"Home is where the war is"
is the tagline for Kaos and THQ's latest entry in the FPS genre, and rightly so. For those who don't know, Homefront is set in 2027, where the Korean's People Army have invaded the USA, and now occupy it. You play as a member of a resistance movement comprised of American civilians. There's a lot more to the story that is needed to set the scene, but you can find that out for yourself.
There's only so much you can do with the gameplay of an FPS, and Homefront is no exception. The controls are highly reminiscent of previous FPS games: Call of Duty and Battlefield to name a few. And in all honesty, even then it was lacking. The game only offers the basics of FPS gameplay: no dive-to-prone, no "Q-and-E-peeking."
But that said, the gameplay flows well and there aren't really any issues with them from what I could see.
Homefront was built using the Unreal engine, but I think Kaos would have been better off creating a totally new engine. The graphics aren't horrible, but they do look dated. The player models look noticeably blocky, and I noticed Texture Pop-In occur multiple times.
And even the little things: for instance, walking through a puddle, you would hear splashing sounds, but the water would remain still. Maybe that's just me being picky, but still.
With that being said, the guns of Homefront are excellently detailed, and the urban areas look very good as well.
Story - 8/10
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year, you'll know that Academy Award-nominated screenwriter John Milius wrote the plot for Homefront. The plot slightly resembles one of his greatest plots, Red Dawn, but that is far from a bad thing. The story that Milius has put together is captivating, emotional and very well thought out. At the beginning of the game, there is a short movie depicting the events from 2010 to 2027 which led to the invasion of North Korea, so as to set the scene for the game, and it was a very good idea as well.
I think it's safe to say that it is one of, Homefront's saving graces.
But where quality shines, quantity fails dismally. The game was said to take around five hours to complete: I finished it in less than three. While I understand that there was only so much that could be done with the plot before it started to drag on, I was left wanting more, and I'm sure I'm not alone. Thinking about it now, I'm sure they could have put in another hour or two worth of gameplay around the middle.
But I guess nowadays, if a game drags on for too long, and with FPS's that amount of time is a lot smaller than the rest, people find it to get repetitive very quickly.
The other problem I have with the story is the abrupt ending: I won't spoil anything, but one second you're in the middle of the most large-scale fight in the game, and all of a sudden, someone says something, there's explosions and loud noises, and the game's done. I can't say a lot about it without giving the ending away, but I can say that for what did happen, there could have been a much more dramatic lead-up.
But on the bright-side, the ending left it completely open for a sequel.
Sound - 9/10
Not a lot to say about this one. The sounds seemed in place and up to scratch. Everything sounded crystal clear, sounds echoed where appropriate, and really added to the atmosphere.
The music, while sounding like the average modern-day war FPS soundtrack, was still dramatic and well-fitting, and really emphasized the tensity of the battles as you played.
Multiplayer - 8/10
Before I start, I'll admit that I haven't played a lot of multiplayer yet, simply because I'm jumping between four other games that I recently got. But having played a good hour or so, I have a pretty good idea of the online side of the game, and I'm not going to stop any time soon.
The multiplayer is very similar to that of Battlefield; vehicle-based combat, as well as infantry, over large scale maps, which is still a lot of fun. There are also a lot of features that are now the norm for online FPS's: Classes and loadouts, weapon customization, perks, levelling system, etc. But there are a lot of features in the multiplayer that take it to the next level, the main one being the Battle Points system. The Battle Points system is the in-game currency, and you earn them by completing objectives such as capturing a control point, or simply killing an enemy. But the unique thing about Battle Points is that you use them to buy what would be the equivalent to killstreaks.
Another interesting feature is the variety of futuristic vehicles that are available, such as drones, which are controlled by remote. This makes the online experience a more interesting.
Overall, the multiplayer is excellent; it does everything that previous FPS games have done right, and added a bit more on top of that. It is definitely Homefront's greatest saving grace.
In the end, quality overcomes quantity with Homefront, and what THQ and Kaos have created is far from a bad FPS; it just doesn't really do anything we haven't seen before, and in some cases does even less.
But that aside, Homefront is a gripping and immersive FPS experience, and what the campaign lacks in quantity, the multiplayer makes up for.