When it comes to FPS games, the recurring theme is that you (the protagonist/player) is either out in space battling aliens, monsters or whatever hellpsawn/mutation there is or you’re surrounded by grunts who are trained (or at least aware that they’re going to die) for war or battle. However Homefront (from the company who has brought us Frontlines: Fuel of War) takes a different route in the war theme that is rarely (if not never) used by any other game dev (well in MY recorded game memory) with war hitting close to home (for Americans at least).
The year is 2027 and the United states of America suffered an economic meltdown and has been invaded by the Unified Korean Amry under Kim Jong-Il’s son, Kim Jong-Un. You are Robert Jacobs, a former Marine Pilot who was rudely awakened, harassed and dragged off by the Korean army for not answering the Draft order. While you are on your way to be “reeducated” the bus you are in was attacked by the local resistance and from there you are immediately put in the middle of the US-Korea war with the US’s freedom at stake.
Homefront’s campaign feels the same as like other FPS games. The difference between Homefront and the other titles is that Homefront lacks the “pseudo-freedom” feel other FPS games have. The game feels very restrictive as you progress through the story because the game is riddled with invisible walls making the game more restrictive than it is. I actually wouldn’t take notice of this but since I’ve already gotten used to these areas being blocked by a big truck or wall in other titles that it felt sloppy for Kaos Studios’ to leave the campaign as they are.
I think Kaos Studios went for the stricker narrative in the campaign to better invoke the emotional stabs the game promised to deliver. I would be lying if I didn’t feel anything on the scene where the toddler was forced to see his parents gunned down by Korean soldiers or the sadness and anger I felt upon seeing a football stadium being turned into one huge mass grave or the chill of seeing both resistance and Korean soldiers screaming their guts out while they are being burned alive by a phosphorous missile misfire.
I liked the fact that the Kaos Studios tried to balance out the “atrocities” committed in the game since you won’t only see Koreans mistreat Americans. In fact in one area of the game you’d go through a redneck controlled farm controlled where Korean soldiers are treated like animals and are killed for sport and entertainment. In fact your teammates found it barbaric that fellow Americans were treating Korean soldiers that way even if they lost people at the hands of the Koreans.
The campaign won’t take you too long to finish since I was able to plow through it in a span of 4.7 hours on normal difficulty. Also the climactic end of the campaign felt more like a prelude to sequels (or DLCs) since you only get to liberate (and help) the American army take control of the Golden Gate Bridge which would be the staging point of the American’s taking back their country from the Koreans.
While Homefront’s Campaign is mediocre at best, it’s multiplayer is a whole new beast. The maps are larger and the action really intense specially for the heavier populated maps. While the gameplay and game modes are similar to the MP of other FPS, what sets Homefront’s MP apart is the amount of “gadgets” and vehicles you can use.
These gadgets are unlocked via your character’s level and also with the amount of BP you have which you can earn through various feats in-game such as kills, successful drone spotting, kill/vehicular kill assists etc. The game retains the level up system in other MPs of FPS games which would systematically unlock more features, skills and weapons that will be useful as you continue on playing the MP.
Weirdly enough, both the Koreans and the Americans have the same weapons in their armory.
I must say it outright that if you bought Homefront for the campaign you’d be terribly disappointed. Yes, the game does paint a future that is likely to happen (by a minute margin) and the people at Kaos Studios did a masterful job in setting up the story with the newspapers lying around the game chronicling Korean’s rise to power and American’s tumble to it’s second great depression, but it lacks enough power to even be considered at par with the story telling of Black ops or even Bad Company 2 (well… BC2 was longer).
What I did like in the campaign (aside from the emotional stabbing I earlier mentioned) is that this is the first time a game was faithful to how a resistance/guerilla/militia group is. The people in the resistance aren’t soldiers but are mere civilians trying to fight for their own right. Your leader is a former policeman and thinks like a policeman even after all hell has broken loose. Your people commits mistakes and it’s not just the “You get suckered in by a traitor” kind of mistake but a mistake that is pretty fatal that it cost the lives of both the enemy and your allies (the misfire I mentioned earlier).
Homefront’s campaign relies heavily on the humanity that happens when a country is invaded and you don’t have an army to defend yourself. It is gritty and real to such an extent but while it is riddled with plotholes that weren’t really explained (the goliath) but you wouldn’t really bother trying to figure out as the credits roll in. The campaign is terribly lacking and I must say it feels more like a prelude to a series (or series of DLCs) that may eventually come out in the future.
The game’s multiplayer on the other hand is pretty fun to get back into over and over again. I must say that this should be your reason to purchase a copy of Homefront and think of the campaign as a bonus or a “tutorial” of sorts for the MP.
In my opinion, Homefront was over-marketed and really fell short to what I expected. While of course the game is pretty fun it doesn’t hold much to the other triple A titles that has been earlier released. However, I can’t discount the game’s MP since this is the one that practically carried the game’s replayability.
My final verdict is, You buy Homefront for the Multiplayer first- the campaign second. The game lacked in it’s execution of the campaign, though this observation may become totally moot IF they ever release DLCs that wouldld further the storyÂ or a new Homefront.