Backlog Quest: Day 31 – Homefront
Today I kicked some North Korean ass.
Homefront is one of those games that is an awesome idea with mixed execution. In a near future where North Korea has had a series of “lucky breaks” and the US has had a series of misfortunes resulting in a new super power and an occupied America. You play as a former military helicopter pilot essentially forced into the resistance movement and plunged head first into the war to regain American independence.
The game is gritty and clearly designed to pull at the your patriotic strings as well as your anger strings, which are a little more mixed than they probably should be. Against a backdrop of White Castles and Hooters we witness parents being brutally murdered in front of their children, American refugee camps and of course the mass graves of those not willing to follow North Korean rule. These are of course the things that take place in a desert on some far side of the world, not the streets of Denver. There is no doubt that Homefront captures this dark, back against the wall concept of an America under occupation amazingly well. Sadly, it doesn’t capture the actual gameplay nearly as effectively.
The game, which beyond the atmosphere, feels mostly like a COD clone for the vast portion of the game is mostly hindered by very poor visuals. The game looks so bad that more often than not I had to rely on a sniper rifle to even make out soldiers from the background noise. It just looks bad and not at all like the AAA title it is supposed to be. Upgrade the game’s graphics and the game is upgraded quite a bit in the process (I’m not one to base a game on graphics but these are truly abysmal for a game of such caliber and style). There are some truly great moments though, such as providing air support from the helicopter or using the Goliath (a remote controlled tank basically) to just cause mass amounts of destruction and mayhem for some North Koreans.
Homefront’s story is the backbone of the game, and is obviously built on the atmosphere. Overall it works well; the soldier called back to arms by fate to defend his country deal is a good angle made better by the circumstances of the greater back-story. The main drawback to the story is how rushed it is. Almost like a film that has to cut scenes in order to finish on time and under budget, the game moves along at such a quick pace it is no time at all before you are on the Golden Gate Bridge and finishing the game. Seriously, it is about four hours in length. Disappointingly short length aside (that’s what she said?), the story is just so rushed that it often takes away from what should be rather epic and gave moments in the game. “Oh hey! A mass grave! Okay, well next scene!”
There is reason to be excited for the pending sequel, no doubt. If THQ can improve the looks of the game while offering a deeper, richer story to accompany the nearly perfectly pitched atmosphere there will be a real heavy-weight of a game in Homefront. As it stands, it is fun, gritty and gets the blood flowing but lacks the refinement to really make it better than descent.
Tomorrow I take a day off from reviewing games to recap this last month. 31 days and 31 reviews later, I’m spent.
Final Rating: 6/10
CBR Break Down:
Console Played On: Xbox 360
Time to completion: ~ 4 hours
Gamer Score Earned: 155/1000
Price Bought at: $5
Current Price: $3.71 (Amazon)
Recommend Purchase Price: It can be found for less than $10, which is a great price point.
Why you should buy it: The epic, “American underdog” story and atmosphere.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: It is so short you could play it in the time it takes to do the week’s laundry.