What is it with war games? Why do they sell like mad and build up hype with minimal advertising? It kind of sickens me that an average war game’s release will completely over shadow a decent one’s. Most of these war games are short on substance and tend to end within a few hours, yet everyone runs out and grabs them and seems to lie about how good the game is to justify to themselves why they bought into it. So here’s a run down of the latest bit of drivel, Homefront.
Homefront is a first person shooter that has been made around the initially cool and well presented scenario that North and South Korea have united and by 2023, have invaded and occupied America. Apparently the story has been put together by some top CIA analyst based on plausible future events so the presentation of the Korean threat has been quite well done but the real guts of the story is around your character and the shit he ends up in.
You are a military trained pilot who refuses to enlist with the new Korean regime and is, somewhat perilously liberated by the rebel freedom fighters. From there you will meet two dimensional stereotypes one after the other and they are all pretty horribly voice acted. So the substance leaves a lot to be desired but how do the other elements stand up?
Honestly, the graphics are dated. And that’s being nice. The only redeeming factor for the visuals is that they rarely use the same wall texture twice which means they didn’t skimp on the design side. I wish I could say the same for the level design though. There are invisible walls everywhere and it makes you feel forced to go where the computer wants you to go. Some even pop up in front of fences but you can walk through thick bushes and some trees. Continuity is clearly not in this game’s vocabulary.
Then there’s the AI which at first seems amazing but once you figure out that they have the ability, in spots, to kill you with a single badly aimed shot, it does start to wear thin. They can kill you with relative ease but to kill them with a single head shot, you have to hit the dead centre of their eyes. Otherwise you’ll be spending a whole clip on one guy. The bad guys generally run to cover and do the whole flanking thing but it just doesn’t look impressive because their animations are so stilted and are the same over and over. So, overall, it’s pretty dismal but the controls are quite solid with the time honoured button scheme from every Call Of Duty and Medal Of Honour game known to man.
Then there’s the online multiplayer mode which is not too shabby but it won’t kick you in the groin for jumping back to Call Of Duty after a week. The typical modes are here : death match, team deathmatch, etc but they threw in a kind of currency style reward system. Shoot a guy, get some points for it and spend them on a kill-streak reward that gets more expensive for the more effective. With game servers set up it Australia, there is not much lag but I still found a bit here and there through my fibre optic cable connection and the graphical detail seemed to dumb down from the single player visuals, which I thought was kinda odd. Either way, the multiplayer is luke-warm at best.
Homefront clocks in at 2 hours for a single player campaign that deserves shelf space next to Legendary and Turning Point. The only head turner here is a well realised possible future of a Korean occupied America and how it all escalated to the point you begin playing, then it’s all downhill from there! A case of “mutton dressed up like lamb” with no real substance but an effective control layout. This hype train crash rivals that of the Granville rail disaster of 1977. It’s not pretty, tears were shed and I’m sure you’ll find this in a bargain bin for $30 soon enough. Then it might be worth it. Might.
Homefront is available on PC, XBox 360 & Playstation 3. Below you’ll find the gameplay trailer.