Homefront PC Review
Other, often hilarious flaws abound. Our personal favourite was when, in a level where we chased fuel tankers in a helicopter, we were ordered to fly our chopper through a small tunnel, rather than over the mountain. There was no reason for it, as the mountain was really more of a hill and we could easily see the tankers on the other side, but invisible walls stopped us taking any other route. Thankfully, the helicopter controls were simple enough for us to drift through in one unaided swoop.
Some of the problems thrown up by Homefront aren't so laughable, however. There's the paltry length of the singleplayer campaign for starters – it took us just over three hours to finish on Normal difficulty – as well as the checkpoints that insist on saving just before long conversations.
Our biggest gripe is still the shortness of the leash players on which players are kept though, with the obligatory stealth mission being an excellent example. Here, after you spend a few minutes dodging through enemies, you're ordered to cover the rest of the group with sniper fire while they mark targets for you. That's not totally damning in itself, but Connor then goes the extra distance and tells you when to shoot too, removing any agency or player involvement.
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There are only two features that hold Homefront together and help elevate it to the level of mediocrity. The first is the basic utility of the game – there may be a lot of waiting and jumping through hoops, but the games does at least work and, when you're shooting, it's quite fun. The gunplay and level design isn't very strong, but neither is it the worst we've seen – it hums along as nothing more or less than average.
To be clear, shooting people in Homefront is fun, it's just that there's far too much faffing around in between the violence and it's too regularly punctuated by linear, scripted events that add nothing to the action. Call in the armoured tank! Man the turret! Run after that truck!
The second redeeming feature is the multiplayer. Again, this isn't spectacular and often feels like nothing more than an updated version of Kaos' last shooter, the similarly mediocre Frontlines: Fuel of War
, but it's not terrible. There's a focus on large battlefields and vehicular combat, which provides a nice contrast from the singleplayer, even if it's never going to top the likes of Battlefield.
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Kaos has also introduced a variation of the usual Call of Duty level-up system too, where players earn Battle Points that can then be put towards unlocking upgrades of their choice. This means that you can just save up your points if you're desperate for a particularly powerful weapon. It's a nice variation on the norms of most multiplayer shooters, even if it isn't reason enough to play Homefront over any of the other games clogging the shelves.
Unfortunately, even with these quiet strengths acting as a crutch to Homefront's cripplingly average whole, we still find ourselves disappointed with THQ's answer to Call of Duty – which is clearly the purpose of Homefront. It's dreadfully average and far too quickly finished, providing nothing more than the most basic type of fun on the first run-through and little incentive to revisit. Not because it's broken; just because it's boring.