Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Homefront Review

Kid Safe: Low                     Game Quality: Moderate

Genre: First Person Shooter
-          This game is characterized by the viewpoint and weapons used in the title. In a first person shooter, you are looking down the barrel of a gun as though you yourself are holding the weapon. Likewise, as the term "shooter" implies, the game specifically uses guns and firearms.

Internet Requirements: High
-          Homefront features a high amount of internet requirement because the game's single player mode is extremely short. Instead, a large amount of focus was put into the internet-based multiplayer aspects of this title; meaning that the majority of gameplay is found online.

Story Summary: In Homefront, you take the role of Robert Jacobs, a former Marine helicopter pilot
living in a world of horror and war. The game tells the story of how over the course of the next 20 years, North Korea progressively rises to power and eventually attacks and invades the United States. You pick up from there, living in a Korean occupied U.S. where, while being dragged to an internment camp, are rescued by a resistance force who is rising up against the Korean aggressors. You proceed to join the Resistance and fight back to save the United States from its plight and expel the Korean occupants of your homeland.

Kid Safe: Low
-          Foul Language: High
o   Homefront features a high amount of foul language, primarily in the words "f*ck", "s*it", "motherf*cker", "p*ss", "b*tch", "d*mn", "d*ck", and "b*stard". These words are ever present throughout gameplay, ironically almost always stemming from the same foul-mouthed man, a character named Connor. While all characters cuss once in a while for understandable reasons (anger, frustration, etc), Connor tends to favor foul language for just about every other sentence; even going to the point in which he punctuates words with them (e.g. out-f*cking-standing).

-          Violence and Gore: Very High - Not Recommended for Children
o   Homefront features a very high amount of violence and gore. As the genre dictates (first-person shooter), the gameplay for this title is inherently violent and focuses on the usage of firearms and variety of other weapons to fight, maim, and kill others. Weapons used include knives, pistols, rifles, assault weapons, machine guns, grenades, tanks, and helicopters. Every time an individual is shot, blood is sprayed from the area and they will collapse once killed. Players who are injured will have their screen fill with red before they collapse and die. Both unarmed civilians and trained soldiers are killed.

o   While this may seem like pretty standard fair as far as first-person shooters go, the major problem is not the general gameplay but rather the imagery. Homefront features a massive amount of highly disturbing scenes of civilians being murdered throughout the games. One example includes a scene where you hear a mother trying to reassure her child and telling him not to look; only seconds later the mother and father are shot at point blank range by soldiers who coldly walk away, leaving the bodies lying on a street corner as a young boy, screaming and hysterical, tries to wake up his murdered parents. Another example is a scene where you come upon a mass-grave site where hundreds of murdered civilians are being dumped into large ditches with a bulldozer. Not only this, but after a firefight, you and your team are forced to hide inside the pit of dead citizens to avoid Korean reinforcements.
-          Sexually-Related Content: None
o   Homefront, to the best of our knowledge and abilities, does not feature any sexually-related content.

-          Use of Drugs and Alcohol: None
o   Homefront, to the best of our knowledge and abilities, does not feature any usage of drugs or alcohol.

Game Quality: Moderate
-          Graphics / Visuals: Moderate
o   Homefront features a moderate level of visual and graphical quality. To begin on a positive note, the firearms, assault vehicles, and overall level designs are very well done. Movements are quick and precise and the graphical models for the weapons and vehicles are both incredibly realistic. Likewise, the level design for both the single-player story mode and the online multiplayer mode is excellently crafted; sending the player running, fighting, and gunning through the derelict and destroyed streets of suburban United States. The work put into the overall concept is exceptional and really helps to drive the vision of a wartorn United States.

