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New South Wales, Australia
Game Developer, Composer & Gamer.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review #8: Homefront


Platform: PS3    
Type of controller: Controller   
Install time: Approx 3mins  

Game website: www.homefront-game.com    
Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homefront_(video_game) ----------------------------------------------------------------

Before i get into this review, i want to apologise for my absence as of late, i've moved house a couple of times in the last 6 months or so, and haven't really had a chance to sit down and properly review a game. I do have a hand written draft of a Bulletstorm review that should be up in the next few weeks.

My thoughts about the game;
Without spoiling too much, Homefront is one of those games that sounds really awesome on its premise but only delivers about half of what you would expect from it. Basically its the future, Korea invades the USA, and you play a USA resistance member fighting to gain control of this one area back. I enjoyed this game but only to the extent where i knew if i had on PC i would still be playing it. First person shooters on consoles are just too varied to gauge a decent one. Some are too easy, others too hard, some the controls are brilliant but the level design doesn't compliment it, others the controls are horrid but the story is so engaging it's hard to put down. I'm afraid Homefront takes a little from all of those negative points of FPS console games, and doesn't really make it worth the price tag they're asking for it.
This game crashed on me so much, even after patching it on PS3 that it got to the point where i had to be conscious of not going infront of the person that said "FOLLOW" above their head. Because once you do start getting infront of them, the game seems to have a hard time comprehending your logic and crashed spontaneously.
I was really looking forward to this game for the only reason that i really liked Kaos Studio's last title, Frontlines: Fuel of War, which for me was amazing because it was pretty much a Battlefield 2 clone in the Unreal 3 engine, with more gadgets and what not, but their marketing absolutely failed for that game and the online servers were a ghost town. Funny enough the opposite seems to be true for Homefront, even though the game is average, their marketing was much much better this time, but they lacked heavily on the originality of the game itself. There isn't much that stands out in Homefront, and i only stopped playing it a couple of days ago and i've already forgotten the characters names.

Developer standpoint;

The difficulty of this game is pretty solid, not too easy, not too hard... However there are some parts that are incredibly frustrating where i would of died at least 15 times before figuring out what/who/where i was being killed from. The visual damage indicator (the blood onscreen) is little to no help in identifying where someone is shooting you from. This caused me so many deaths that i eventually had to take out enemies slowly, one by one, and really turn the volume up on my surround sound to hear where they were coming from. Games that do this are frustrating because i like to play through games on easy first, then if i like the game, or if the game is more rewarding on higher difficulties, i'll crank it up a notch (BAM!), however games that frustrate me due to their sporadic difficulty when set on easy need to be playtested a bit more.

Animations and visual effects
All the animations and visual fx are pretty solid. I don't really have much to say about this, the only thing that i guess fits into this category is the lack of no-clip through ally AI. I know that's not realistic, but the amount of times the game glitched out because i stood somewhere i wasn't supposed to, and got stuck between an ally and a wall or bin or door or something was ridiculous.

Level design
Level design for the most part was excellent, except i couldn't help but feel that I'd played alot of this before, it really struck me as being very similar to the urban sections of Left 4 Dead in daylight... Which is fine and Homefront certainly did an awesome job of pretty much ripping off other games for most of the levels, so there's not really anything interesting to talk about here. [Slight Spoiler] The part where you have to lay down in a mass grave to escape capture was pretty original, although not much of a level design element, it sort of is, and flows nicely into a cutscene...

Sound design
The sound design is pretty awesome in Homefront, however again, nothing really interesting here, the voice acting was pretty dull, the weapon sounds and fx were pretty run of the mill. Didn't really expect much from this end of the game, and Homefront delivered perfectly on that expectation.

Story and character development
Now as i mentioned earlier, the premise of this game is really interesting, and quite possibly never been done before in a video game (haven't researched that fact so i could be wrong), but because of the nature of the premise, it's no surprise that you play as an American resistance member, and not the invading Korean army. I found it really difficult to feel for any of the characters in this game, they kind of just throw plot elements in your face and expect you to feel emotion for the characters, without actually building on their development very much. This really makes the story feel forced, and quite frankly boring considering the unique ideas that were put behind it. There is this one scene where one of the fellow resistance members is killed, and one of your Ally partners is crying and yelling "WHY?!?", but not even 2 minutes later that particular partner is up and carrying on like nothing happened. This is the sort of sloppy storytelling that is throughout this game, and the premise aside, makes is seem very generic.

Closing statement
This game was hyped up to be alot more than it is, just another generic military shooter. It does have Sci-Fi elements, but i wouldn't really call it a Sci-Fi shooter, simply because the Sci-Fi elements aren't really expanded upon, nor are they any real significance to the gameplay or how the game progresses. I still haven't finished the game but i doubt that in the second half of the game that it gets any more immersive or changes it tone, it actually feels quite monotone throughout the whole thing, and while there are some jaw dropping moments (Such as the bus ride and subsequently the bus crash), there aren't many other memorable moments or things that really make you go "wow". Overall this game is a good time killer, and if you're into B grade shooters then you will enjoy this, but for the most part, the fact this game was advertised as AAA title makes it even more bland.

Story: 4/10  
AI: 5/10
Sound: 5/10
Voice: 4/10    
Controls: 4.5/10    
Models: 5.5/10  
Level Design: 5/10  
Textures: 6/10  
Technical Complexity: 4/10    
Replayability: 3/10    

Total: 46/100

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