James Ireland On March - 16 - 2011
With the manufactured implosion of the world economy in 2008 and the middle east uprising of 2011, the world is a frightening place to live right now - which makes Kaos Studios Homefront plot even more plausable. In Homefront the events are taking place in 2027 where an energy crisis has left countries fighting each other for the last of the worlds natural resource supplies. North Korea has become a prominent force securing the middle-east’s reserves leaving America to plummet financially. North Korea is occupying America in this game with the last of the resistance fighters being the fine line between total country dominatation. Whilst some will state that this game could be argued as a propaganda piece - it is important to remember - it is just a game! It is meant to be unnerving and bucks the trend of so many games using the conventional America Vs Russia, America Vs Germany affair, it even throws away convention by having you as a resistence fighter as opposed to the American Army which have seemingly been suppressed of any control.

As you start out the game you are rescued from the overwhelming occupation by a group of resistance fighters, why they rescued you becomes more clear later in the game but some of the imagery as you sit inside the bus truely strikes a chord - KPA police beating people with the butts of their guns, even shooting a little kids parents dead all add to the atmosphere and on several occasions in this game KAOS have pushed the boundaries of acceptability which is needed if the games industry are ever going to push the narrative forward. The campaign relies very heavily on set pieced events, these events are carried off with real aplomb - the car park phosphorus attack and the outer country snipering missions are two sections of the game that notably stand out. Homefront even exceeds the very entertaining chopper mission on Black Ops by offering it’s own where you have to protect a convoy of trucks, this element is super-intense and a joy to play. Weaponry is rapid and varied, you’ll often find yourself playing aroud with at least 8 different guns throughout the campaign and you’ll be switching them regularly as there is a limited ammo supply. There is never a moment where your ammo completely dries out, but you will have to resort to using your handgun at times.

Homefront has been penned by John Milius (Apocalypse Now) and the plot twist and turns most certainly contain the trademarks of his work - sadly with the in-game engine running all of this narrative (an in-game engine that doesn’t really play too well for delivering emotional character renders or has the graphical might to pull this off) it detracts away from really absorbing the story and feeling emotionally pulled by it. It would have been better to have CGI cutscenes between chapters in places to really add that sense of drama. Whilst it doesn’t grab you by your seat there are some moments that play with your heart strings but I’ll spare the detail as we don’t want to ruin it or you. Matching this up with other single player FPS games it would be fair to say that some of its conventional FPS annoyances seep through which can make the whole experience frustrating at times. Enemy spawns are deliberately used to create firefights and increased the longevity of the game and on Normal difficulty expect to get spammed with grenades and die some really cheap deaths - probably a good idea that we never did any live single player video capture for this game as the amount of obsenities that we screamed whilst playing this would be enough to turn a nun blue.

Another problem with the single player is that there really isn’t much scope for altering up how you complete missions. You are ordered to follow your team mates consistently throughout the whole game and whilst this works well for the more stealthy aspects - given the opportunity to lead rather than be lead would have added more strategy to the play. It’s especially annoying when you want to go down a rat tunnel or through a door only having to wait for your team mates to catch up - lazy bastards. With those gripes aside the only other critisism is the graphics. Homefront is not blessed with blissful visuals, the games graphics sits halfway between Hour of Victory and Call of Duty 3. Whilst the graphics are sub par for consoles this far into their development cycle - it goes without saying that some of the residential areas that are created have a spectactular amount of detail, from school playground equipment to a war torn White Castle, they have created an experience as realistic as they could with the engine that they have.

The shooting mechanics in Homefront feel satisfying though the Grenade throwing is ropey with the game struggling to hold the grenade animation at the Gas Station, a minor bug perhaps that never was found in the QA. The games atmosphere is realised with a ever evolving back score and the constant sound of shelling reminds you - you are in a fight much bigger than just the area you are in. Homefront does a nice job of mixing up the action and one of your main attributes will be controlling Golliath which is basically a remote control humvee with a .50cal attached to it - satisfying.

Homefront is a slow starter but past the 1 hour mark it starts to get more interesting, it’s single player is arguably too short but I do feel that really depends on your skill level. The game is probably enjoyed best on Easy difficulty as the game has a habit of using cheap tricks to increase the difficulty level (grenade spamming). It’s a steady FPS with an interesting plot but one which lacks polish and any sense of invention. However, it is the multiplayer that sets this game apart from the rest of the pack. Homefront’s multiplayer gives you everything lacking from Battlefield and Call of Duty: Black Ops and melds it into such a strong experience that it is quite frankly the finest Multiplayer experience we’ve played this generation, but more of that on our Multiplayer review!

Review

ProsCons
Very Atmospheric, Good set pieces, good mission variety, fantastic chopper missionShort campaign, grenade spamming, respawning enemies
Rating
75%

Categories: Feature, PS3 Reviews
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