|System: Xbox 360, PS3, PC|
|Dev: Kaos Studios|
|Release: March 15 2011|
|Players: 1, 2-24|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
I've been excited for Homefront for a long time. Ever since it was revealed at E3 2009, I've been cheerleading pretty hard for this game. With a story penned by none other than the man behind Red Dawn, Homefront offered a truly visceral take on a speculative world where the United States is invaded by Korea and places like San Francisco become occupied areas for re-education and forced labor camps. Sounds scary, right? The premise alone sold me on this game, and Homefront certainly delivers on its promise to send you on an emotional ride through an alien-yet-familiar vision of war-torn America. However, that's about the only thing it delivers on.
When I first started playing Homefront, I was immediately drawn in. The game's opening act is powerful, thrusting you into the realities of living in an occupied state. I won't spoil anything here, but just know that the game definitely earns its "M" rating within the first few minutes, and you can expect some seriously brutal moments in the first hour of gameplay. The game's view of this speculative world is uncompromising, and you can expect brutal violence, not only towards your brothers-in-arms, but towards women and children too. In the world of Homefront, no one is safe, and the game's opening moments do a great job driving that point home.
However, once the game gets going, the story evens out, and the game settles into a generic checkpoint-to-checkpoint story that uses the occupation as a simple plot device to transport the player to a new setting. Though the game throws in some gruesome images to punctuate the story, by and large, the game ends up feeling like a paint-by-numbers FPS by the end. And unfortunately, even though the gameplay got a little stale after awhile, the ending comes way too soon.
I've complained before about games being too short before, but Homefront really takes a brief story mode to the extreme. With only seven chapters to the story mode, average players will only need between four and six hours to complete the game's story mode. And with no unlockables or alternative endings, there's really no reason to go back through the story mode (unless you are trying to find all the QR codes, but really, the mobile wallpapers and videos are not worth the extra effort). With such a great premise, I was hoping Homefront would deliver an wide experience, but instead I got a linear one-note game that can be beaten in an afternoon.
The only bright spot here is the multiplayer. If you are a fan of XP-based leveling (like you would see in Call of Duty), then you'll like what Homefront has to offer. There are two main modes: a team deathmatch mode and a glorified capture-the-flag mode. Though these modes feel instantly familiar, Homefront has a unique loadout system where you can either spend or save battle points by completing objectives on increasingly more useful loadouts.