Hands On Preview: Homefront

What did we ever do to the North Koreans, eh?!

I’ve been looking forward to Homefront ever since I saw it at E3 in 2009. Along with Just Cause 2, the demo we saw showed a game with a mad sense of catastrophic glee, set in a refreshingly familiar world of suburban cul-de-sacs and department store carparks. Accompanied by a remotely controlled armoured vehicle, Goliath, it looked like it could be the buddy game of the century – just you and your indestructible rolling weapon machine. The narrative intrigued too, by seeming so ludicrous: by 2027 North Korea has invaded and occupied North America, with you playing as part of a group of rebels attempting to overthrow the new leaders. Now having played the first three levels of the game, it’s safe to say that all my expectations have been subverted.

See, it looks fantastic!

Let’s start with the premise. It does kind of make sense. It’s not quite the simplistic idea that N. Korea’s weeny army somehow overthrows the most powerful nation on Earth. Instead we see a surprisingly traumatic potted history of the events from 2011 to 2025 that lead to N.K.’s becoming a seriously huge world power. By the time they’re invading the States they’re already occupying swathes of Asia, and their merciless attack is enormous and horrendous. A particularly horrifying moment during the opening cutscene shows an unarmed mother and father sat against a wall and shot, immediately in front of their infant son. The toddler screams in terror, running to their dead bodies, tugging at his father’s clothing and wailing. There’s an emphasis on this being a brutal, shocking war.

Until you start playing. Which so far seems to offer disappointment. Homefront, against my optimistic expectations, appears to be another Modern Warfare clone. In the same way the disappointing Medal Of Honor was another Modern Warfare clone. Which is to say, the first three missions are about running around just behind the action, wondering if you really need to be there.

We’re deep in the American suburbs, which is such a stunning location for an FPS game. Beautifully realised, the real-world setting is actually our own real world (or more specifically, a resident of Colorado’s real world.) Houses, streets, playgrounds, carparks outside Hooters restaurants… There’s an odd mix of real-world commercial enterprises and the usual made up copies. In the first moments of the game you’re stood in front of a White Castle, which makes me want a burger. A burger I do not have. It’s mystifying that more games haven’t done this, and Homefront depicts it exceptionally well.

Mmmmm, burgers.

But the first three levels we’ve had access to ensure that you are always in last place. At points this becomes so pettily enforced that you start to feel like the hated kid in class, the one who gets pushed and barged out of the way, even by the nicer kids. If there’s a trapdoor to jump down, a passage to explore, or even doorway to walk through, your two NPC buddies will literally shove you aside to make sure they get through first. If there’s something cool to do, like throw a filing cabinet out of the way, then you just stand there and watch. Want to open a door? Learn your station, scumbag. And tragically, the same counts for cover.

The game has no cover system – it’s the old fashioned “hiding behind stuff”. But inevitably anywhere useful to crouch will be occupied by one of your companions. And unlike most other games of its ilk, they don’t find somewhere else if you try to take the same position. Instead they get territorial and push you back into the line of fire. Not that they’re taking advantage of their stolen tactical advantage. In this preview version at least, they will happily stand with their gun barrel touching an enemy’s head and not fire. The enemies are compliant, because they’re only interested in killing you and not your immortal chums.

This is about following a narrative with a fundamentalist fervour. Deviating from expectations leads to encountering invisible barriers, complete suspension of action, or rudely shouted instructions to hurry up. The screen inevitably is instructing you to “follow” someone, and never lead. Want to climb over a fence lower than the last thing you jumped? No can do – jumping such objects is scripted. Just follow the man, do what he tells you, clear up after their having fun. Manage to get ahead at any point and the others will visibly teleport in front of you, such is their determination that you’ll not have a moment of inspiration or imagination.

At one point toward the end of the third level this became completely farcical. We’d reached the top of some stairs to a door blocked by furniture. Only the other guy can move those, because of your character’s brittle bone disorder I think. But he won’t. Instead we’re all just stood up there, staring around. The woman (I’m sure they had names) then turns to face a wall, kneels down, and announces, “I can’t go any further.” Nor can I, because we’re all waiting for the script to finally catch up and radio us a message that gives us permission to open a door. So we wait.

The effect of all this is to reduce the game’s battery of set pieces to interactive cutscenes. Sure, it won’t end until you’ve shot enough Koreans in the head, but they’ll run in from the same place each time. Two from behind that container on the right, then that bit of scenery crashes down, the guy runs across on fire, and there’s two more hiding around the corner to the left. The reason you’ll see it enough times to learn the script will either be thanks to sheer bad luck – a grenade landing too near you with your companions blocking your escape, a rocket being fired from a helicopter directly at your face, or quite often seemingly being shot around a corner due to the cover not being based on line-of-sight – or because something somewhere explodes for some reason. I’ve not been able to figure out what causes that, although I suspect it’s going too far ahead. A section of one warehouse exploded each time I followed my buddies through, until the time it didn’t. And with checkpoints rather than quicksave, things repeat.

