Although the premise of the story in itself is an interesting what-if, delivery isn’t all that fulfilling. While they could have invested more into the single player experience and really make for some storytelling and depth given the material they had to work with, it’s clear that the single player isn’t really the main thrust of the game play for Homefront. While the levels have you escaping through a town, traversing both urban and rural environments, and escaping in an APC and so forth, the chapters went by fairly quickly and left me wanting more. Certainly the characters are a grab bag of personalities – some are interesting, while others are fairly generic, combined with on and off again voice acting that really didn’t do the single player the kind of justice they could have.
Multiplayer on the other hand is pretty entertaining; with large scale pvp battles of varying types and objects. You have your usual Deathmatch type and capturing and holding objectives, or a mix of the two. There’s mayhem all over the place as players fight team to team all over large battle fields that provide a variety of obstacles, set pieces, hiding places and more. Through your actions, be they killing enemies, securing or defending points of control and recon, you accumulate points that allows you to use special weapons/items, or jump into team vehicles. This can make for a pretty hectic battle as there are tanks and helicopters going every which way, firing rounds and rockets at you or at your enemies. With players tossing off grenades, EMP grenades, snipers taking pot shots at your head, and bazookas going this way and that, things can get pretty wild
Add into this the interesting battle commander system that acts as a co-ordination system which highlights enemy positions through radio, and recon drones, or in the case of a player who’s on a good kill streak, giving away their position to opposing forces to try to take them out specifically for bonus points, and you have what is often a wild experience. The point accumulation goes beyond activating different things in the battle field to become experience points that level you up, allowing for new and more powerful weapons, as well as vehicles and support items to be unlocked. The controls themselves are standard issue really in terms of FPS gameplay, with your customary aim, shoot, reload, along with buttons to lob grenades, switch weapons, activate vehicles and special attacks/items, and so on. There’s really nothing innovative about them and they worked most of the time.
Graphically Homefront does appear a bit dated and while they did go for making the environments interactive to a degree, there really wasn’t much remarkable about the presentation, aside from the scale of the battle areas for multiplayer and the options of perches, staging areas and so on. The thermal imaging for helicopter machine gunners was either helpful or a hindrance, depending on the terrain involved, which proved to be a challenge. Likewise the advanced sniper rifle suffered from the same issue. Sound wise they had things pretty spot on in terms of sound effects – the music wasn’t hard on the ears, and as I said above, they had some hit and miss voice talent for different points.
Overall, if you’re looking for a challenging and interesting single player experience you will be disappointed by Homefront. If you’re looking for a good multiplayer battle experience on the other hand, you might find hours of fun with Homefront, either with the Battle Commander system, or just in a general death match. I often found myself more inclined to keep going with the multiplay rather than continuing on with the single player experience. All that said, if they do produce a sequel for Homefront I will certainly be inclined to give it a try as there’s potential here that hopefully can be capitalized on in any future installments.
Final Score: 80% (B-)