Blind Review – Homefront

Homefront Screen

Invading Stores Tuesday

Homefront is publisher THQ’s first real attempt to assault the Call of Duty Throne. Unlike last year’s Medal of Honor from EA, THQ has chosen not to compete head to head with Activision in the crowded Fall, preferring instead to bring their modern military shooter to market in a lighter Spring market. Although March is not traditionally considered the best time for a major release, more and more publishers are pursuing the same strategy of getting out of CoD’s way. Battlefield: Bad Company 2 found some success last year, but can Homefront measure up in terms of quality?

Starting an Insurrection This Week

Pyongyang Express: full of North Koreans and Aliens (and tacos)

Unlike most other games in this genre, in Homefront you do not play an elite soldier on the front lines of a major war. Instead you play an average Joe initially out of his element when LA is invaded by aliens from North Korea smuggled into the country inside a fleet of Pyongyang Express taco trucks. For the entirety of the single player campaign you will be behind enemy lines, out-gunned and under-fed.

Tomorrow, When the War Became Available at Stores Everywhere

In the opening sequence you control Hunter Applewood, a science teacher at a small public high school who must help his Australain students escape the massacre using a series of improvised weapons. After successfully fleeing to a bilabong in the Rocky Mountains, the rest of the game takes place over a number of years as you continue to lead your band of Aussie guerrillas through a series of brazen hit and run attacks against Korean Alien patrols, convoys and motherships.

Suspicious Packages Exploding at Retailers the 15th

Written by ultra-liberal filmmaker Michael Moore, known for hit movies like Roger and Me, Zapped! and You’ve Got Mail, the game’s politics are incredibly complex. Obviously, to begin with the games sets the player in the role of an insurgent defending his homeland against a superior invading force, inviting comparisons to real-life situations in Iraq and Afghanistan where the insurgents are usually labelled as “terrorists”.

Routing the American Dream Tuesday

Moore also sneaks in seemingly loving depictions of the Alien North Korean’s Space-Communism at work, including atmosphere and volatile redistribution. He has every right to express those opinions, but at times these touches work at cross purposes within a game mostly about sabotaging those efforts. He may be straining towards a more profound revelation about moral relativity, but here his reach exceeds his grasp.

Executing Collaborators This Spring

Homefront features rvolutionary nostalgia shading!

Setting the thematic elements aside, Homefront is a remarkably well executed shooter with large, beautifully detailed environments, meaty gun play and immersive sound. It does not make the mistake of so many recent shooters which offering no relief from the action, instead creating a comfortable pace with proper peaks and valleys enhancing both quiet moments for discovery or reflection, and pulse-raising thrills from intense combat.

Liberating Internment Camps in March

Developer, Kaos Studios, was previously best known for their popular multiplayer game Frontlines. As you’d expect, Homefront also includes a substantial multiplayer component. Matches are hosted on dedicated servers allowing for large, hectic battles with as many as 64 players. Large maps accomidate this well and offer great flow, suitable choke points and sensible spawning areas. Kaos have also chosen to ape Call of Duty multiplayer by including and RPG-like experience and progression system for unlocking equipment, abilities and customizable loadouts.

Poisoning You Against Capitalism This Tuesday

Standard modes like Capture the Flag and Team Deathmatch are present, but the best game type is the new “Heart of Darkness”. In each of these maps one team is tasked with travelling up river to find a mad Colonel, played by one member of the opposing team, by clearing a series of contested objectives and managing to cling to their own sanity. Players who lose it “go native” and are switched to the defending team. If the searching team can find and kill “Kurtz” before their last member is killed of loses his mind, they win, otherwise the defenders win. There is no time limit to this mode and matches can become epic.

Available for Sale at All Major Retailers March 15th

For a first attempt from THQ at assailing the Call of Duty throne, Homefront acquits itself quite well. Sharp gameplay and fun multiplayer more than make up for some of the narrative shortcomings. Although not quite up to the polish level of Activision’s cash factory, Homefront is a worthy competitor sure to win over fans on its own steam.

Our Score: Librarian Glasses