Please note: the game itself is short and barebones, so this review is likewise and purposely so.
Homefront is a multiplatform game that tries to set itself apart from the average first person shooter game by trying to give it a story. i applaud their attempt at that. It's a noble attempt; it really is. They even hired on John Milius to pen the script for this. i had high hopes for the story of by the writer of the script of Apocalypse Now and Red Dawn, though Apocalypse Now strays from being "inspired by" to being a "ripoff of" Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. Read it and tell me you don't agree with me.
But, i digress.
While watching the intro movie (and trailer) for this game, i was immediately pulled in. It's an interesting, albeit far-fetched, concept of North Korea unifying with South Korea and then through a series of escalating events ends up invading Japan and then the United States. While interesting, this needed to be fleshed out more; it's simply too implausible as the story is told to us. Korea simply doesn't have the manpower or the technology to do that. Nevertheless, it's still an interesting intro movie and it's the high water mark of the game. Yep, it's all downhill from there.
The controls aren't bad, which is essential in any FPS. Between missions when you're walking around talking to people, your walking speed is way too slow, though.
The sound effects and music are decent, too. However, the AI voices keep repeating the same lines over and over again. This is exceptionally annoying if you happen to be exploring, looking for various other routes (which is futile, by the way since the game is incredibly linear) or newspapers so you can try to gather more of the story.
The characters are flat and uninteresting. Here's some Spark Notes for you:
The graphics are good in some places and then not so good in others -- there is a fuzzy shadow surrounding all people, guns, and other objects. Weird. i did notice some weird glitches at times and graphical oddities. i once saw a guy who was buried up to his waist and still running around the level as if nothing was out of the ordinary.
The level design is mediocre at best as the game is incredibly linear. Yes, FPS's tend to be very linear, but this one is more linear than normal. There is little variety with the chopper and the Humvee missions, and i do mean "little."
Like i said earlier, i had high hopes for the story, but unfortunately, those hopes were quickly dashed. The story is what got me interested in Homefront, yet somehow the story is somehow arguably the weak point of the game. Amazingly enough, the game expects you to pick up the story, quite literally, from gathering newspapers off the ground and reading them. There are many better ways to tell the story than to expound upon it by leave it lying around like the trash it is on the street. i doubt most players even read the articles in the paper. Even i stopped caring after awhile. It slows down the pace of the game (it's a FPS, for gods' sakes! i don't want to read an editorial in the middle of a firefight).
There are better solutions than the newspaper idea-- Have cutscenes, have characters talk about the plot points, use the radio to tell the story more, set the game at an earlier time and have the character, or characters, see the events first-hand. That would add much needed length to the game, too. Since the game tries so hard to be Call of Duty, why not let the player take control of different characters in the over-arching story?
Let's not forget the shameless product placements. We see it enough in movies and TV; we don't need it crammed down our throats in video games too.
This game is possibly a renter, i suppose, but not a good purchase because of the length and, oh, it's not a very good game either.
4.5 out of 10
i hope you enjoy your stay here. Feel free to drop me an email and give me some feedback or tell me what's on your mind. Check back often for updates.
This site is best viewed via Netscape Navigator 3.02 or Mozilla Firefox.