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Review – Homefront

Posted by Spat on May 16, 2011 in Reviews, Video Games |
Homefront Box Art

Homefront

 

I was really looking forward to Homefront when I first heard about it.  It’s a new first person shooter for PC, PS3, and X-Box developed by Kaos Studios and released by THQ.  But the thing that really got me rooting for it was that it was written by John Milius (who co-wrote Red Dawn), and it was all about…. defending suburbia from foreign invasion!

WOLVERINES!!

 

 

 

So, I headed to GameStop to go pick it up and as I went to the counter to pay for it, the salesman actually stopped to remind me about their return policy on games.  I buy a lot of games at GameStop, and no one has ever taken the time to remind me how long I had to return the game if I didn’t like it.

So I asked, “is it that bad”?

“It’s not BAD, it’s just mediocre.” was the reply I got.

And I was OK with that.  I was in the mood for a new shooter, and didn’t really care if it was cutting edge or super awesome.  My trigger finger had a itch that needed to be scratched.

So I headed home, popped the game in, and waited for all the updates to load.

The opening scene of Homefront gives the game a 10 out of 10 right off the bat.  It’s so freaking awesome that it almost makes the game worth picking up just to watch it.

When you start a new game you’re subjected to a (future) history lesson.  It’s all news clips and exposition starting in 2010 and moving all the way to 2027 explaining the rise of North Korea as a World Power and their ultimate firing of an EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) on the USA and then invading it.

The opening is so well done, you’ll probably want to watch it a few times, and even show your friends it!

What makes it so good is how scary and real it sounds.  It’s uncomfortably believable.  From there, it was time to actually play the game!

The first thing I noticed once the game itself started was how much it reminded me of Half Life and Half Like 2.  The way the opening is done (you’re heralded onto a bus and get to look out the window to see events and foreshadowing of the game to come) is almost a dead ringer for the opening Tram scene from Half Life.

The more I played the game, the more it felt like Half Life!  The graphics, the missions, the Goliath, the dialogue.  It all made the game almost seem like a Half Life 2 mod, than a whole new game.  I kept looking around to see if “Michael Freeman will die” was scrawled on the wall somewhere.

The game’s story is… well… almost non-existent.  You’re a pilot and the resistance needs a pilot to help strike a blow against the North Korean occupation in California.  Woo hoo.

Yet the whole game, you’re on the ground shooting people.  You’re like an “Infantry Pilot”.  It’s only the final scene that actually requires you to fly a helicopter (best part of the game as far as I’m concerned), and that only lasts for one mission.

So, you spend almost the entirety of the game as part of a small group of nameless (they may have had names, it wasn’t important, so I never paid attention), faceless Resistance fighters making your way through occupied territory to gather supplies and helpers so you can all break out of California.

Whatever.  You get to shoot and blow up a lot of things.  That’s really all that matters.

Ultimately, the game plays like it’s 5 years old.  It’s a bit unforgiving in parts if you don’t go exactly where the game wants you to, the AI is pretty goofy, and your own teammates are ALWAYS in your way.  It’s a pretty formulaic game comprised of all the standard missions (sniper, gunner on vehicle, assault, etc.), and it all feels like you’ve done it all before.

And since the PSN is down, I didn’t get to try any multiplayer.

All in all it’s an OK game.  “Mediocre” really does describe it well.  It’s a fun shooter, with a few memorable scenes, but it’s very dated.

I would say you’re best bet is to wait for it to drop to $29.99 used range, then it’s worth it.

The true crime is that never once does your character get to eat a deer heart or stand on top of a blown up tank and yell “Wolverines!”

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