“Homefront” by Mazer

Look, the other review I got for one game purchase! Let’s see if this game makes me want to play more than Metro did.

What I Expected:

From the couple of trailers I watched, it seemed like a fun game. The story premise is probably the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard, but it makes for a good background for the kind of game play they wanted. I’m expecting a little bit of COD mixed with a little bit of stealth; maybe. It’s a game where you play a resistance fighter in the good ‘ol US of A and they’ve said that you should really feel like one too. So the main thing I’m expecting is a great story draw-in like I had with Metro 2033, but with some less annoying game play.

What We Got:

We got a bunch of fluff that was pumped through a huge hype machine. The first thing I want to touch on is the criminally short single player: Bulletstorm’s single player was decently longer. This is a game that has been advertised as creating a great single player experience with its real environments and characters. I first had my doubts about it when I heard reports of the game being beat in 5 hours the week before the release date. The creators of the game made a statement that it would only be that short if you were really good at FPSs and that it would be longer if you weren’t as good. Somehow that was supposed to be a good thing? So the is just hard but not long? For the record, I was playing on Normal and beat it in under 4 hours so either I’m the greatest FPS player ever (hint: I’m not) or they really fell short on single player. The majority of this review was supposed to be about the single player because I didn’t even think about the game having a Multiplayer. Of course, the Creators used Multiplayer as an excuse for it’s short single player which is a valid excuse if you’re Battlefield: Bad Company 2 (didn’t even know there was a single player in that game) but not if no one cares about your Multiplayer.

Singleplayer:

The first thing that struck me as odd about the single player was the opposite feeling I had while playing it than what the Developers seemed to want me to feel. A big point in one of their videos was about ‘Massacre Fatigue’ and how they got rid of it. ‘Massacre Fatigue’, as defined by them, is a situation where you stop thinking of the things you are killing as human beings. Did they pull that off? No, not even in the slightest. I thought that they were going to have mostly stealth-type of missions with that ‘only fight if you have to’ mantra but instead they just have you kill 30+ guys and then let you take a sizable break afterwards. So, the story had some room to grow above just mindless killing but I still never felt like I was fighting anything more than faceless drones bent on trying to kill me.

The second thing that annoyed the hell out of me was the horrid forced emotion they tried to push on the player. The entire point of the game is to shove the player into an occupied America and make them feel as if they are really fighting this opposition. But they really just face-planted on that whole aspect. I found myself not caring at all about any of the stuff around me because it was so outlandish (the exception being our group stumbling on a mass grave being filled; that actually pulled some heart strings until I killed the 20th Korean in vengeance…). The story premise was already the dumbest thing ever, but add on to that some worse-than-Hitler/Stalin behavior and you get an environment that makes no sense. The occupying Koreans seemed to be randomly killing off citizens and forcing people into labor camps. None of this is ever explained: I have no clue why the labor camps even existed or what the Americans did when in them and the mass murders seemed to have no place. It wasn’t like they were systematically killing off specific people but instead just randomly killing thousands of their own citizens (America being an occupied territory). The only violence that made any kind of sense was the retaliatory strikes on the population whenever the Resistance did any thing.

So, your character and the band of rebels you joined do a series of missions in a Colorado town in order to secure some oil tankers for the American Military who are fighting in San Fransisco. Now, I didn’t actually know they were for the Military until we did the actual delivery so I was kind of just blindly following orders (in fact, I thought we were just going to blow them up). The final level is your group joining up with the Military and kicking all kinds of ass, which only fuels that ‘Massacre Fatigue’ that the Developers wanted to avoid. So you and your resistance cell were basically not even really needed since the American Military was still not only in full effect but also had the capacity to beat back the Korean Military. Oh ya, [SPOILER ALERT] pretty much every person you expect to die in the story does so; some crazy new story-telling there.[SPOILER ALERT]

The worst part of the story itself was the very last bit of the Singleplayer: there’s a radio broadcast coming in from England that’s talking about European Powers gathering their forces in order to help the United States fight back the Koreans. So my question to the story writers is this: where the hell was the military mobilization when North Korea annexed South Korea? Or when it attacked China? Also, how the hell did United Korea take on China in a full scale land war? That doesn’t even seem possible unless they have some sort of Super Power that makes their units invincible for a short amount of time (obvious Red Alert reference). And on top of all of that, why are the European Powers sending military support across the Atlantic when they could instead join up with Russia and attack United Korea itself thereby creating a two-pronged attack? It’s like everyone in the world went full retard before all this took place. Now, they did try to make it seem more plausible by making oil almost non-existent in the US but that still doesn’t explain why no one did anything when North Korea started it’s military push against other countries. The time line places the annexing and maybe even the Korea-China war before the oil crisis meaning that at least one first-world country could have assisted China. But really, the entire storyline falls apart when you have Korea taking over both China and then Japan: I’m sorry but there’s no way a tiny ass country like North Korea would pose even the tiniest threat to a behemoth like China. The Chinese would have just steam rolled over them during a lunch break thereby extending the People’s Republic of China slightly. In fact, if the story writers really wanted a plausible situation they should have just had China be the aggressor, that at least makes sense. An aside for all you budding game writers/designers, Russia and Korea aren’t a threat (either because they’re allies or they’re pathetic): if you want a real US vs someone war or WWIII then you want to use China; this is like Current State of Foreign Affairs 101 guys. Even better, go with a Russian/Chinese united front against the world; best current WWIII scenario yet.

Multiplayer:

So after beating the short single player game, I went straight over to the Multiplayer to see how magnificent it was. I think I actually laughed out loud when I joined the first game: both at the developers for making this game and at myself for buying it. I went for a Quick Match game and got into my first game in about 60 seconds. The game type was a territory-controlled game where you control different areas which give you points; the team which reaches some point value first wins. There were no other players. Let me repeat that, two days after this game came out there were no players playing Quick Matches. Not. A. Single. Person. I was literally alone, barely able to win in the time allotted to the map: double fail in my book. So I decided to host my own game to test out the other game types they have. I found four types: Team Deathmatch, that territory game I played, a larger/slower version of the territory game I played, and an exact copy of the larger/slower territory game I played. I almost want to think that this game was just a joke: three game types (of four) that are all basically the same? With two being literally the same thing? Oh and they have these neat little movies that play before each match that explain the game type. I was able to watch the first one but the second and third ones auto-skipped about 5 seconds in. I’m hoping it was just because I was hosting the map, but even so it would have been nice to have a full description of the game type I was playing… Ya, you heard that correctly, there was no description of the game type until you were actually playing it.

Conclusion:

This game is like COD and Battlefield, only worse in almost every way. A four hour single player with a craptastic story plus a horrid multiplayer doesn’t even make a mediocre FPS. I think even Black Ops’ single player was better than this entire game because at least you knew what you were getting into when you played it. This game added nothing to the genre and when it tried to it just ended up on the ground, face firmly planted into it. The forced emotional response of the single player is almost laughable and none of the characters were even remotely relatable. I found myself comparing this game’s story to Bulletstorm’s and found it lacking. My main gripe about this game is that every time the game seemed to get good, it instead feel flat on its face somehow getting worse.

Overall Rating

Stay clear of this game; if you’re looking for just any FPS, go with COD instead. If you still find the story interesting, and maybe wanting to see the failure that this game is, then I’d suggest renting it but short of that don’t even bother. Let’s just say I’m glad I got Metro 2033 with this game so I didn’t feel like I wasted the $50 on a crap game.

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