Homefront Single-Player Campaign Review
Does THQ and Kaos Studio’s Homefront live up to the media machine that was behind it? Read our single-player campaign review to get our thought on their new FPS!
The year is 2027 and the once proud America has fallen. The infrastructure has shattered and the country’s military is in disarray. With a single-player campaign that’s written by none other than John Milius (“Apocalypse Now”, “Red Dawn”), THQ’s new first-person shooter “Homefront” promises memorable characters, an emotional plot, and “visceral, cinematic first-person shooter action.” But does it deliver?
The single-player campaign starts off with a montage chronicling the time between now and the events of the game (roughly 15 years). Gas shortages, civil unrest, and a leadership change across the Pacific in North Korea as dictator Kim Jong-Il dies and his son Kim Jong-Un takes over. He is able to unite Korea, take over Japan and then unleashes a country-crippling EMP on the United States prior to invading.
You play as Robert Jacobs, a former Marine pilot who kicks off the game being arrested by KPA (Korean People’s Army) for failing to answer drafts from the Korean Occupation forces. The montage gives an overview of how bad things are in the future, but the introductory sequence as you are transported by bus through Montrose, Colorado will bring you up to speed quickly on just how bad things are, assuming you take a look out the driver’s side of the bus. One in particular will probably haunt you LONG after you’ve finished the game.
Needless to say, you don’t spend too long on the bus. You are rescued and recruited by the American resistance. We don’t believe in spoilers, but rest assured the resistance puts you to good use and you will see your fair (or unfair) share of action.
The setting is where Homefront really shines, as well as the voice acting. Both are topnotch. You’ll walk by tents with sick kids within, doing their best to cough a lung out, and won’t be able help but have your heart sink. THQ and KAOS Studios really nail it here.
The action and weapons are fairly typical for an FPS. There are sniper rifles, assault rifles, submachine guns, and a slew of attachments for all of them. It really isn’t anything we haven’t seen before; it’s just in a new, and somewhat disturbing, environment. It’s fairly well paced, as far as shooters go, but the difficulty level varies greatly from mission to mission. We found ourselves flying through some and dying several times on others.
There are several different mission types, including a stealth and even a sniping mission to help add a little variety to the mix. Again, it’s nothing that we haven’t seen in other shooters, but it’s obvious that THQ and Kaos Studios wanted to incorporate some of the best things found in other games.
The story is fairly well done, but it has a few problems. There are a couple of characters that die during the single-player campaign, but there’s not enough development for them to actually make you care… There aren’t a lot of details available for the missions either, which makes one wonder at times “why” some of the missions are so important. The biggest issue with the story is that it ends fairly abruptly. They obviously plan on making a sequel, but a little closure would have been nice.
The biggest issue we had with Homefront is that the graphics just don’t do the story or the setting justice. No matter how much we liked the story, the setting, or the audio, we couldn’t get over how bad the graphics were… Facial and movement animations are very poorly done as well. If THQ/Kaos Studios are planning on a sequel, they better get a new team onboard to upgrade the graphics and animations, especially if they want to legitimately compete with the AAA FPS titles.
The campaign only lasts about four hours, which is fairly short, even for first-person shooters. With that being said, once we started the single-player campaign, we literally couldn’t put it down. The setting, story, sound effects and voice acting were strong enough to help us overlook the very dreary graphics.
If you are in the market for a shooter with a good story, GREAT setting, and very good sound, Homefront is worth giving a shot.
Keep an eye out for the Homefront multiplayer review, which is where much of the fun is to be had.
Score: 3 out of 5
Reviewed on Xbox 360.
Homefront is available now for the Xbox 360, Ps3 and PC. It has been rated "Mature" by the ESRB.
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