Homefront is a First Person Shooter that takes places in an alternate universe where North Korea has the power to not only take the fight to the US but to conquer it. We play as Robert Jacobs, a former pilot who is awakened to the sound of someone violently knocking on his door, demanding to be let in. Doing just that we are promptly stuffed in a bus and learn that it is headed toward a labor camp. As we cruise down the street we see Koreans shooting parents in front of their kids, massive roundups and indiscriminate murder. Luckily for us, we are “rescued” before we reach our destination by a pair of American resistance fighters who came up with a plan to rescue someone so absurd I’m surprised we survived the intro sequence.
Soon after we will be thrust into a massive fight to escape the scene alongside our two AI companions. There is nothing that differentiates the combat here from other popular shooters so if you have played an FPS in the last decade or so you’ll feel right at home. In an attempt to make you feel like a guerrilla fighter instead of a super soldier they don’t allow you to carry much ammo but simply swapping out to guns that enemies use circumvents that feature. Regardless of the weapon you use none will have recoil when shooting and will sound very non-threatening, making one simply go for whichever has the biggest clip since they all feel extremely similar.
The theme is that we are fighting a war we already lost but instead of fighting from the shadows it goes the Call of Duty route of having huge explosions and flashy scenarios where the good guys are unstoppable killing machines. It is nearly humorous that the most advanced thing the Koreans have is a glorified crane with a turret strapped to it while the supposed underdogs have an automated death machine at their command. While the Korean war crimes are slightly diluted by having a few people easily mowing down tons of their soldiers, it is still rather neat seeing familiar locations such as supermarkets or school yards become battered down war-zones.
We’ll rarely be fighting alone as we will typically be accompanied by a small squad of resistance fighters. All of the characters have their own unique quirks to them and are sufficiently interesting albeit useless in a fight. Their AI will miss nearly every shot they fire and enemies tend to ignore them all together, instead choosing to focus solely on you. Areas are very linear and closed off with little room to maneuver around so fights usually tend to play out like a game of whack a mole. That is not new to modern shooters but it is something to drive home the point that we never feel like the underdogs fighting a desperate battle in any situation.
Once you get that in your mind and think of this as a low budget Call of Duty clone with a bigger focus on characters it does grow on you. Your squad mates are useless but they do give the illusion that you are part of something. Heck, most of the game consists of us following our highest ranking member named Connor around to the point where it feels like we should start carrying his Gatorade around instead of a gun. Everything about this game is ridiculous but they are so dead-set on being grim and serious at all times which is a shame. As noted we play the role of a pilot and when we finally get to commandeer one it is a ton of fun.
Controlling the heliport has a very arcade feel to it and we have full control to descend, ascend or fly around granted we don’t get too far from our entourage. You will only use it once in the entire game sadly enough. The rest you will be on foot swapping between the sniper/technician/super solider roles. One rather annoying thing about controlling our character is his sprinting speed. Most people could quite easily walk faster than he can run, further causing most of the fights to be completely stationary. Grenades are the thing that forces you to sometimes move, though their radius is very small so taking a few steps back is enough to avoid their blast. On the flip side when you use it, enemies satisfyingly fly into the air with some cool body physics.
Homefront is nowhere near as bad as many make it out to be and has this certain B-movie charm to it. Unfortunately, the short length of the game absolutely harms this title. The campaign is a mere 3 hours long and ends just when you are getting into it. They try to pad it out by having these glowing collectible papers that explain the lore but they break the flow of the game so I personally didn’t bother. There is little reason to replay it and the multiplayer is dead, leaving you with just those three hours of mild enjoyment. It is no doubt a tough sell for any gamer. If for some reason you already have Homefront in your backlog it is worth a quick play-through though for anyone else, you can safely skip this title.