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Platform

Xbox 360

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

THQ

 

Developer

Kaos Studios

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

March 15, 2011

 

 

- Tells a story without a lot of padding and without pulling too many punches
- The "What if...?" scenarios piled on top of each other

- Looks great
- Controls feel instantly comfortable if you've played a recent shooter
- Some humor in the last chapter
- "Offensive" multiplayer provides a quick shooter fix
- Getting a quick overview of enemy locations when spawning in multiplayer

 

 

- "Offensive" multiplayer doesn't provide the same definition of "real" character classes like Team Fortress 2 or Bad Company 2
- Experienced hard lock crashes a few times during multiplayer
- A few too many "boom!" dead moments
- Some really glaring bugs

 

 

Review: Call of Duty: Black Ops (PS3)

Review: Singularity (360)

Review: Metro 2033 (360)

 

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Homefront

Score: 7.0 / 10

 

homefront          homefront

 

My main "like" for Homefront is that it sets up a definite story arc right from the opening chapter and runs it through to the logical end point. "Logical" being relative in this instance because Homefront piles on so many "What if...?" scenarios in it's "speculative fiction" setting of an occupied United States of America. Newspaper pick-ups scattered throughout the game offer more detail on the background of how America was basically plunged into the Stone Age -- at least this Stone Age is

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marked with futuristic military ordinance and urban Mad Max scrabbling for jet fuel.

The linear set pieces can be a lot of fun and because it's so linear, there's no need to think about which way to go or what to do next. However, it can be a little frustrating to want to explore or gain some perceived advantage (like flanking the enemy) and find that avenue has been closed off with an invisible wall. When it

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happens that a sneaky shortcut can be located, there's a chance players will get to see enemies spawn into the map up close and personal, as in mere in-game feet away. It breaks the immersion that developer Kaos has obviously spent so much time crafting.

On second thought, maybe that's how North Korea managed to take over a lot of Asia then invade the US: teleportation!

 

homefront          homefront


Played through on the Normal difficulty setting, Homefront takes about 5-6 hours. I can see how it would take a lot longer on the hardest setting "Guerrilla," which is more accurately described as "Magic Bullet and Grenade Magnet" mode. This is the mode where the top of your head attracts every grenade within a 3 miles radius and every bullet has your name, telephone number and retinal scan information on it. Even on Normal, there are symptoms of this condition throughout; times when you're the only target on the battlefield dotted with many other comrades.

Homefront's multiplayer is much too "offensive" for my tastes. There's no support class and little in the way that doesn't involve shooting opponents. The multiplayer in Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has become my measuring stick for this kind of thing because I really like the fact I can be an Engineer and rack up points for repairing my team's vehicles or be a Medic and revive team members and drop health kits. Making careful observation, 90% of players stick to the regular infantry class, with their own custom load-outs. Snipers especially are uncommon as sitting still for any length of time means death from a regular soldier with a good scope. If you're not running and gunning, it probably means you're dead.

Homefront's multiplayer is all about movement. Take control of a waypoint then move on to the next one, earning enough "Battle Points" to activate a special ability or save them for a sweet ride or some other devastating special attack. This early in the game's life, I haven't seen any obvious "gaming of the system" or exploits that make for "instant win" scenarios, though I have found great success with grenade spamming when clearing a room.

 

homefront          homefront

 

And for whatever reason, this is the most quiet shooter I've ever played. People are just not talking, which frustrates most efforts at tactical movement or coordinated attacks. The result is a pack of lone wolves running amok and satisfying 15-minute bursts of mayhem. Over extended periods, with the lack of communication and focus on offense I found my interest waning.

I have yet to be able to connect to a Battle Commander multiplayer game, which appears to offer side-objectives, like taking out the opposition's highest-ranked player.

An important note in relation to multiplayer. If the code included with the game is not entered, the game limits advancement to Level 5. That means the more specialized weapons will never be accessible and Battle Commander will remain locked. (The level cap is 75.)

The multiplayer will likely live on for a while, especially with a steady flow of new maps or a new mode or two, because there is some depth to the offensive progression of upgrades and special abilities.

Homefront does a good job sticking to its setting and providing a coherent story arc while offering standard gunplay and the occasional booming explosion. I'm not a huge fan of classless multiplayer, even I had fun (in compressed play times) with the offensively focused multiplayer. Homefront is worth checking out.

- Aaron Simmer

(March 15, 2011)

 

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