Home is where the bullets are
Thereís something about Homefront I like, even though you can probably finish the single player in 4 to 5 hours tops, the mix of gunplay and set pieces are fairly well paced (apart from a few places), thereís not enough here to add a significant replay value onto the package but what it does come with is a Frontlineís style multiplayer mode that builds on the original game and packs in a few nice additions.Story
Set in the near future, after some serious oil shortages and financial troubles have left the US in a right state, Homefront tells the story of Koreaís occupation of the US and the crippled war machine that cannot fight back without some help. Enter the Resistance and the story thatís told from the viewpoint of one of those members: Jacobs. Once again, Iím not going to spoil the plot or any of the moment to moment play in single player. It tells a very Red Dawn style story but doesnít quite pan out due to some pacing issues and choices. Gameplay
You can expect to look down the scopes and iron-sights of an ever-changing arsenal of weapons, this isnít some finely tuned war-machine youíre part of, youíre down and dirty freedom fighters and youíre scavenging everything you can get your hands on. The arsenal for the game is pretty impressive with some nice guns and some heavy weapons, such as rocket launchers and air to air missile launchers. Mix in a few grenades and c4 and you have the typical FPS loadout that you might expect. Thereís no weapon customisation in single player but you can pick up weapon variants from the dead soldiers to round out your collection. Of course youíre also limited to carrying 2 weapons and a few grenades, so donít think you can Rambo this game.
The usual FPS controls are used, the game has a fairly nice feel to it in terms of running and gunning, popping grenades and sighting the enemy. Itís possible to snap the crosshair onto targets to some extent ala Call of Duty 4 and get quick headshot kills one after the other against the AI enemies. The levels offer a linear but open approach to cover and usually youíll be able to slaughter the defenders of an area until the last man before you can move on. There are some doors that can only be opened by an AI compatriot and that gets irksome when their AI suffers a pathfinding error and takes a while to get to the door.
It is very much a generic cookie-cutter shooter in that respect, it wonít wow you as much as some of the previous shooters in the genre have done. However, that said, there are plenty of cool moments in Homefront that do present the feeling of occupation and desperation. There are also some nicely harrowing moments in the single player that really show just how ruthless the occupation force is and why the freedom fighters are battling so hard against the Korean forces. There are a few in-vehicle gunner moments, as well as a couple where you direct the Goliath, a powerful remote-control APC armed with a rocket mount and chain-guns. You can use a pair of goggles to direct the Goliath to attack various targets and then sit back and watch the carnage.
There is even a chopper flying sequence thatís fun and enjoyable, which was a change from some games that present helicopters in their missions and make them on rails or just plain terrible to control. Add into this a few other gameplay mechanics seen in a few other genre shooters and youíve got a competent enough shooting package that needed to be longer in single player.
There are checkpoints throughout and some of them are placed a little too far apart, with your character being outgunned and the semi-useful AI will occasionally help out but most of the time itíll hang back and do nothing at all. I had to restart some sections several times until I worked out exactly what it was I was doing wrong, so along with a feeling of frustration there was at least some accomplishment that balanced it out.
There were no real problems with aiming and shooting during the single player section of the game, no miss-target moments where the sight didnít pin down the Korean bad guy that I was aiming at. They might have taken a few more bullets based on their enemy type, but there was a feeling of weight to those shots.
The game does a good job in presenting the atmosphere of an occupied US and making you want to fight for your freedom. Not bad really. It has regenerating health like many CoD games before it and keeping to cover is a valid strategy, as long as the calibre of bullet doesnít blast it away.Graphics
Homefront presents the graphics fairly well, theyíre not up there with some of the best shooters like CoD 4 or MW2, need we say: Black Ops. But they work well enough to create the kind of atmosphere that Homefront needs. Yes the textures arenít as crisp as they could be; theyíre not as sharp as weíve seen elsewhere. The levels of detail arenít quite as insane as in Crysis 2 for example but this is Homefront not Crysis 2. Theyíre reasonable and the game remains solid throughout running at a fair lick, without any stutters or noticeable pop in when things are presented further away. There are a few hitscan problems with objects in the environment blocking bullets when they really should simply just pass right across, this persists across multiplayer as well.
These little niggles are annoying leading to some wasted ammo, which is of course not something you want to lose in a game where youíre robbing the dead guys of their weapons to replenish your stocks on a favourite pistol or rifle.