Homefront is THQ’s answer to a question nobody asked; why can’t we have more games about war? There isn’t enough violence in the world according to THQ, so they’ve made up a new scenario for this game. It takes place in 2027 and apparently Korea has been terrorising the world for 15 years because they’re Korea. The game starts off with 3 Korean soldiers attacking you and acting smug, before they push you down some stairs and lock you in a bus. There’s a “normal” dude you’ve never met waiting on the bus and he acts like you’re his homeboy. The bus gets going and you’re forced to look outside through the window, with a locked camera that makes sure you see all the brutality happening on the streets. Korean soldiers are hitting people for fun, explosions are going off, children are crying, slaves are being prodded in a line. Apparently this has been going on for a decade, but seemingly everything happens at once right as the bus goes by. Are we having fun yet?
Eventually the game starts, but it’s not much of a game. The campaign is 6 hours of the same battlefield set-piece wrapped up in different scenarios. The combat is really basic and doesn’t offer much freedom. Every battle amounts to firing a few shots, hiding behind cover and restoring health. Health regenerates very quickly too, it takes about 2 seconds and sometimes I could just stand out in the open and regenerate health as the enemies reloaded (playing on Normal difficulty). It’s nice to see human health has improved so much in 2027.
Thankfully the shooting mechanics are pretty solid, the cursor is easy to aim and popping headshots is satisfying and frequent. Combat can get pretty intense even though it’s rinse and repeat, it’s very fast paced. I often found myself throwing my gun away and picking up a new one rather than reloading. Your team-mates also help make each battle more difficult by lying to your face.
“You go hit that switch, we’ll cover you!”
Except they don’t shoot anyone. I listened to this clown and ran towards the switch, dying in about 3 seconds as bullets massaged my body. I couldn’t hit the switch until I mowed down about 12 enemies by myself, all while my team whined about how slow I was.
“We’re pushin’ em back!”
Thank god! I peeked behind cover to find more enemy soldiers flooding in. What the fuck? The NPC’s aren’t just blind and stupid, they also get pissed off at weird things. One shoot-out involves protecting a baby in a house and a guy on the team keeps yelling “shut that baby up!“. We have more pressing issues dude, like 30 SOLDIERS UNLOADING THEIR MACHINE GUNS AT THE WINDOWS. I wanted to shoot my team-mate, and felt a strong duty to protect that baby because it has to be pretty special to drown out gunfire with its lungs. Another example of the evolutionary health advancements in 2027.
Most of the gameplay is straightforward shooting and whenever it tries something different it fails miserably. There’s a few instances where enemies keep respawning forever, and I didn’t know I had to run for it until I ran out of ammo. Even then, running to a destination through a battlefield is completely luck-based and ended up killing me. Luckily I made it halfway across, and it respawned me on the other side. A bit confusing and cheap, but I was just glad that part was over. The helicopter mission was another terrible idea; the controls for it are glitchy, it kills the framerate and you have to shoot people you can’t even see. It looks great though, of course.
My favourite part of the game was looking around for intel documents while my team swore at me. There’s 61 shining newspaper articles to collect in random places, it’s optional but I found the hilarious propaganda entertaining; stories of heroic US families being screwed over by Korea. It’s a good reason to look around, the environments are quite interesting and detailed. A lot of the action takes place in backyards as the rebels follow underground paths and climb over fences to avoid looking suspicious.
“Tell them about the awesome graphics!”
Homefront does look pretty awesome, not just because of the huge scale of detail but the use of colours. It has a 90s videogame feel to it and doesn’t try to be gritty. The menu’s are also well organised and the text is remarkably clear. Text, who cares? I do, a lot of videogames drop the ball here. There’s also QR codes on some of the walls but I scanned them with my 3DS and nothing happened.
There’s not much more to say, it’s an OK game held back by lack of creativity, some frustrating design choices and an offensively generic premise. Aliens would have been more interesting and believable than all this Korean military crap, and it annoys me that THQ has written all this bullshit about what they think will happen in the next 20 years. How about a bit of mystery?
Homefront has some spectacular graphics and that’s about it, this game wasn’t made with gameplay in mind. In fact I don’t see how war games are conductive to gameplay at all, there’s way too many variables and battlefields are an uncoordinated mess that can’t be scripted. I enjoyed the parts that didn’t involve shooting or cutscenes. Homefront is a graphical showpiece with solid shooting mechanics that are barely used, and it’s also a terrible slot-car game.