Homefront screenshot
Homefront screenshot

The experience often feels like two different designers have collaborated on the finished product, with one capable of beautifully intricate juxtapositions of sprawling America and the other perfectly content with slapping a mouldy grey texture all over endless angular corridors and plopping in a line of dialogue from Connor complaining about the horror of it all. Kaos' implementation of Unreal Engine 3 also seems poorly handled, with the technology failing to render the required draw-distances of Homefront's urban chaos without severely compromising on visual fidelity. That said, the PC version looks like it fares substantially better than the Xbox 360 version I used for review.

Ultimately, Homefront's threadbare campaign is like a beautiful, sweeping piece of music being awkwardly recited by a child on a recorder. The heavily publicised emotional narrative falls completely flat outside of the goldmine of its conceptual stages, a fact not helped when gaps between utterances are generally big enough to park a 4X4 in, and a scant handful of evocative set-pieces do little to hide the fact that the linear campaign is both hugely unadventurous and creatively bankrupt in its design.

Redemption is thankfully afforded by the competent multiplayer, where you can gleefully slaughter American and Korean alike without all the grimy trappings of narrative and context. A typical 75-level grind gives you an expected series of perks and staggered unlocks across two modes - Ground Control and Team Deathmatch - with the latter entirely self-explanatory and the former a variant of the traditional Domination game type with a tug-of-war style best of three rounds thrown in for good measure.

The key is in the delivery, with both modes dishing out large-scale skirmishes across a roster of eight maps; anyone familiar with DICE's Battlefield games will feel immediately comfortable here. This is a rougher, more brazen experience than the polished sheen of Bad Company 2, however, and the wide-open environments lacking in obvious choke points make Homefront the most uncluttered and advantageous playground for crafty snipers in recent years.

Kaos' multiplayer trump card is Battle Points, which shows capitalism is more than alive and well in occupied America. Performing kills and team actions affords you points, which get saved up and can be redeemed for a variety of prizes - such as one of seven vehicles, airstrikes, or Kevlar vests - when the player so chooses. The system is fun and shows promise, though slightly flawed in its current iteration: the base economics feel skewed, with troublesome, high-risk actions (like capturing points) ultimately proving far less profitable than finding a dark hidey-hole and bagging massive sacks of headshots. It's also particularly ghastly to spend an entire game banking just shy of 3000 points for a devastating Apache gunship only to have it brought down seconds later by a cheap and cheerful drone.

The other notable feature is the Battle Commander mode, which shakes up the basics by adding in a five-star wanted level similar to Grand Theft Auto. Killstreaks are both rewarded and punished, the game assigning you increments of speed, damage and health at a cost of alerting an increasing amount of enemy players to your location - rank up to the maximum wanted level and you're lit up on the mini-map for the entire enemy team, with a nice little cache of Battle Points waiting for whomever finally manages to bring you down. Despite dropping the maximum players from 32 to 24 in the Battle Commander playlists, the idea is a nice little flourish added to a familiar system and certainly my favourite way to play the game.

There's enough material within Homefront's concept for it to spiral into something more interesting, and with plenty of talk about a sequel it's clear that's what THQ and Kaos is looking for, but this first crack of the whip falls far short of the competition. THQ obviously has a lot of faith in the game, however, and boss Danny Bilson has aggressively promoted Homefront in the run-up to its launch, repeatedly stating how the publisher is now in a three-horse race with Activision and EA for supremacy of the coveted FPS genre. Homefront has enough potential as a franchise for his statement to ring true, but I certainly know which horse is currently finishing third.

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15 Comments

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Highest Rated Comment

African_Woolf's Avatar

African_Woolf@ Woffls

Totally right - my bad. My comments still stand. :)
Posted 19:18 on 15 March 2011

User Comments

mikejosh1978's Avatar

mikejosh1978

I take it all back Socom will have to fulfill my shooter side as the 8 hrs i have spent with Homefront makes me realise the idea was there but the pig ugly looks & godawful CoD-alike play style isn't even a similarity to BF or MAG its just a straight up CoD with bigger maps and the same moronic ideals .
Shoot him , shoot them , ooh unlock this unlock that , what was it , a gun colour , the same sight in 3 useless variations . Good God lame dull & Boring are the nicest things i could say . Thx Cex for the £32 trade hi Socom pre-order for £35.
Posted 14:25 on 17 March 2011
aramark95's Avatar

aramark95@ Gollum_85

Yea same here for Killzone three. But they say the online multiplayer for it is not as good as the Killzone 2
Posted 02:21 on 17 March 2011
aramark95's Avatar

