AMD Radeon HD 4850
In a world saturated with modern war shooters, comes another modern war shooter. It can’t even be argued that the setting is all that original. There may not be many that take place on the streets of America, but there are some. What does make this stand out, however, is the nature of the threat. But is this enough to elevate from the realm of mediocre? And stand out above the sea of its peers?
Unlike most games of it’s ilk, Homefront makes itself stand out right from the outset. Moving away from the standard Russians or Islamic extremists, Kaos took their inspiration from less obvious sources. Like Frontlines before it, the plot revolves, somewhat, around a global fuel crisis. However, this is rapidly shown to be nothing more than a backdrop, as the true narrative is all about the rise of North Korea as a global super power. It may seem ridiculous to most. But, self contained as they are, this is not all that improbable. And is quite chilling when you consider how tightly controlled that country really is.
Hey sailor ^_^
The story picks up roughly fifteen years hence, after much of America has fallen under control of the Korean Peoples Army. The very first thing you see is a rundown shack of an apartment, with people outside being rounded up in pens, beaten, shot before their children’s eyes. It lays it on thick, and does a masterful job of portraying the desolation and sheer hopelessness of the situation. Later, it also shows you the simple pleasures the resistance have found, making the very most of the terrible situation they live in.
It’s a good premise, a well executed narrative, and extremely well acted. However, there are a number of plot contrivances that hold it back from being great. All throughout the game, you cant help but feel like it was just so much wasted potential. And dear Gods, you will want to kill your squad mates. They’re useful enough, for a change, actually making efforts to take out the enemies. But they scream in your ear constantly. ‘Jacobs, we’re pinned down. Jacobs, get to cover. Jacobs, you’re not invincible. Jacobs, throw a grenade at that tower. Jacobs, scratch my arse for me’...moving on.
The rest of the sound is solid. Weapons have a satisfying kick when you fire them, explosions sound suitably booming, and environmental sounds are quite atmospheric. And the weapons themselves, though not particularly diverse, have a number of different skins, reflecting different camo paint jobs. Making the fairly small variety seem more varied. Each has it’s own effective range and fire modes, and do offer some degree of tactical options. In so far as close and long range suitability.
<Insert Ash quote>
Thankfully, the environments are large enough to actually make use of this. The game does follow a linear path, with no deviation to speak of. However, within each area, you will find multiple paths to your objective, and often will have a lot of ground to move around on. This really allows you to flank and outmaneuver the reasonably intelligent AI. It’s one the areas where the game shines, and really makes you sad that it couldn’t have been better overall.
And it looks amazing. It isn’t all that advanced technically, and runs extremely smoothly. But it looks great. An abundance of well used colours, and an absolutely stunning skybox. As with many games these days, it’s a pretty obvious console port. But it’s another that has actually taken the time to make use of Dx11. Whilst it may not push hardware, or even standards, in any way, it does make the most of it. Offering you a lot of distracting eye candy. It’s just a shame it isn’t distracting enough.
The multiplayer surprised me as well. It’s no secret that I don’t usually care for online. But this one actually drew me in. The maps are large and usually filled with buildings and such, and with up to 32 players, on servers that are still extremely active. They’re large enough to feel spacious, whilst being suitably contained that there’s always something happening nearby. There’s also a Battle Points system which allows you to purchase extra equipment and weapons. It feels very much like a substitute for killstreaks, but one that makes you work for it. And doesn’t unbalance the game nearly as much for new players.
My only regret...I was not Kim Jong-Well
All in all, the game is little more than mediocre. It is above average, but only just above average. Positioning of checkpoints, especially on higher difficulties, coupled with infinite spawns, will cause you rage like you have never know. And the short campaign will leave you disappointed. Though the online is pretty solid. Unfortunately, for fans of Call of Duty, there will be too much that’s different from those games. And for people who don’t like Call of Duty, there’s too much that is like those games. Leaving it in a very awkward position. Let’s hope they address these issues for the, upcoming, Crytek developed Homefront 2.
- Interesting narrative: Something that actually really could happen
- Spectacular visuals: Seriously, the skybox is incredible, and the use of colour is a very welcome change
- Narrative: It's a good concept, but the execution is flawed
- Dialogue: It's a little staid and relies on expletives a little too often
- Length: Less than nine hours on the highest difficulty? Yeah, that’s definitely too short
Personally, I really enjoyed the game! Many people out there would disagree with me, but I honestly thought it was a decent shooter. It's not a very long game, but it was long enough to keep me entertained and the story, not being the greatest out there, was enjoyable to play through. The mutliplayer side of the game was the biggest reason I wanted the game and to be honest, I was slightly let down. It's hard to pinpoint why I dislike it so much, I just feel that it's just not much fun to play online.
Visually the game doesn't push any boundaries, but it does a good job at creating a war torn America. Once the game has been completed once, there's not much incentive, at all, (apart from collecting newspaper articles you missed) to go back and play it all over again. I'd just like to add, before I finish, that I have a lot of faith that Crytek will create the Homefront game that I was expecting/wanting!