| |

Homefront Review

Disclosure: We may earn a commission from links on this page

Developer: Kaos Studios Publisher: THQ
Release Date: March 15, 2011 Available On: PC, PS3 and Xbox 360

With a new focus and logo, THQ announced earlier in the year that they would try to pierce the hardcore gaming market. Better known for Nick franchises like SpongeBob, the company also has an array of more mature content, such as the WWE franchise and UFC. Fighting games aside, Homefront was meant to be the company’s entry into the First-Person Shooter genre in an attempt to replicate the success of games like Call of Duty.

The FPS genre is a crowded field; it is hard to stand out. The developers at Kaos Studios knew this and enlisted the help of John Milius of Red Dawn fame. At the very least you would think that with such high profile talent, the developers would include some awesome cut-scenes. Not the case. In fact, most of the story is told during load screens using still images and through newspaper articles that you pick up throughout the levels.

For a game that distinguishes itself through its story, I would expect it to be quite a bit stronger and at least grounded in reality. North Korea, one of the poorest third world countries in the world, invades and occupies the United States in the near future. If that wasn’t ridiculous enough, this comes about after North Korea peacefully reunites with South Korea as dictator Kim Jong-il’s son, Kim Jong-un, takes over as leader. Eventually they invade Japan, without U.S. intervention, and then the United States. They pack one unbelievable event on top of another to make a game that is complete nonsense as far as story goes.

Even if the storytelling is not all that great, a game can be salvaged if it has good gameplay. As it is, the game is nothing more than a B-rated action flick or a bad Tom Clancy novel. Homefront does not even do action films justice, though, since it often gets mired in slow attempts at dramatic events and suspense. The game’s credibility is further dampened by extensive use of product placement. I have never seen this many White Castles in real-life and certainly never saw a TigerDirect.com store.

Unfortunately Homefront proves to be a ho-hum single-player experience. You go from one level to the next without a lot to set it apart from other shooters. At least the shooting is somewhat competent. Aiming and firing is about what you would expect with controls similar to Call of Duty. There are a number of different guns to choose from, but you will find yourself pick up guns off the ground all of the time since a lot of the ammunition you will find is not compatible with other guns.

As far as controls go, it is worth mentioning that you tend to get stuck on objects pretty easily and at other times invisible walls will impede your movement. Movement problems are not limited to your own character. Your AI allies move awkwardly in a stiff, robotic fashion. One level has you stealthily avoid enemies in broad daylight and you walk around with your allies, some of them standing up just a few feet in front of the enemies. It doesn’t lead to a very believable experience. I guess it goes well with their story.

Thankfully there is multi-player to escape from the mind-numbingly dull single-player experience. Expect your traditional FPS multi-player game modes, except with variations on how they are scored. The maps themselves are quite impressive. You can play with up to 32 people in a single match, which is above and beyond most other shooters. Customization is plentiful and vehicles add an extra layer of strategy to the mix.

Multi-player alone can’t save this title. You should know that THQ requires you to enter a one-time use code for multi-player that renders the game useless to anyone that would buy it used. This greatly reduces the resale value of the game and makes it impossible for me to recommend as a rental. Homefront fails on too many levels to be a compelling single-player experience. Maybe if the developers had another six months to fix the game’s problems it might have been a more acceptable product. It’s hard to say, but you have to live with what you’ve got. Homefront just does not live up to my expectations of a next-generation product.

Graphics: 6
Sound: 6.5
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 6
Final: 6.7 out of 10
Written by Kyle Bell Write a User Review