Great multi-player, poor single-player
Do you like Battlefield 2? Do you like Modern Warfare? Well then, Homefront might be the game for you. KAOS Studios has managed to user their past experience of working on Desert Combat and Frontlines to create a very cohesive shooter that fixes the ground combat problem of the mainline Battlefield series by making it much more fluid and fast, while still keeping all of the strong vehicle combat and open maps that were lost in the Bad Company series. It’s the best of both worlds and everything pulled off fairly well at the end of the day.
The backstory for Homefront is definitely something unique compared to all of the fictional Middle Eastern countries featured in most shooter single-player campaigns these days. The basic premise is that while the US starts to deteriorate due to a massive economic crisis and pulls out its military in other countries, North Korea works towards unification with South Korea to create the Greater Korean Republic, slowly annexing surrounding Asian countries through means of violence. By 2027 there are only small remnants of the US military left and the Koreans have already been invading for about a year.
You play as Robert Jacobs, an ex-pilot that gets freed by some resistance fighters recruited to the cause. While it definitely has some interesting ideas as far as where it goes with its fiction, the rest of the game isn’t really up to the task for being on the same level as what’s going on. Most of your time is spent in shooting gallery sections a la Call of Duty, with a bit of sniping, sneaking, and vehicles thrown in for good measure. The little NPC areas where you can do some character interaction are neat, but don’t really do much at the end of the day. The overall time to completion will only be 3-5 hours for most people on normal. A little short for some, but I wasn’t left wanting more by the end.
Regardless of how it was marketed, though, the meat of Homefront is definitely the mutli-player. As mentioned before, the mashup of BF2 and MW creates an overall faster game than the former, but still maintains the strong vehicle combat and tighter weapon selection that the latter is lacking. There are unlocks and perks, of course, but one interesting aspect similar to Counter-Strike is the ability to buy items that last until death, like kevlar or an RPG. By killing players, capturing objectives, etc, you get BP (Battle Points) that are used like money to buy upgrades and weapons, as well as vehicles and drones.
There are only a handful of different gametypes and they’ll all be familiar to most people, like ground control (domination from Call of Duty) or team death-match.There’s also Battle Commander, which is a sub-mode for all the main gametypes that adds killstreak bonuses, but the twist here is that the enemy will be notified of your location, and the more kills you get in a row the more visible you become to the enemy.
With all of these little additions in conjunction with proper dedicated server support, great netcode, and the hit awesome hit registration, Homefront has a very strong foundation for online play that shouldn’t be overlooked. The only negative thing I have to say about the multi-player is that the number of maps is pretty small. It’s really hard to say if 7 maps will be enough to satisfy the community long enough for KAOS to have time and put more out, but the good thing is that they’re all fairly well-designed and unique.
The fiction and presentation are two of the strongest aspects of Homefront and it’s a shame that the single-player doesn’t really live up to it. However, the multi-player, while necessarily full of unique ideas, manages to be very well-crafted and fun.