Picture this. North Korea and South Korea have made amends, and they have become one united nation. Japan is in financial ruin, and surrenders to this newly created United Korea because they are afraid that they will be destroyed if they don’t. This has created a giant superpower that has set its eyes on a declining America, and has begun their invasion. Now the people of America must rise up and defeat their invaders. They must protect their Homefront.
This scenario sounds like a perfect setting for a video game, but what looks good on paper, does not always translate into greatness.
What Left a Bitter Taste
I know that we usually begin with “What Quenched my Thirst”, but the negatives in the single player of Homefront vastly out ways the positives.
Homefront builds off of a great premise, but the idea is not well executed at all. I started the game hoping to be taken an emotional roller coaster through the decaying lands of America, but instead, I got a melodramatic bicycle ride that just makes you wish it would end already. It just feels like the developers tried way to hard to inflict deep emotion into the player.
You are bombarded with crying babies after crying babies while making your way through the desolate suburbs of America. It gets really annoying after a couple of times, and what makes it even worse is that there may not even be a place near you that would have a baby crying. You will see a town burning way off in the distance, but the cries of babies from that town will sound as if they are right next to your ear. It became quit annoying.
They also touted a narrative that was written by a popular Hollywood writer, but the story was almost nonexistent. There are not any cut-scenes or anything that helps move the narrative. It feels as if the full single player experience should just be one mission in a bigger game. This is even more evident when you find out that the game is ridiculously short. It took me only 4 hours to complete, but as you will see, this short campaign might not be a bad thing.
The level design in this game is problematic. I found myself getting stuck on walls, steps, cover and really anything. The game forces you into pointless shootouts over and over again in small areas. When you finally see a map that is more open and could be fun to fight in, you are forced to fallow a certain path because if you don’t, you will be killed.
These firefights, which you are forced into, consist of sitting behind cover and waiting for the AI to pop up and shoot them, which becomes tedious at times. What makes this worse is that the hit detection can be shoddy at times. I find it strange that the hit detection is much better in the multi-player and not in the single player.
The game also forces you to play fallow the leader. Every mission involves you following around an AI character doing what it says. This becomes a problem at many times during the game because they get in the way. I had to restart a couple of missions because the AI got stuck on each other and could not get to the checkpoint or I would get to the checkpoint before them, and try to get out of their way, but they would corner me against the wall and I would have to restart. I also found myself getting stuck on them while in a fight, and dying.
Though all of these things mentioned are pretty bad, the worst part of this game is the dialogue. This game has some of the most annoying, boring, and repetitious dialogue I have experienced in a game. The characters say the same pointless lines throughout the game and it becomes the most irritating part of the game. The worst part about it is that the characters spout out these pointless, profanity filled lines. Half of the time they said things that did not even fit into the game, and it would have been much better if they just left it out.
There were also some minor glitches in the game that I found, such as the AI getting stuck on objects, and things of that nature. There were also some graphical glitches, such as some pop in and screen tearing. Again, these are just minor things, and did not really affect the game. The single player campaign just needed to be polished some more. Many of these things could have been found easily.
What Quenched My Thirst
The overall look of the game fit well into the premise of the story. It really showed a decaying America, and a truly war ridden country. The opening of the game was great, and it set a wonderful tone, and I wish they could have continued this tone throughout the game. The final level of the game is also great. It was the only time that I really felt like I was in a war trying to protect my land.
I am a really big fan of the sound effects in this game as well. All the guns have unique sounds, and the explosions have a lot of power to them. It is the main thing that drew me into the game, and made me feel like I was really in a war.
Homefront takes many different ideas from other games to put together a badly executed, clichéd experience. They mostly marketed this game as a great single player experience, but they should have focused more on marketing the multi-player experience, since it is much more polished and fun. To see our full video review of the Homefront multi-player, just click here.
Developer: Kaos Studios
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: March 15, 2011