o   Coincidentally, while the general design and idea is well done, the visual delivery is not. For a game like Homefront, which is so heavily story and people driven, it tended to fail in the finer details. Some of the people you deal with are well-done, however the majority of the people that you will run into and talk are poorly done, reminding me more of animatronic-puppets rather than real people. They will go about whatever task they need to do, their mouth will bounce up and down, but most of the people just don't look realistic enough for a game trying to press gritty realism. Equally, the blood animations for individuals being shot and killed is laughably bad for a next generation title, consisting of blobs of red paint splashing in no real direction or manner.
-          Audio: High
o   If the graphics tend to fail a bit in their ability to drive home the emotion behind the story, the high level of audio quality certainly makes up for it. By far some of Homefront's strongest qualities are in its music and sound effects. The music that plays is wide and varied, covering everything from a soft, rolling tempo, a fast-paced, rock song, and tension building, orchestral pieces. Each piece of music is fit perfectly to the scene that you are playing through and really heightens the gameplay experience.

o   Sadly, music can only do so much to build tension and emotion. Luckily for Homefront, that's where their excellent sound effects come in. The sound effects in this title really help to make the world feel larger and the character a bit less significant in the overall scope. You can constantly hear people chattering here and there, hear announcements in the distance, hear people running or moving, and hear vehicles flying or driving by. Aside from this ambient noise, one thing that really shook me up and stuck with me to this moment is, to be frank, the sounds of horror. More than once you will hear the terrified screams of civilians as their world is shattered, as their lives are taken from them, as they are stripped of everything and left sobbing with nothing to comfort them. This might seem like a strange thing to praise, yet it is just how well done these effects are that make them stay with me.

o   However, despite these strengths, the major weakness in Homefront is, once again, the people interaction. Screams aside, the general dialogue is often poorly delivered by the majority of people that you speak with in this game. Most of the voice actors sound more like they are just reading off their lines so they can get paid and go home, showing almost no emotion and often providing emphasis in odd places. Several of the main characters and a large number of other nameless characters are all guilty of this fault.

-          Gameplay / Playability: Moderate
o   Homefront features a moderate level of gameplay and playability quality. To begin with playability, the game's design is extremely straight forward. It uses standardized controls that anyone who has played the majority of first-person shooters such as Call of Duty or Halo will recognize instantly. Likewise, whenever the title introduces new weaponry such as robotic drones or vehicle usage, the game will lead you through how to properly use it as well as keep a constant button-legend for you to reference.
The only problem that the game's playability suffers from is that it presumes the player HAS already played the other first-person shooters and makes a very weak attempt to introduce the standard gameplay controls. It quite literally has you in the middle of a firefight against an entire squad of Korean soldiers while it starts to explain how to move and fight.

o   No, it is in gameplay that Homefront really shines. Moving away from the regular formula of "run and gun", Homefront introduces larger, complex level designs, the usage of robotic assault drones, and vehicle usage. Players are able to pilot attack helicopters, humvees, and even tanks as they push through enemy lines. Likewise, they are able to hide from cover as they strike out with UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and robotic tanks. It is a welcome change.

o   Sadly, despite the wide range of gameplay options, it has all been done before. Homefront takes a note from almost every first-person shooter book, but does nothing to really excel at any of them. The gameplay is good, yes, but will quickly grow dull if you already tend to enjoy first-person shooters.
-          Dollar-Value: Moderate
o   Overall, Homefront has a moderate dollar-value. The story is good, the graphics are ok, the sound is great, and the gameplay is alright; sadly it just doesn't have enough to merit a full-price purchase. The single-player story is all of 4 hours long, one of the shortest games I have ever experienced and by far the shortest first-person shooter to date. The online multiplayer is well-made and fun, but quick stagnates due to a slow level progression and very few overall options. Sadly, there are very few firearms and vehicles to unlock and the number of gameplay modes for the online multiplayer is exceptionally small. To be frank, it feels unfinished; like it could have been good enough to rival even major blockbusters like Call of Duty or Battlefield had just a bit more time and effort been put into it.

-          If you are looking for a first-person shooter with less blood, death, and destruction, we recommend the Battlefield series, namely Battlefield 2 or Battlefield Bad Company, or the Halo series. If you are not bothered by the violence and are looking for a high quality shooter, we still recommend the Battlefield series but we also recommend taking a look at the Call of Duty series, namely Call of Duty Modern Warfare and Modern Warfare 2.

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