In Homefront, Kim Jong-il is not just ill, he’s now dead. His son, Kim Jong-un, has taken over and managed to unite Korea. However, they go on to invade the US, along with Japan, and so things aren’t so good after all.
The year is 2027, your name is Robert Jacobs, and the baddies have struck at America with an EMP (Electromagnetic pulse), rendering them useless to protect themselves and fight back at the nuclear-armed Greater Korean Republic, leading to a dystopian future. As the game begins, you’re forced out of your apartment and into a bus. En route to a labour camp, your bus is rammed and turned over by some freedom fighters and a man called Connor sets you free. Once out of the vehicle, you meet up with his cohort Rianna and on the run you go…
The single player campaign was written by Hollywood screenwriter John Milius (he of Apocalypse Now and Red Dawn fame), but that doesn’t really show as the paper thin plot is there just to set you amongst the ruins of an American city. Okay, each game’s got to have some kind of set-up but it’s the gameplay that’s most important, right?
I have to admit that I’m not one for mutliplayer gaming, but I’ll throw in the blurb that states “Multiplayer support brings epic warfare to the online arena as infantry, tanks, attack helicopters and combat drones battle across huge, open battlefields. Homefront’s rich feature set offering layers of tactical depth combined with a game-changing innovation in the multiplayer space sets a new benchmark in online warfare.”
Going back to the gameplay, there’s something about it that feels very stilted, as if you’re playing something from 3-4 years ago. Basically, this is certainly not a Call of Duty: Black Ops beater and shows up in the graphics that are just simply ‘okay’. For example, if you run to hide behind a barricade of some sort, the lack of definition in what’s in front of you really shows up. The sound is very average, too. Yes, it’s in Dolby Digital 5.1 as you’d expect and it’s loud, but never expressive in the way a first-person shooter should feel. It just feels quite flat.
The AI is a bit odd as well. Early on, Connor told me to stay put as part of the army marched past with a tank. Meanwhile, Rihanna kept running about in a sort-of ‘figure of 8’ style. WTF? That would surely attract attention! It’s not only then when your companions can keep getting in your way, too.
Other random irritations include:
- Sometimes when you get ambushed, you can either die quickly or duck out of the way and let the others deal with it for the most part.
- There aren’t any ‘save points’ as such while playing a mission, it just auto-saves the latest checkpoint. You can reply a section of, or a whole mission, upon completion and there are seven in total.
- I couldn’t even walk through a turnstile. I had to wait for everyone else to go through it and then press ‘x’ to do it(!)
- You can’t shoot any items inside houses, leading to a game that just doesn’t feel very interactive. You can’t go through closed doors that won’t allow you to ‘x’ through them. I’ve heard of linear games, but at least let me in!
- There’s either not a lot happening, or you’re getting shot by all sides. Either way, it’s just irritating full stop.
- You can pick up items, but they’re just pieces of news information, and not at all interesting or relevant.
- Ammo… hello?! I keep running out of that quite often.
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- Publisher: THQ
- Price: £49.99 (Xbox 360, PS3); 39.99 PC)
- Players: single player campaign, multiplayer: 32
- HDTV options: 720p/1080i/1080p
- Dolby Digital 5.1 sound: Yes
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.