aramark95

I was really hoping this would be a great game to play. I will still buy it just nor for the 60 dollars it is now. I might buy it when its 20 to 30 dollars. What about yall.
Posted 02:19 on 17 March 2011
p0rtalthinker's Avatar

p0rtalthinker

Ouch. This review saddens me. To be honest I probably was expecting too much from this game but I was hoping this would turn out to be more then mediocre; something spectacular. Guess not. Also, only 5 hours??? Give me a break. First the standard for FPS's was 8-12 hours, then 7-8 hours, pretty soon the next COD it'll be no longer then a Half Life episode :p.

My eye's on Crysis 2 for now...
Posted 07:22 on 16 March 2011
clangod's Avatar

clangod

Yep, no surprise there. I was interested as Homefront was revealed but as I started to see video emerge of the game it was apparent to me that it was a bland CoD like shooter with little essence or substance outside of its dramatic back story.

Happy to leave this one be. Especially now that I have borrowed Black Ops from a mate and am struggling to stay with it. That in it's own right is just terrible to play. Oh well. Run run, bang bang...
Posted 04:48 on 16 March 2011
Gollum_85's Avatar

Gollum_85

Yep, as expected. I'll be waiting for Killzone 3 to drop in price, and also Crysis 2.
Posted 21:41 on 15 March 2011
mikejosh1978's Avatar

mikejosh1978

I am still excited to get into this even if many a critic isn't impressed . CoD was the MoH killer back in the day so i see potential .
Non too happy about Drone kicks Apache's ass but just means a balance fix server side & all is gd.
I'm ignoring Kz3,Bulletstorm & Crysis2 4 this as the multiplayer is offering something different unlike CoD & with its MAG / BC2 mix i hope it will keep me busy til Unch3 & BF3.
Posted 21:30 on 15 March 2011
Roland_D11's Avatar

Roland_D11

I rented the game today because I like single-player shooters. I just finished the second level and I don't have the urge to go on. The premise is interesting, but the gameplay itself is pretty boring.
Posted 19:25 on 15 March 2011
African_Woolf's Avatar

African_Woolf@ Woffls

Totally right - my bad. My comments still stand. :)
Posted 19:18 on 15 March 2011
Woffls's Avatar

Woffls@ African_Woolf

Homefront was published by THQ, not EA. EA are publishing Bulletstorm, Crysis 2 and Battlefield 3.
Posted 18:57 on 15 March 2011
African_Woolf's Avatar

African_Woolf

The general feel of the comments here makes me like you people. Spot on :)

Homefront looked kinda bland from the beginning but its still saddening that THQ believe this is the kind of quality they can dish out as a "COD killer". Not that I particularly care about COD, I just think people need to work harder if they want some of that delicious COD money.
Posted 18:21 on 15 March 2011
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

Sounds like a lot of key areas could have been improved considerably.

I'm not into FPS war-themed games , but Bulletstorm reignited my interest in the genre and this, admittedly, was on the radar. Unfortunately, I think that is where it can stay, and I'll just wait for Duke's arrival in a couple of months.
Posted 18:01 on 15 March 2011
dazzadavie's Avatar

dazzadavie

Kinda what I was expecting to hear too.
The extended play video was my first glimps at the gameplay and first I thought it was just a CoD copy in look and feel, then I saw the AI move, and talk. They had no life just walking a line to the next animation, and delivering there lines like Jason's J-bot on the last Gadget show for a game that was bigging up the story so much the acting just looked bad.
The MP looked like a cross between CoD and BF, bring BF vehicle to the CoD type maps.

Think I'll ether miss this one or borrow it.
Posted 16:40 on 15 March 2011
coiled-string's Avatar

coiled-string

Pity the single player is so lousy as I'm an offline shooter fan.
I had put off buying Bulletstorm after the poor demo, hoping this one would fill the gap.
I just want a game where I can shot people in the head or miss and hit them somewheres else.
Posted 16:26 on 15 March 2011
Ghost_Dog's Avatar

Ghost_Dog

To be honest, this is what I was expecting.

Nothing about it ever looked more than perfunctory.
Posted 16:06 on 15 March 2011

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Homefront
7
Out of 10
Homefront
  • Intriguing concept
  • Multiplayer is fun
  • Poor execution
  • Lousy campaign
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 18/03/2011
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC
Developer: Kaos Studios
Publisher: THQ
Genre: First Person Shooter
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 822 122
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