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VIDEO GAME REVIEW: Homefront

03.25.2011by: Andre Manseau

Published by:  THQ
Developed by: Kaos Studios
Release Date: March 15, 2011
Available on: Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC

GET THIS GAME HERE

INTRO: For some strange reason, I've been following the development of Homefront for awhile. It's a strange thing because I don't usually dig the whole 'counter-culture' deal in videogames and i'm not the world's biggest fan of first person shooter games. With that said, This one always seemed to have some sort of strange appeal to me, and now it's here for me to share with you!

The official description sounds something like this: the year is 2027. Her infrastructure shattered and military in disarray, America has fallen to a savage occupation by the nuclear armed Greater Korean Republic. Abandoned by her former allies, the United States is a bleak landscape of walled towns and abandoned suburbs. This is a police state where high school stadiums have become detention centers, and shopping malls shelter armored attack vehicles. Join the Resistance, stand united and fight for freedom against an overwhelming military force In Homefront's gripping, cinematic single player campaign penned by John Milius (Apocalypse Now, Red Dawn), and experience epic, ground breaking multiplayer action all set in a terrifyingly plausible near-future world.

GAMEPLAY:

Admittedly, one of the first things I started thinking about when I started actually playing Homefront was the Call of Duty series. This game really reminds me a lot of that series and seems as though it was created in its shadow. It's a squad-based game (a type i'm not really big on), where you've got a few computer players on your side and you've got to go up against the bad guys. They're pretty okay as teammates although they will stumble around and get all up in your face from time to time, blocking your path. If you like games where you stick to cover and strategically plan your attack strategy, skip this one because there is no real cover system, which is a little bizarre.

The game is designed to be a real 'horror of war' sort of dramatic experience and it does work to some extent, but the melodrama can be a bit overwhelming and sometimes the effect just isn't overly well done. You'll see a lot of terrible things happening while one of your teammates will react and then you'll be mired in a huge firefight because they lost their cool. It is hard to feel attached to it because it gets repetitive and just feels like they're throwing in the 'emotional' stuff to make good on their dramatic promises.

Anyway, the game has a pretty typical group of weapons and they perform pretty well but aren't overly memorable. You can also control some vehicles (albeit somewhat awkwardly), and when you get to check out the huge Goliath drone you'll be thrilled to watch it rip through some serious structure. The Goliath is a MASSIVE beast that will destroy absolutely everything in sight and although the effect is cool, you don't get to use it often enough and it's really not very interactive or challenging to employ at all. They look cool, but as a gameplay mechanic they're weak.

The biggest downfall to Homefront is that it is so very short. I blasted through this game in less than five hours and I'm not an expert- I died a whole bunch. It all just ends so quickly that it is impossible not to feel disappointed. There are a lot of cool moments in this game but they just don't feel interactive enough. The whole thing feels like a bit of a rushed cheat because it might look pretty nice and have some good ideas, but in execution they're only okay.

Multiplayer is pretty alright, although I can't give an extensive review of it. You've got Team Deathmatch and Ground Control, which are two pretty standard multiplayer modes. They've got good maps though, and the most fun part is the Battle Point system which lets you upgrade almost anything you'd care to. That mode adds to the fun, although the balance of the points tends to be a bit off and you can spend a ton only to find yourself wondering how your new vehicle got destroyed so quickly.

Gameplay: 8.5/10

GRAPHICS:

The colors here are muted and the textures tend to be washed out. The atmosphere looks pretty good and you do see a lot of broken down, blown up locations. There are some admittedly unforgettable locales such as the Golden Gate bridge battle and a bombed-out former sports arena. The character models are okay, and one could make a decent argument for this game looking good, but I don't think it looks great. Graphics don't hurt the package here, but they don't exactly sell it either.

Graphics: 7.5/10

AUDIO:

Sound design here is excellent, with a lot of orchestral music present to tug at your emotions (this is an emotional game, y'know). There's a lot of explosions and good weapon sounds that work well and you can hear many screams and other ambient noise if you listen closely. Voice acting is quite good too. 

Audio: 8.5/10

FINAL VERDICT:

I'm not a big multiplayer guy and I found this single player campaign to be short and disappointing. I enjoyed playing through Homefront, but its big selling point of being 'emotional' falls flat and the story feels heavy-handed throughout. I blasted my way through and had a few giggles along the way, but this game seems destined for the rental shelf and when it drops in price you may want to consider getting it. Until then, stick with COD.

Final Score: 7/10

GET THIS GAME HERE

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