If home is where the war is, then we're in a caravan
Developer: Kaos Studios/Digital Extremes
Oh god, not this game. Admittedly, I didn't think of Homefront as a wholly terrible game, but it's one of those games with a massive amount of potential, pissed away for a few easy bucks because making the same mediocre shooter over and over again seems to be the only way to make money these days. Yes, rather than actually make an honest effort to seperate your shooter from the competition, let's do what Call Of Duty does... I hear that Activision's getting wads upon wads of money for that series.
The finest example of pissing away potential is the story. It has a great set up for a war – after the death of Kim Jong-Il, his son and new leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un, unites it with South Korea to form the Greater Korean Republic. In 2025, seeing that the United States Of America is extremely vulnerable due to economic troubles, the Koreans fire a explosive laser at them, which disables electronic devices above the surface, further making them vulnerable for takeover... which is exactly what they do. But there is a rebel alliance, fighting the Koreans to take America back. You're roped into this battle after an explosion stops your bus from taking you to a re-education camp. From there, you and the resistance group do everything you can to defeat the Koreans.
Seriously, does that not sound like a good set up for a potentially great story? Unfortunately, once you're in battle, beyond some atrocities that are given to you in rapid fire succession (thus killing the mood), the story is next to non existent, and after a while, it becomes very easy to lament the loss as you go through each level, mindlessly shooting down Korean soldiers. Cutscenes deal with plans to defeat them, but that's as far as it gets. Hell, the end of the game only sort of feels like an ending... hanging on a cliff... no, I've had enough of this shit and I think you have, too. The part that sucks is that it's only like 4 hours long. Since when was it alright to do this? I mean... I remember when 8 hours was considered too short. Is this like a big middle finger to those reviewers or are we just getting lazier and lazier with single player because shit, who the *bleep* plays that anymore when you can play multiplayer, which is probably going to be the same as Call Of Duty, because we haven't had that a million *bleep*ing times already!? God, I hate it when games do this, especially ones where it felt like the single player was to be the main hook.
So yeah, it's a modern first person shooter, right down to the letter. You get a pistol as a sidearm, machine guns, sniper rifles and a rocket launcher as primary arms, but of course, you can only carry a sidearm and two primary weapons – can't let you carry any more, that'd be totally undrealistic! Of course, you'll mostly carry two machine guns and zoom through an ultra linear corridor/outdoor area, running into the occasional “big area” to take down some goons. Rinse, lather and repeat. Insert obligatory sniping section here. Hey, maybe a few vehicle sections will make this all worth it... yeah, I don't think so. But yeah, that's really all that there is to it...
Oh wait, I forgot to mention that there are about a million and a half scripted events. Now, don't get me wrong - when these are used sparingly, they can give a campaign a lot of flair; when overused, they will quickly become the bane of a campaign's existence as it basically relies on them to make it seem bigger and better than it is, like a *bleep* extension. However, like all *bleep* extenders, it's easy to see them as such and it's easier to figure out how big it really is... it's *bleep*ing small! Every gun fight feels roughly the same, gets pretty *bleep*ing boring rather quickly, and only challenges you when a certain spot's script feels it's necessary to do so. But I shouldn't find them boring... maybe it's because I've been so overwhelmed by the massive amounts of explosions and buildings falling down that I've become desensitised to the whole thing!
It borders on parody... I swear to god, if they had played their cards right, this could've been a fine, fine mockery of modern first person shooters. The problem is that it's so gritty that I can't help but feel that I'm supposed to take this seriously. If it's not the dropping of the setup, it's certainly the fact that they didn't think of making it an amusing parody that pisses me off. Hell, it's four *bleep*ing hours long! They really could've gone places within that short amount of time, but all that happened was “you know, Infinity Ward made money doing this, so let's do it too, but let's do more of it, because that's what makes money”. *bleep*ers.
I suppose, though, like every modern first person shooter, multiplayer is the most important part. It's what keeps the kids coming back. For the most part, it's familiar to anybody who has ever played a first person shooter online. There may be some missions like capturing objectives, but at the end of the day, it's you, either against the world or in teams, shooting people. As you kill people or complete objectives, you'll gain points, which you can use to buy stronger weapons, vehicles and flak jackets – this is the one thing that does the multiplayer justice. As opposed to simply levelling up and gaining perks, you can purchase perks with points in the middle of a fight... it's just awesome when a tank is about to attack you, and you surprise them with an RPG to the face! All levelling up does (which is via XP after a match, determined by how you did) is give you access to more stuff to buy. Sadly, everything else is as standard as it gets, and it has the same problem every other multiplayer does – once people leave, who really cares at the end of the day if they have a cool mid-game shop? Unless it's in Halo, Warhawk/Starhawk or Call Of Duty, nobody, that's who really cares!
The graphics look like a launch title for the Xbox 360. The textures are muddy and the edges are a little jagged, all backed up by a very limited color palette of muddy greens, growns and greys. I get that the color scheme is meant to go with the theme of dreariness as America is taken over and we have to stop Korea from taking over the world, but it looks less like a near-dystopian future and more like an Xbox 360 launch title. The characters don't look too good, either. Their faces tend to look dull and expressionless, and their animations are fairly jerky. Some effects look good, but nothing that'll kick your ass; just some things that look good, really.
The sound department could be much better, too. The voice acting in this game is bad and the music is adequate at best, but that's not even close to being the root of what your ears will hate. Some of the guns don't sound right, some sounds will cut off, some dialogue will stop and start – oh... I guess I should mention that at least you can tweak the volume of each sound (like music, effects and dialogue), or else, the sound effects will drown out the music and voices. Keep in mind that I'm playing this on the PC, and I think I have at least a decent build, so I think this is Kaos's fault.
Homefront could be a lot worse. Fundamentally speaking, there's nothing wrong with it. The shooting is competent enough, the scripted events are fine and.. well, okay, there is one fundamental flaw, which is the ditching of the story partway through. But what kills me inside is how this game operates. The levels make Final Fantasy XIII look like Skyrim, there are more scripted events than there is gameplay, the multiplayer just feels like a mediocre version of Bad Company 2's, and worst yet, it practically abandons its premise really quickly, thus abandoning anything and everything that could've made it an interesting game. Oh, but when it decides to sneak it back in, it's all in a rapid fire succession, which is terrible storytelling if I ever saw it. Ah well.
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- Multiplayer Connection Problems: 27
- Pathetic. 5
- battle code missing? 0
- Campaign (spoilers) 14
- Demo Problems? 1
- I need help fast 0
- patch 0
- Post your online Gamertag/PSN ID! 13
- vehicle repair 1
- Is this game worth it? 3
- Whoa. Wait. Is that it? 9
- Your favorite gun in the game and moving this forum forward. 10