It’s Homefront’s turn to get burned. I have a lot of interesting screenshots from all parts of this short game, mostly to save you playing this thing, so spoilers ahead. Consider yourselves warned!
Back in the Cold War there were a lot of movies about the USA getting attacked by the USSR. Most of them were about nuclear war, which was still a very real possibility. Probably the most infamous is The Day After which remains one of the most accurate depictions of a nuclear strike (at least for the 1980s) ever made. Others focused on an unrealistic invasion by Soviet troops, like Red Dawn. Really it plays up to the feelings of nationalism and patriotism; your country is being invaded by evil people, what will you do? Even Australia got a taste of it with books like Tomorrow, When The War Began, although that was less about fighting and more about pointless teen drama.
Of course with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the USSR, and the relative state of peace in the world (small conflicts not-withstanding, I mean there hasn’t been another WW2 flashpoint or anything), the scope of evil enemies to invade the US has dropped off. The most obvious choice is China, despite China apparently having no interest in doing anything except making cheap shit and counterfeit software. Modern Warfare 2 just decided that they weren’t finished with Russians and had them invade anyway. The most curious choice is North Korea, because although they’re led by a batshit insane dictator, they can’t feed their own people, let alone mount an invasion. Watch The Vice Guide to North Korea, or any other the other DPRK documentaries on Youtube. Where they get all the money to make bombs is a mystery, because as far as anyone can tell, they can’t even grow food or maintain a reliable power supply. But anyway, they hate the US, so I suppose they’re fair game.
Homefront takes this idea and runs with it. It runs fast. So fast in fact that it’s barely longer than Portal. I should probably make that point clear right now; this game is incredibly short. Sometimes short games are okay; they do their job, don’t outstay their welcome, and are fondly remembered for it. Portal is the perfect example; if it had dragged on too long we’d get bored, but instead we had a neat puzzle element, then we had a storyline part, and everyone loved it. Homefront’s ability to be worthy of the asking price (which is a full game) will depend largely on whether or not it remains interesting from start to very short finish. The storyline is simple; you’re in Montrose, Colorado, which is occupied by the DPRK. Strangely enough the writer (who also did Apocalypse Now and Red Dawn) was originally going to use China, but decided it wasn’t realistic enough. What, a country that can’t feed its own people and would get shit on by every other country if they went to war somehow is realistic for a takeover of the US? Yeah, not buying it.
Anyway, it’s set in 2027 and apparently the DPRK managed to unify Korea and take over a bunch of other places as well. There’s also a bunch of shit about peak oil, xenophobia, and more survivalist crap. The entire point of the game is to get some tankers carrying fuel to what’s left of the US military near San Francisco. That’s it. There’s a handful of missions, then it just abruptly ends on the Golden Gate Bridge. There’s no resolution, there’s no closure, there’s bugger all except a half-arsed cutscene and the credits roll. It’s like they got up to that mission, said “Screw it, I’m done making this bullshit” and just walked off the job. The entire thing barely lasts 4 hours! Parts of it are basically like a diorama of occupied suburbia, with the DPRK beating the living shit out of civilians and burrying them in mass graves. Not sure how realistic that is, but whatever. The opening sequence makes the game seem really interesting and powerful. I had high hopes.
They were quickly dashed when it turned into another CoD velvet-rope style shooting sequence where you take down an arbitrary number of DPRK troops, move forward, pick up a different gun because yours is out of ammo, and leapfrog from trigger to trigger. The gunplay isn’t particularly interesting, the storyline isn’t entertaining, and since there’s no resolution, the storyline isn’t interesting either. The best scenes are completely static and have no interaction at all – these scenes are the bus ride at the start, and finding the mass graves later on. The rest of it is like a copy of Modern Warfare 2 except with North Koreans, no nuke, and resistance fighters. I’m sorry but it’s just a mediocre snoozefest.
Boring. Boring. Booooooooring! Although nothing is really broken, it’s not really all that fun or entertaining. We’ve played this shit a hundred times before, and quite frankly I’m getting a bit sick of it. The few sequences of interest are washed out by the boring and tedious action sequences.
Technically competent. Looks a lot like Call of Duty.
Sound is fine, voice acting is reasonable. No real complaints, but there’s nothing outstanding at all.
I haven’t played MP but there’s no way it’ll stand up to juggernauts like TF2 or BC2. SP is short and boring.
OVERALL: 5/10 PASS
Homefront’s biggest problem is that it’s a stock-standard shooter which is far too short, has little appeal, and gets old real fast. Which is saying something, considering that the god damned game is barely 4 hours in length, absolutely pathetic for the asking price. Although nothing really stands out as being “bad” about Homefront, there’s nothing particularly good about it either. It’s boring, and that’s about all I can say about it. If you want to see a bunch of civilians fight off an invasion in USA, go watch Red Dawn.