Game Review: Homefront
Release: March 15, 2011
Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: Kaos Studios
Available Platforms: PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation3
ESRB Rating: M Mature
In the weeks leading up to the release of Homefront you couldn’t move for propaganda about the game. Some viewers of the commercial could even have been forgiven for believing they were watching a news broadcast about an invasion but as gamers, we all knew about the Homefront story so we didn’t panic. The story for the game is set in the near future and based loosely on the current global economic and political situations. With some previews mentioning Half-Life 2 as a comparison it appeared that THQ had a sure-fire hit on their hands, but Homefront just doesn’t live up to the hype.
The opening cinematic and following on-rails sequence really grabs your attention. Korea, under new leadership, merge the North and the South to form one powerful country. With the instability across the globe the Korean army sweep away anyone who opposes them. Homefront concentrates on the invasion of America and you start the game off waking up in your ‘apartment’ which is a room with a bed. A couple of soldiers from the Korean army bundle you into a bus and the next few minutes lets you take in the brutality of the situation. As the bus drives along the street you witness, the shooting of parents in front of their children, bodies being thrown into mass graves and American shops in ruins. This gritty vision makes you angry and you want to get out there and see if you can make a difference. You are in luck as the renegades ram the bus and help you to escape. It’s full on action from this point as you quickly learn the ropes of controlling the main character although if you have played even one first person shooter before then you will feel right at home as there is nothing new to see here from a controls point of view.
The campaign is very short and will take an average player between around 6 hours to complete although the best FPS players will finish the story in under 4 hours if they want to. The length of the campaign would not be an issue as it is always better to experience a great 6 hours gameplay than have to grind through 20-30 hours of padding. Unfortunately for Homefront, it is not an epic 6 hours, in fact apart from the introduction, the most of the campaign is forgettable once the credits roll.
Level progression is very linear and there is generally one way in, and one way out of any scene. Again this is not always a bad thing if the set pieces are extremely well done and cinematic. Homefront fails to deliver in this area too as even the most dramatic set piece feels tired and we have seen it all before.
Multiplayer may as well be a map pack for any other famous shooter as Homefront takes no risks and follows the same tried and tested formula as every other generic shooter on the market. The multiplayer is a solid experience and we have yet to experience any game breaking bugs but we really expected more than a Call of Duty clone.
Weapons usually are a highlight for an FPS but Homefront falls short again. Of course with the setting we expected the weapons to be realistic, which for the most part they are but the sound and feel when firing any of the weapons just feels weak. There is minimal satisfaction when shooting with any of the weapons.
In the graphics department, Homefront is certainly not cutting edge and when compared to two of the other FPS’s competing for gamers money, Killzone 3 and Crysis 2, Homefront looks like a game that was released in 2009. The textures are flat and the animation of your companions or enemies is just not good enough for a big budget title which obviously is meant to be the start of a series.
Mark’s Final Say: Homefront should have been so much more and the promotional material that everyone was bombarded with promised more than the game delivers. It was the Platform Nation ‘pick of the week’ for the game releases but I am so disappointed as the short campaign is forgettable and offers nothing new. The multiplayer is solid but feels like a map pack for some of Homefronts competitors. It’s difficult to recommend Homefront and part of that is because the hype was so big. It is an average game at best and if a sequel does get the green light, then I hope THQ learn from the criticism as the background story should be the basis for a great gaming experience.
+ Great background story
– Short ‘forgettable’ campaign
– Weapons just feel and sound weak.
– Characters create no emotional attachment.
– Linear progression
+ Multiplayer is solid
Final Rating: 6 out of 10