In: Reviews by Dave "Holy Goalie" Gardner17 Mar 2011
But right from the get-go you can tell that this isn’t the premier title THQ would have you believe it is. Despite the trappings and the marketing hype, Homefront a tier-two or tier-three game. It’s very frustrating to play, has dated graphics compared to current first-person shooter games, and does all the little things wrong that make or break a game.
THQ published Frontlines: Fuel of War back in 2008, and for some reason it is obsessed with economies collapsing and $17-a-gallon gas for a backdrop. So I was not surprised it greenlighted Homefront, which revolves around the US being invaded by hostile forces from Korea.
This game starts off like many other brand-new games, with the minigame called “update.” After the update, the games loads and the cut scenes begin setting the story backdrop. It shows how North Korea and South Korea unite, and after a series of events in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and North America, the Unified Korea slowly and systematically begins to take over the world.
Here in the United States, oil prices have gone through the roof, there has been famine, disease, and other catastrophes that made takeover right for the Koreans.
The final opening scene has you waking up in a small house in Colorado and being led onto a bus by the Korean police. During that ride you get see the atrocities being committed by the occupying force. This is something right out of a World War II video and it does get very graphic. It gets your blood boiling, and the stage has been set. Unfortunately, it’s all downhill once you have to actually start playing the game.
You spend the game following your AI teammates around the map much like in Modern Warfare 2. But quickly it turns into Left 4 Dead 2 — except your teammates don’t kill any of the enemies. That’s all left up to you.
So with no help from your AI, your rear is left out in the breeze, literally, especially when they block you from getting to cover and you die.
Oh yes, I died, and I died, and I died. Over and over on the normal-diffuculty mode.
I will admit, I did die more than a few times due to my rushing a bit, but mostly I died due to stupid and useless AI teammates, who — when they weren’t busy not shooting enemies‚ spent their time blocking my path and preventing me from taking cover or getting through doors.
My favorite dumb AI moment was when my teammates instructed me to “go lower the gate, we’ll cover you.” They didn’t cover squat. Enemy soldiers poured through the door, causing me to be killed numerous times and sending me back five minutes or so to the last checkpoint.
Speaking of checkpoints: With such a useless squad backing you and so much dying, you’d think that THQ would at least build a checkpoint system that worked for the player. Nope. In fact, it feels as if the game gets tougher when you replay from a checkpoint after dying. It seems to take longer and is far more difficult to get back to the point in which you were killed. That led to many frustrating moments, where I had to walk away before I threw my controller through my TV.
Yeah, it got that bad for me.
Then there was the Goliath, a remote-controlled ATV, that has to be the lamest and most frustrating vehicle in a shooter game to date. No matter how many times I “locked on” to a target, the Goliath would not fire and we all died. Back to the last checkpoint! If by chance it somehow did fire, it was one shot one kill, every time. Feast or famine; no in between.
And the graphics? They don’t really compare to other FPSs out there.
With the gameplay and graphics being average at best, it was up to the story to carry the game, but sadly I never felt like I was fighting for my country. This awesome story, which would make a great movie or book, never sucked me in like I hoped it would. I don’t know if it was because there were too many enemies and the odds of surviving were totally unrealistic or that I took 1000 bullets and yet still lived. There was something missing that had me a few stars short of waving the American flag. It was just too arcadey for a serious setting like this. That style may work for an intersteller setting like Halo, but it didn’t here.
All in all, the much forgetable single-player campaign took me about five or six hours, but considering how many times I died and had to replay minutes of the game over and over thanks to my AI teammates, I probably could have wrapped up this game in four hours or fewer if I took my time and realized I was in this fight alone.
As far as the multiplayer, it has a team-deathmatch mode and a capture-and-control mode, much like Battlefield Bad Company 2. But there are some things badly missing here, too. You can’t choose your map, you can’t choose your spawn point except in certain cases, and you can’t ride in good vehicles until you earn enough points in that particular game. So if you were like me and hoping to jump right into a tank or a helicopter, it ain’t gonna happen until you earn enough to buy it.
I was hoping that this would be the game that would tide me over until this fall when Battlefield 3 is released. Sadly this game won’t tide me over until after lunchtime. Maybe I was expecting too much, maybe I was expecting a realistic-feeling game like Medal of Honor. Instead this felt more like Alien vs. Predator, with a single-player game so short that I’ve already finished Homefront 2 if they ever make a sequel. Looks like BFBC2 is going back into my Xbox.
Developer: Kaos Studios/Digital Extremes (PC)
Reviewed for Xbox 360 (Also available for Playstation 3, PC, and OnLive)