Homefront Review – Killing Virtual Commies for Old Glory

Game:
Ten Ton Hammer
Ten Ton Hammer Rating
69
I’ve been waiting eagerly for Homefront, the first person shooter developed by Kaos Studios and published by THQ, to come out for several reasons. First, the storyline written by John Milius (Apocalypse Now, Conan the Barbarian, The Wind and the Lion, Jeremiah Johnson, the Rome tv series, and Red Dawn) is incredibly intriguing. It is the year 2027 and over the last 13 years, America declined in power while North Korea rose in strength and forcibly annexed pretty much the entire Pacific Rim. The Greater Korean Republic has attacked the United States and now occupies this once-proud country. The gamer plays as a pivotal member of the Resistance, who is fighting to expel the commie horde from the good ol’ USA.

The second reason is that I remember the Cold War and grew up during it. I was born in 1970 and remember vividly of the US facing the Soviet Union during the 1980s while the threat of nuclear armageddon hovered over everybody’s heads. Games or movies that ask the “what if?” questions of what could happen if the USA lost or if total war broke out have always fascinated me. Plus, I’m a huge fan of first person shooters since I first played the shareware version of Doom.

homefront
The face of the enemy.

To that end, Homefront depicts the foreign occupation of America and the player is cast in the role of freedom fighter. Will Truth, Justice, and the American Way prevail or will the commie hordes be victorious?

For clarification purposes, this game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.

Cautions

Homefront is rated M for Mature and in intended for audiences 17 and older. The game has Blood, Strong Language, and Violence.

Gameplay - 70 / 100

On the whole, the gameplay for Homefront is pretty average for a shooter. The layout of the controls is similar to other games in the genre. You are armed with two weapons and have the ability to carry some grenades and other special items. During your missions, you can swap out weapons with the weapons dropped from killed enemies.

There are a total of seven chapters in Homefront, broken into a number of missions. The missions are rather linear in nature and don’t allow for a great deal of flexibility. While you do have companions with you, they are useless. Once you pop your head up, you will become target number one from enemy soldiers. Like in other shooters, there are times when you can control a vehicle, such as a helicopter or armored unit.

While the gameplay is linear and unremarkable, I found that the missions were varied and fun to play. The biggest flaw with the game is that the single player campaign is incredibly short. Most hardcore gamers can finish the campaign in five hours. This is way too short for an AAA title and incredibly disappointing.

homefront
Your companions will provide zero cover while you try to remote-control this vehicle.

On the plus side, the storyline of the game is incredibly compelling. You will be hooked into the world setting from the very beginning. If you’re an American, you will definitely feel the emotional impact of fighting for the Resistance against the Korean invaders. You will undergo missions that will take you through forced labor camps, you’ll see Korean soldiers executing civilians and dumping them into mass graves, and you’ll deal with unscrupulous outlaws that will kill you just as quickly as they would kill the Korean occupiers. The whole spectrum of human behavior will be displayed for you from those who want to help you, American civilians who just want to be left alone and have accepted the occupation, and those who actively collaborate with the enemy.

On the whole, I give the gameplay a C+ rating. While the gameplay is your standard shooter fare and brings nothing new to the table, the storyline is incredible and helps elevate the game. I would give the story an A+, but the linear nature of the missions and the incredibly short single player campaign lower the score considerably.

Graphics - 70 / 100

The graphics for Homefront are on the average of shooters that are a year or two old. The graphics are well done depicting the destroyed suburbia and rural farmlands of America, but they are not cutting edge. They do help draw you into the world of an occupied America, but don’t expect anything groundbreaking.

homefront
What do burning commies smell like in the morning? They smell like...victory.

Sound - 87 / 100

The sound in the game is extremely well done. The voice acting is very good and doesn’t distract you from the setting. Combat is fast and furious with the whine of bullets flying past you, the rumble of a tank closing in on your position, the shouts and cries of the enemy soldiers, and hearing the jet engines of a fighter coming towards you is not a happy thing. On the whole, the sounds do immerse you into the game experience.

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