Homefront – OK but not great.

Picked up the game Homefront off Steam last week for $25 (50% off).  It’s a FPS with some vehicle control.  From the write of Red Dawn, you’re placed in a plot line where the US is occupied by a hostile united Korean force, the economy has crumbled, mass graves are filled with dead Americans – the plot and visuals are outstanding.  You’re a member of the resistance, fighting a guerilla war against the occupying forces.

Weapon selection is fairly standard for a modern military style FPS, normal gameplay is tough – my first round I went through on Easy just to complete it without pulling my hair out.

The game is plagued with bugs.  For starters, the graphics are entirely too glitchy.  Their FPS smoothing which is on by default cuts the frame rate and makes the presentation choppy as hell.  Forget about v-sync, that cuts the frame rate even further.  I was able to run the game at the highest detail levels at a decent frame rate once both settings were disabled.  The flow of the game is completely scripted – not unlike most games today, however the NPC’s are like walking roadblocks meaning you can’t walk through them and they will push you along if you get in front of them.

Also, should the path of the NPC be thrown off for any reason, the AI isn’t smart enough to move around obstructions and continue forward, it will simply run head long into a wall and keep running against it – the only way to push on is to suicide your player and start the scene over again.  A few times, this glitch actually caused the NPC to blow a mission by walking directly into an enemy squad instead of sneaking around them.

Other things, like locking zoom on the weapons was very frustrating.  Anyone whose played a Call of Duty title enjoys the ability to use right click to zoom in, and then zoom back out after releasing the button.  You’re forced to lock the zoom in this game, it can’t be toggled.  The single player mission is pretty short, and I’m not very big on multiplayer – so tie all of that together and I’m not even sure a 50% price cut will give a buggy game the edge it needs to make it a real contender.

THQ is responsible for some great titles such as the Red Faction series, but Homefront – despite the intentions and well constructed plot – suffers from a genuine lack of refinement.  Without the bugs, it would have been a really great game – not quite Modern Warfare or Medal of Honor, but a solid FPS.  Instead I paid $25 for a beta release – considering that the game has been out since March 2011 and uses the Unreal engine – there’s no reason that it couldn’t have been better refined by now.

How about a real game based directly on Red Dawn, mullets, mortars and FPS – that sounds like a real recipe for greatness.

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