a very memorable campaign.

Just because the house doesn't have a roof doesn't mean they aren't trying to kill you. (Credit: GameSpot)

Homefront's competitive multiplayer, on the other hand, seems primed to be just another also-ran right from the get-go. With only two core game modes ("Team Deathmatch" and "Capture and Hold") playable in two variations, the options are few. The loadout screen will be instantly familiar to anyone who has played a Call of Duty game in the past few years, and the online conflicts play out between the KPA and the US Army (rather than the ragtag freedom fighters from the campaign), so the intriguing setting is little more than window dressing. Though its inspirations are obvious, Homefront does a good job of appropriating tried-and-true mechanics. Earning experience, levelling-up, increasing your arsenal and unlocking new infantry abilities (read: perks) is satisfying, and the maps allow a decent range of viable battlefield strategies.

Things start getting livelier as soon as battle points come into play. Earned in the same way as experience, these points are currency meant to be spent during your current match. Each loadout has two slots for purchasable abilities that can give you and your team an edge in combat. Some benefit only you, like the flak jacket and personal radar sweep. Others are meant to score some quick kills, like the Hellfire missile and white phosphorous strikes. And then there are the drones. Once you've found an out-of-the-way place where you won't be as vulnerable, you can summon a variety of remote-controlled assets onto the battlefield. One relatively inexpensive airborne drone has no attack capabilities, but it can highlight your enemies with big red diamonds that all your teammates can see. Other flying drones come with explosive ordnance, while still other drones scoot around on tank treads armed with various weapons. Drones can be destroyed and will eventually run out of batteries, but their presence on the battlefield is welcome. Not only do they give you something cool and different to do, they are also powerful enough to affect the flow of the fight.

And if small vehicles aren't your thing, you can save up your battle points to spawn in an actual vehicle, like a Humvee, tank or helicopter. Spawning allies can choose to appear in your vehicle, so you don't have to drive around looking for someone to hop-in to make your ride more effective and deadly. Though they, too, are a borrowed idea, battle points invigorate combat by not only expanding your martial capabilities but also by rewarding you for skilful play in the middle of a match. Furthermore, if you play the Battle Commander variants of the standard modes, your skills can earn you instant battlefield notoriety. As you rack-up kills within a given life, you are assigned a star ranking and highlighted on your enemies' radar. Though you are now a marked target, you gain some automatic perks commensurate with your star ranking that can make you faster, deadlier and more battlefield-aware.

The diverse mechanics that combine to make Homefront's multiplayer what it is may be familiar to genre veterans, but they are well integrated and achieve a nice balance. Matches in Homefront don't feel quite like matches in other games, and there's enough depth here to fuel plenty of hours of combat. Yet the best part of Homefront is the thoughtful and thorough vision of the future laid out by the campaign. It's rare to have a shooter pay this much attention to its setting, and the results are some remarkably memorable moments that are often nicely emphasized by the soundtrack. It squanders a lot of potential for greatness, but Homefront's campaign still fuels much of the game's appeal, helping to distinguish it among a crowded field of competitors.

Via GameSpot.



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overrated
3
Rating
 

overrated posted a review   

For a start i judge every game on it's own merit, i'm not comparing it to COD, BF or anything else. I don't care if the problems are server issues because when i do manage to get on to play it's not that good. It brings nothing new to the table thats worth forking out for the game. The SP Campaign is way too short even by todays standards, and in my opinion, it's not very satisfying. I just think that the developers should have done a little more testing before releasing a half finishind product. Pretty sure thqt doesn;t make me a tool.

Good
9
Rating
 

Good posted a review   

The Good:Alot of things

The Bad:Server issues

Omg u guys are tools play the campaign then its a good game so what if there are server issues it is being fixed the multiplayer is actually fun rather than the boring black ops gameplay

overrated
3
Rating
 

overrated posted a review   

The Good:Marketing

The Bad:pretty much everything

To be fair to this game, i have enjoyed the multiplayer, the only problem is you just can't get on and when you can there's so much lag it's unplayable. THQ/KAOS keep saying they're working on fixes, but all i can say is save your money.

armyman13
1
Rating
 

armyman13 posted a review   

this game sucks. you have to wait 20min just to get in an online game.. the server sucks at putting people in the maps so you can even start a game. its a waste of time and money. dont buy this game




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User Reviews / Comments  Homefront

  • overrated

    overrated

    Rating3

    "For a start i judge every game on it's own merit, i'm not comparing it to COD, BF or anything else. I don't care if the problems are server issues because when i do manage to get on to play it's no..."

  • Good

    Good

    Rating9

    "Omg u guys are tools play the campaign then its a good game so what if there are server issues it is being fixed the multiplayer is actually fun rather than the boring black ops gameplay"

  • overrated

    overrated

    Rating3

    "To be fair to this game, i have enjoyed the multiplayer, the only problem is you just can't get on and when you can there's so much lag it's unplayable. THQ/KAOS keep saying they're working on fixe..."

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