Which is all a massive shame, as it can look spectacular. The world crashing down around you, helicopters blowing up vehicles, and phosphorous weapons setting everyone on fire. But it’s hard to see anything but the green streaming numbers of the matrix behind it all. Your job: headshots. The end.

What should really have rescued everything for this early glimpse of the game was the Goliath. A surprisingly small tank-car-thing for its name, it’s remotely controlled by some mysterious force, and eagerly charges about like a frantic, metal puppy. It fires its machine gun at the enemies it sees, but otherwise just scampers about. However, you can issue it commands by looking through a special scope and locking onto targets. Click the mouse and Goliath unleashes a barrage of missiles – a most entertaining display of force.

But Goliath was always going to be difficult to manage. Such a weapon in a game is obviously massively powerful, so in order to maintain challenge the game opts for just constantly disabling it. During the very few occasions when it appears from nowhere for you to play with, you’ll also get Koreans with EMP weapons putting it out of action. So it ends up being of such limited, occasional use, and so haphazardly involved, that at least in the early stages of the game the exciting potential is not realised. Hopefully that’s something that changes as the game goes on.

Goliath inaction.

There’s only two more weeks before the game is released, so it’s not too likely that many of the frustrations will be fixed in time. Perhaps an early patch will recover a lot of the potential for what really should be a thrilling real-world-set action game. But unfortunately the impression is that the core of the game is that you’re to be in last place, huffing and puffing along behind the others (on too many occasions the game forces you to walk at a pace so slowly old grannies would be yelling at you to get a move on, while allowing your NPC’s to run ahead), wondering exactly why they brought you along in the first place. “Oh, that’s John Walker. They said we had to take him. Um, give him Goliath’s controls? It’s pretty much automated anyway – it’ll let him think he’s involved.”

In the end it offers quite the opposite of my expectations. The footage I’d seen nearly two years ago had given the impression of being in a real-world playground (sometimes literally), where I could employ my Goliath buddy to execute imaginative warfare in the suburban streets of America. But what I’ve played so far has been a claustrophobically restrictive corridor shooter in which I felt barely involved. There’s every chance this is just a slow beginning, and things pick up dramatically. Goodness knows, THQ have a lot of confidence in the game, already talking about sequels. I hope they’ve good reason for this. And you know what? I’m convinced by the plot. North Korea reunites with the South, nation exists in peace, US troops withdraw, US economy completely collapses and descends into civil war, UN dissolves, the Greater Korean Republic takes over a weakened Japan, America suffers an epidemic disease, Korea launches trojan horse satellites that wipe out US electricity, and then WAR! With lots else besides.

I wasn’t expecting either.

Oh, and what on Earth is wrong with this baby?


  1. Torgen says:


    Though, I have to say, I’m not surprised.

  2. Vinsanity says:

    I think I’ll reserve my judgement for this game until the demo comes out. I’ve enjoyed KAOS’s games so far but if this just ends up being a COD clone as you say it does, I’ll probably skip it. That being said I give mad props to the people who came up with this wacky scenario.

  3. Tinus says:

    That last screenshot must be a reference to Dejobaan, or something.

  4. Njordsk says:

    “one less to worry about”

  5. Tengil says:

    That story doesn’t sound very convincing on any level.

    • Bhazor says:

      Yeah, North and South Korea uniting is like Israel and Iran uniting, they really don’t like each other is what I’m saying. Also if there was an economic collapse how on earth does Korea come out on top? I mean in the 90s they had a famine that killed off at least a million people. This is not a sign of a strong internal infrastructure people.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Actually I’d say it’s more like East and West Germany reuniting.

      Iran and Isreal are much more “mentally” separated, being religious differences (i.e. not something you could boil down into economics or political ideologies). If North Korea rulership collapses, or has a rebellion, etc, I don’t think South Koreans would not become more open to rejoining to two countries.

      As for the story… anyone invading America seems a bit far fetched.

    • Joshua says:

      North Korea is probably the new China.

    • Danarchist says:

      Well Glenn Beck says were already being invaded! It’s happening every day! Stock up on food and ammo, dig a bunker under your house, and most importantly…buy his new book so you can be prepared!

      On the other hand I live in one of the most hippy-ish, earth mother, tofu loving cities in the country and even I am surrounded by heavily armed guys that daydream of fighting off an invasion like most people daydream of getting some quality time with Summer Glau

    • Nalano says:

      I’m just struggling with the idea that a country with 25 million people and no economy to speak of can invade a country with 300 million which just so happens to be the richest in the world.

      But then, I’m also sure that making China the antagonist would just make China IRL mad, which is kinda funny and more than a little ironic, now that I think of it.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Israel and… Iran? Are you sure you didn’t mean Palestine?

    • ZenArcade says:

      The problem I had with the story is it sounds irresponsibly xenophobic (in a way?) in that it proffers the myth that North Korea want to destroy us all which as John pointed out is simply not possible with their little army.

