Pros:- Some nice atmospheric settings
- Audio/visuals are OK
- The controls are solid
Cons:- Confused, dumb scenario
- Shooting gallery gameplay
The Bottom Line: A very average shooter with nothing noteworthy other than a weird premise
"Homefront" claims to be "from the writer of Apocalypse Now and Red Dawn" but since I don't know any authors-turned-game devs I'm assuming that means that the story behind it is from him, not the pretty stale gameplay.
Recommend this product?
The game is a first person shooter, and a Call of Duty clone. Very little else can be said about it. The audio is acceptable, the graphics are acceptable but not mindblowing. You go through the campaign, following boxed in objectives, hiding in cover and popping off Korean soldiers.
Yes, because in Homefront you are playing as an American resistance soldier in 20xx and Korea has overtaken the US. This is a fantasy story. I cannot imagine how something like this can be in the realm of reality. But the game opts to go a "realistic" approach which further confounds matters.
To clarify, the US looks like the US. You're in your dingy home at the beginning when Korean soldiers bust in and put you on a bus. Oh these are not just busses- these are leading to the equivalents of mass concentration camps. Lovely. The game tries to be casually offensive. On your bus ride over you see two parents held up at gunpoint while their young child cries in the background. They tell the child not to look very desperately and then the child is executed before them.
I don't think I find this game offensive because of the controversial matter but because of how poorly written and hamfisted the entire thing is. Along the way you not only find a mass grave of dead Americans covered in maggots, but you are forced to jump into the pile and hide. And they shoot at the pile whether or not you're moving, though you can't die.
Maybe this could work if I wasn't popping off 40-some Koreans single handedly behind a thin veil of plastered 2 by 4's while confused orchestral music blares in the background. Or if blinking red sentry turrets attached to 200-foot poles didn't look like something rejected out of a War of the Worlds knockoff didn't force me to strategically through grenades while ducking through cover.
The characters are also really stupid even though the story is told in an acceptable pace. This is also two-steps away from being an on-rails shooter. Every room is a corridor or a box, there are no open areas. Games like Call of Duty are closed-in like this but you get the sense that there's something out there. This game feels like cheap set pieces with very little interactivity.
It helps that the gameplay does work, even though it's very easy and extremely short. Games recently have been six hours- this game is four. And not just four difficult hours but six tiny levels that let you stand and take mountains of gunfire without hesitation. On occasion you have a mildly simplistic objective which usually involves throwing a grenade, but there is nothing else to it and very little variety. The game IS Call of Duty. I mean that's the audience it targets and that's the gameplay to a T. You have a wide variety of weapons that operate with some variation but as far as the gameplay is concerned are almost identical. You want to get a gun with a laser sight at the start and you'll be in cover, popping heads, moving to the next corridor.
The game will be wholly forgotten in a month and buried on a mass of similar FPS clones but that's alright. For what Homefront is, it's a nice diversion. I have similar complaints as I do with Call of Duty. I know a bookcase need to be knocked over but I have to stand and wait while my slow-*** teammates decide to casually stroll over and move it for me. It's a shooting gallery, like a haunted house with enemies that pop up like sitting ducks and then vanish in droves. It helps the gameplay works well for what it is but the mechanations behind it are nothing unique, and the aforementioned story, while the only really thing about it worth mentioning, just makes the game feel offensive. They could have gone the Command and Conquer route and made a wonderfully campy "What-if" game but this just tries too hard in the wrong places.
I recommend renting it if not just completely avoiding it. If you think four hours of acceptable shooting is worth full retail price, then by all means.
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