Homefront is a modern first person shooter developed by Kaos Studios in partnership with Digital Extremes and published by THQ. It's set on the unconventional homeland of The United States of America in the not too distant future (2027 to be precise).
Due to the overwhelming popularity of first person shooters, any game that decides to follow that trend will have to be pretty impressive in order to stand out against the big hitters such as Call Of Duty or Battlefield. Homefront is an extremely enjoyable ride from beginning to end, however it doesn't really bring anything new to the table. The real area where this game excels is its storyline. It plays off real life events, such as the ever increasing price of oil due to the conflict in the Middle East and various other factors that cause the US to fall into economic disaster. A newly unified Korea then decides to use this opportunity to launch a massive attack on America's east coast. Obviously, the fact that Korea invades American soil was fabricated but it ties in extremely well nonetheless. This is all described to you in the opening cinematic, which in my opinion is one of the coolest and most believable openers to a game I have ever seen.
This leads us on the gameplay. Unlike other war shooters, Homefront isn't fought in the traditional manner. There are no dug in trenches or large open areas. It is all fought within the constraints of everyday situations and locations such as supermarkets and cul-de-sacs. The numerous examples of product placement located throughout the game (e.g. a Hooters restaurant) really add to the realism and helps register with the player in a pleasing manner. The most effective aspect of this being when the fight is taken to within a Tigerdirect.com superstore (effective for the Americans at least). The story and themes, therefore, are very enjoyable and help glaze over the rather average shooter.
The single player campaign is a fun ride but is over much too quickly (approximately 5 hours completion time) and I'm not sure if you'll be itching to get back on for another go. It is very linear and the only real incentive would be for the few in-game collectibles.
The weapons are varied and well balanced and include large numbers of attachments to keep you from milling over the same weapon or two throughout the game, although there isn't much that you would not have seen in other shooters. Midway through the campaign however you command an unmanned anti-tank/personnel vehicle with devastating firepower that answers to your every whim. It can't help but to put a smile on your face.
The multiplayer section of Homefront is extremely enjoyable and has a very good balance of arcade style gameplay (i.e. Call of Duty) and realism gameplay (i.e. Battlefield). There are only two game modes to choose from (Team Deathmatch and Ground Control) but combine these with the good and varied maps and you will be entertained for long periods of time. Vehicles are very well balanced and do not dominate the battle ground but prove to be an extremely deadly addition to the arsenal, if in the right hands.
Customisation is a large factor and you will often find yourself at the armoury sprucing up your loadouts as you progress further through the ranks - unlocking more stuff. The game adopts the use of ‘Battle Points' which are earned by killing enemies or completing objectives. These can then be swapped - mid game - for extra abilities such as UAV radar, attack drones, flak jackets, RPGs and much more. However, Battle Points are deducted for poor performance, enticing players to do well. This helps to create hotly contested yet fun battle scenarios.
The lack of hardcore mode (or the equivalent thereof) can be extremely frustrating at times as you find yourself emptying an entire clip into an enemy's torso, only to have them turn around and stick a couple shotgun shells right between your eyes. This could be put down to me not being used to the style of play but I'm sure most people would like enemies to have slightly less HP.
As far the optimisation of the game is concerned, it is done well and the graphics are pleasing to the eye. Playing the game on medium was very satisfying but started to struggle at anything higher. Certain animations could be better but you will be hard pushed to really notice in the heat of the battle.
In conclusion, Homefront is a very enjoyable game that borrows aspects from other titles in the same genre and combines them to make a fun first person shooter. It does not do anything over the top or necessarily new which in my opinion makes for refreshing experience. Buying this game for the campaign alone may not be a wise decision due to its length but pool this together with the multiplayer and the very engaging and thrilling storyline that the campaign does have and I believe you will be pleasantly entertained for the duration.