Homefront for Xbox 360, PS3, PC | Game review

Xbox 360, PS3, PC; age: 18; £39.99; Kaos Studios/THQ

Generating a new military first-person shooter franchise from scratch these days is either extremely brave or very foolhardy – it’s hardly as if there aren’t enough of them. And the ones we already have are generally pretty amazing. Unfortunately, you wouldn’t describe Homefront as an amazing game – although neither is it bad. It’s based on a ludicrous premise: North Korea has invaded America (how that came about is explained, unconvincingly, before and during the game), and you join a rag-tag band of resistance fighters questing from Colorado to San Francisco with crucial fuel-tankers for the remaining US military.

Homefront does have some standout aspects: the story is told without recourse to cut-scenes, but rather by conversations with your fellow resistance fighters, which can annoy, as you wait for the next dose of action, but does at least create an ambience not unlike Half-Life. Homefront works hard to vary the gameplay, with sequences involving sniping, helicopter flying, stealth-lite and fixed-gun shooting, and there’s a great remote-control vehicle called the Goliath, which moves automatically but lets you control its rockets and machine-gun. Despite being written by John Milius, the characters lack any hint of personality, though, and ultimately the single-player campaign is short and disappointing.

However, Homefront’s multiplayer side redeems it considerably. Kaos Studios was once the New York outpost of DICE, of Battlefield fame, and Homefront’s multiplayer modes successfully marry the large-scale appeal of Battlefield with the intensity of Call of Duty. A clever currency system (called Battle Points) gives you access to goodies like armed drones from the start, and the flexibility to pursue your favoured play-style is there from the off. And a clever mechanism called Battle Commander encourages ganging up on the most dangerous enemies, encouraging your team to operate in a more coherent manner, which you may find helps compensate for some of the skill deficiencies which can render multiplayer first-person shooters less fun than they ought to be.

If you’re a keen online player of games like Call of Duty and Battlefield, Homefront is well worth checking out. And, while its single-player element is pretty lacklustre, one hopes it will make enough of a sales impact for THQ to commission future iterations.

Homefront was reviewed on Xbox 360





Steve Boxer

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