The first-person shooter genre is in a lot of trouble right now. With the never-ending success of the Call Of Duty series we are seeing an influx of uninspired shooters riding the coat tails of the modern warfare hype train. While most fall flat on their face, Homefront is a special case that shows there is still hope out there for a tired and weary genre.
What Homefront Got Right
Setting - What sets Homefront apart from similar games is the setting. Utilising real stores such as the White Castle restaurant in the opening level makes the player really feel like they are on the front lines in an environment that hits close to home. This broken down and destroyed America is as real as any game world gets.
Emotion - Several scenes throughout the game evoke real emotions. It is during these moments, particularly when you find the mass grave of slaughtered American civilians, that you cannot help but feel some form of sadness. It isn't often that a video game can evoke real emotions, but Homefront will stay with you long after the final mission.
Multiplayer - It's fast, furious and accessible but has depth once you scratch the surface. You can tell the developer has put an emphasis on multiplayer and as a result you receive one of the best multiplayer suites since CoD: Black Ops.
Battle Points - Kills, tasks and challenges not only earn you XP in multiplayer but also Battle Points, which can be spent to spawn vehicles or purchase special weapons and perks. It keeps the gameplay interesting and fresh and is an integral part as to why Homefront works so well online.
What Homefront Got Wrong:
Short Single-player - The single-player campaign may be rich in story and setting, but unfortunately it is over before it ever really begins. Clocking in at five hours, with such a rich story behind the campaign you can't help but feel there should have been more.
Graphics and Animation - While the graphics aren't terrible by any means, with the game utilising the Unreal 3 engine you’d expect Homefront to look better than it does. Character models are lacking and certain animations are almost laughable. Having said that, the game does run at a silky smooth frame rate.
Plays It Safe - It may be a FPS but Homefront seems to be too scared to step out and try something new. Relying on scripted sequences and hand-holding techniques you can't help but feel that we've seen it all before.
The Final Verdict
Supreme storytelling and a setting that is real and feels weighted is how Homefront separates itself from other modern warfare shooters on the market. With an impressive and addictive Multiplayer suite and some truly emotional moments in the single-player campaign, despite some shortcomings this title deserves to be played by fans of the genre.
By Stephen Heller
A great story and setting with typical FPS gameplay