Game Review – Homefront (PS3)

Wolverines rule!

Ok, ok I couldn’t do a review of a game based on the United States being invaded by a foreign power without throwing in one Red Dawn reference. Given the story of the game comes from JohnMilius the man behind the Red Dawn film, it’s no great surprise. This is especially apparent as you navigate one of the levels and see ‘Wolverines Rule’ sprayed defiantly on the side of a building.

In Homefront, you play as Robert Jacobs, a former Marine helicopter pilot. The game opens with you having your door kicked in and one rifle butt later, you find yourself arrested and bundled onto a bus by the KPA (Korean People’s Army). You are then treated to a tour through the ruined urban landscape. It’s here that you first realise just how harsh the occupation under the KPA has been. It’s a brutally effective scene and sets the tone for the entire game. There are other moments like this throughout the game (one scene which involves hiding from the KPA is particular harrowing) but none were more effective than the opener.

After some timely and violent intervention you find yourself inducted into the ranks of the resistance. You soon realise that you have specifically recruited for a special operation the resistance have been planing.

In many ways Homefront plays out like one long mission. When the resistance’s overall plan is revealed it’s not really as epic as many other shooters of this type have done in the past. In many though it feels more real because of this. By the time the game comes to it’s rather abrupt end you feel that things have definitely been set up for a franchise.

The in game visuals, although not ground breaking,  are still great and do an effective job at conveying an America gone to hell. Rather than using video cut scenes the developers have gone down the route of using the in-game engine to deliver their story, which is a smart move as sometimes having to pause while you sit back and watch a video cut scene (with usually much better visuals) can take you take of the game.

If you’ve played any shooters like Call of Duty or Battlefield then the controls are going to be pretty familiar. One of the upsides is a button to automatically climb ladders which personally I think all shooters should have (the amount of health I’ve lost falling off ladders is a crime).

One of the plus points in the game is the use of weapons. On my play through the ammo for my weapon of choice seemed to be forever running out and it forced me to pick up new weapons quite often. It’s another nice move to build up the tension as you take up some soldiers with your last few rounds so you can scavenge their weapons.

There are the token vehicle levels and some of these (turret) work better than others (helicopter) but again they are all competent efforts. There are a couple of good sniper levels in the mix as well.

The sound is great as is some of the voice acting. Particular note goes to the ‘Voice Of Freedom’ – the pirate radio broadcaster who you hear between levels filing the public in on the activities of the resistance movement. It’s a nice distraction from just having a loading screen and again adds to the overall atmosphere.

The game is very linear and most of it is spent following your plucky band of rebels from one location to the next. The problem is a lot of the time once you get to the location it seems that you have to wait a few seconds for the game to kick in and load up the next story point which can be a pain.

Multiplayer is competent enough however when you have big guns like Battlefield and Modern Warfare 2 ruling the multiplayer roost then you really need to give gamers something special  with your multi-player and Homefront doesn’t meet that target.

Ultimately Homefront isn’t going to set the gaming world alight but it’s a fun, solid and atmospheric shooter, with some great visuals. However forty quid is a hefty price tag for a game you can finish in five to six hours.  This is even more apparent if you’re not a fan of multi-player.  I don’t necessarily have a problem with the game length as sometimes it’s nice to have a game which is a quick blast and because of this it’s worth a rent.

Homefront was an enjoyable enough ride and despite myself found really getting into the story and the characters. I hope it does well enough to merit a sequel because as franchise starters go it could have been a lot worse.

Buy,Rent or Avoid Rating: Rent

GS Reviewer: Nuge

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