If imitation is truly the sincerest form of flattery, the Call of Duty 4 team must feel pretty adulated right about now. Homefront is yet another in a long line of FPS games conceived in the shadow of Modern Warfare's enormous genre-defining success, but Kaos Studios' vision of a destroyed, occupied America in 2027 is one that never manages to emerge from it.

Homefront begins with the Korean People's Army forcing you onto a bus, and from here you watch their numerous atrocities against the backdrop of a broken, ransacked and smouldering Colorado. The foreign invaders' depraved malevolence peaks in one particular moment where you observe a mother and father gunned down in front of their sobbing child. As the child tugs at the clothes of his dead parents, your vehicle is smashed off the road by the resistance movement and you're promptly handed the certificate, badge and membership pen of these valiant freedom fighters. Now begin shooting.

Still, Kaos' conflict of a unified Korea invading America - a wafer-thin scenario explained away in a flashy introduction movie - is only an outrageous, vicious war until you actually take the reins and start playing, which is when it quickly descends into a sub-par Call of Duty clone lacking in any discernible weight or significance. Much of the noticeably short campaign (I completed the game's seven chapters on the hardest difficulty in just over five hours) is spent ducking behind a trio of American brand names - Hooters, White Castle and TigerDirect - across a variety of ruined suburban landscapes, popping up from time to time to squeeze off a few rounds into the chests and heads of your unsympathetic Korean foes.

Homefront is a standard shooting gallery entrenched within a shocking setting, where you score headshots in quaint little American backyards, quintessential suburban tree houses, and white picket fences. The landscape of slanted mail boxes and sagged front gardens is very much a closed world of startling vignettes, however, and you move between these through intricate underground tunnels. At one point you pop out into a mammoth retail superstore, which is all part of a bid to collect enough supplies to punch through the wall built around the state to keep its citizens at bay.

It's a massive shame, then, that the intriguing premise and heavily publicised John Milius script are delivered in such a lacklustre and ham-fisted way. The grizzled Connor and considerate Rianna are your primary chaperones on a journey culminating in a standoff between American and Korean forces at the Golden Gate Bridge, a wooden AI duo that ferry you around the world with the passion of a particularly disgruntled museum tour guide. You are forced to experience the game at their restrictive pace, as your character is wholly unable to move any of the door-blocking filing cabinets littering the environment until the AI has caught up, spouted their scripted dialogue and eventually pushed it out of the way. It's not a good sign that most of the game's stilted, awkward conversation is uttered while your cohorts have their backs pressed up against yet another disguised loading screen masquerading as a blocked door.

Occasional shocking set-piece moments elevate the game from its clunky corridor blasting routine, showing you a brief, temporary glimpse at the Homefront which could have been. Walking through a dilapidated elementary school modified into a ramshackle civilian camp is certainly an affecting moment, complete with wheezing children and mouldy teetering tents, but the sequence is handled with all the emotional grace of a sociopathic P.E. teacher, and the narrative payoff is an embarrassingly low-budget slow motion gunfight.

At least the game understands the nuts and bolts of shooting, with the typical array of assault rifles, submachine and light machine guns rattling off devastating sprays of bullets in neat little clumps and with a satisfying sense of weight. The antonymous Goliath drone provides the futuristic technology of 2027, a seemingly indestructible vehicle that looks like a six-wheeled lunar buggy with a rocket launcher grafted on the top. More powerful than a Hammer of Dawn being shot through a giant magnifying glass, Goliath's usage is restricted to a few choice scenes where you mark entire screens of tanks, troops and APCs with a fancy laser pointer before reigning down concentrated blasts of hell itself. These are scenarios framed around visual spectacle rather than any particular player input, the usage of the machine so insultingly basic you simply cycle between hitting up on the d-pad and then the right trigger until the game decides to move on.

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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: 841 30
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