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Second Opinion: Homefront

Posted by: Jeremy at 3/16/2011 12:23 PM
It seems as if the talk of the gaming industry this week is THQ / Kaos’ Homefront. Did or didn’t the game live up to the hype? Are the “bad” reviews the death of the game less than 48 hours from its launch? Well, I have played the PlayStation 3 version of the game myself over the past week and would have to say that Chuck’s take on the game is pretty much dead on...

Homefront isn’t a great game, but it is a good one. There is no doubting that the single player portion of the title is incredibly short but the storyline and atmosphere are incredible. I could argue both sides of the argument on the campaign’s length; on one hand, I wouldn’t have minded a few more missions but then again, I am more inclined to play through the game again on a harder difficulty level in its current form. The length isn’t the issue that I have with the solo experience, that would be with technical issues that hold it back from matching the potential laid in its story.

The story is as good as any presented in the FPS genre in recent years, but unfortunately their are numerous stumbles and roadblocks in its presentation. While Kaos tries to offer players a varied gameplay experience, some of the attempts just don’t play out well and ultimately ruin the flow of the game. While I had an absolute blast controlling the devastating Goliath through various housing developments and cityscapes, the mission(s) piloting an attack chopper became more of a chore than anything else. I appreciated the attempt to do something other than run and gun but it felt like an afterthought due to its lack of refinement and polish. Despite these issues, there are many flashes of brilliance in the campaign such as the initial assault on the lumber / department store, the raid on the farm and the final assault up and across the San Francisco Bridge.There were many moments during each of these missions where I found myself verbally saying “this is awesome”, only to have that feeling ripped away moments later due to other design decisions that brought the missions to a grinding halt. Where were the battle ships they were screaming about on the radios? Why didn’t anyone put up a fight once we got to the helicopter on the farm? Each of these missions built you up for an exciting pinnacle and then dropped off, leaving the player hanging, waiting for an incredible conclusion that never comes. If nothing else, I have insanely high hopes for a sophomore outing for the series.

The multiplayer player portion of the game is a completely different story: I absolute love it. This has become, easily, my favorite multiplayer FPS. Kaos has managed to take all of the mechanics popular in the genre and tweak them just enough to create a fresh and exciting system of their own. Sure, all of the unlocks and character progression options are there, but the manner in which they are instituted and the fact that pretty much everyone begins the round on even ground is refreshing to someone like me. I am not great in these types of games, but I can hold my own; it really helps to be able to hop into a match and have my arsenal leveled with the competition. Your progression is based on what you bring to the match. If I perform well, I have a chance to purchase more effective weapons and accessories but won’t be able to carry them over to the next match, and niether will my oppoenents. I didn’t like the sound of this system when I first read about it; after experiencing it I am not sure I can ever go back to something like Black Ops or Modern Warfare (2). This is the FPS for me...

The multiplayer offering alone has earned this game a permanent spot in my gaming library. Now let’s see if THQ and Kaos can take that same magic to the campaign in the sequel...