      I suppose it kind of plays up to the fear that Americans have of North Korea and I personally find it a little bit irresponsible to do so. North Korea are under control of an incredibly punishing system, something out of 1984, their leaders are wacky, but I honestly think having stories like this just harms our relationship with them, or at least our chances at having some kind of dialogue with them. I understand part of the problem also lays on NK’s leaders, but come on, this doesn’t help.

      Most people with brains will know this story is just crazy conservative rhetoric but a lot of other people will actually just pay attention to it to (we call those people idiots in the UK)

      I’m over-analyzing, I know, but I do think games should have a duty to represent things in a more morally grey, intelligent manner instead of reverting to silly scare mongering like this.

    • Nalano says:

      How do you do morally gray and intelligent in a shooter? In a shooter, you largely solve problems by… shooting them.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Yeah, it sounds like they’re jumping through some pretty difficult-to-swallow hoops just so Fu Manchu and the yellow devil can provide a bogeyman to fight. I hope no-one actually buys that the DPRK could really pull off this bullshit.

    • ZenArcade says:

      @Nalano – through storyline buddy. It’s a little limiting of you to actually believe you can’t do moral greyness in shooters – I think it’s absolutely possible. Just because there’s moral greyness doesn’t mean there’ll be no shooting to do.

    • Archvonbaron says:

      North Korea has one of the largest armies in the world, around 3million men indoctrinated to die for their country, it also has alot of very well dug-in artillery pointing at Seoul (South Korea’s capital).

      If the US has to withdraw their support to South Korea the South Korean government would surrender because the alternative is having Seoul destroyed in a matter of days, long before they could destroy every battery the North has and the numbers are against them big time. North Korea doesn’t care about the individual they will conscipt anyone then need, maybe give them a weapon and tell them to attack south, many would be killed but the South would lose without US aid.

    • Nalano says:

      No, but it’s difficult to do morally gray, Zen Arcade, when all you do is shoot people. We don’t need any more of those CoDMW2 moments.

      And as pointed out elsewhere, Archvonbaron, size doesn’t mean squat if your army’s underpaid, underfed, underarmed, largely conscripted and have no logistics to speak of. They’re basically walking targets for the next A10 to pass by.

    • Anonymous Coward says:


      And as pointed out elsewhere, Nalano, your army being well paid, overfed, overerarmed, with soldiers lured into joining the army by the promise to receive education they else couldn’t afford and the best logistics in the world don’t mean squat as the americans have proudly proven every day since they started that fucking war in irak.

  6. MrMud says:

    Welcome to the new world order of poorly made MW2 imitations.

  7. SirKicksalot says:

    I’ll buy it cheap during one of THQ’s superb Steam sales. I’ll buy it because John Milius writes it.

    But I think the multiplayer will be the game’s strong point.

  8. KikYu0 says:

    just the massive promotion make us talk about…
    not worth the words.

  9. Muzman says:

    But can you spraypaint ‘WOLVERINES!’ on the overpass?

  10. Consumatopia says:

    I’m convinced by the plot. North Korea reunites with the South, nation exists in peace…

    This is where you should stop being convinced. Not that the Korea could never be united, but that it could be united and peaceful under terms that leave the North seemingly running the whole peninsula. Two years from now. This has about the same probability as America electing Hugo Chavez president.

    • qrter says:

      I’ve only read the Wiki timeline, which is concise to say the least, and I would hope the game goes into a bit more detail, but even that doesn’t sound very convincing.. I mean:

      2012: Kim Jong-il passes away, he is succeeded by his son Kim Jong-un.
      2013: Kim Jong-un is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and featured on the cover of Time magazine for his accomplishment of Korean reunification.
      2014: American military withdraws from the Korean Peninsula. General Motors declares bankruptcy for the second time.

      Wait, what? Within one (1) year of his father dying, Jong-un not only reunites the Koreas, it also still falls under what basically is North-Korean control..?

    • Bhazor says:

      Apart from anything else South Korea is far far stronger as a country. Much better quality of life, far better foreign relations with the West, around the 15th strongest economy in the world and a population twice the size of North Korea. If and when they unite there is no way North Korea would lead and thats not even going into diplomatic pressure against the North leading the South.

    • kwyjibo says:

      lol – 2014: General Motors declares bankruptcy for the second time.

      Fuck you American cars.

    • clragon says:

      “2014: General Motors declares bankruptcy for the second time.”

      This is the only believable part of this timeline :D


    • Tacroy says:

      Anyone who thinks that North Korea, as a country, is in any sort of good health should take a moment to watch the Vice Guide to North Korea. It is, in almost every sense, a sick place.

    • anonymousity says:

      Also of note, south korea has a highly subsidised economy that only appears strong because of the huge amount of american support they get, many prominent economists have criticised it.

    • drewski says:

      @ anonymousity – that was certainly true in the 1960s, but as far as I’m aware economic assistance to South Korea from the US hasn’t existed for decades. Unless you want to count IMF loans, which you shouldn’t, given they’re available to any nation experiencing temporary economic distress.

      Unless you have actual evidence to contradict that, rather than a vague appeal to unidentified economists.

  11. mkultra says:

    I was looking foward to this. Oh, wait, no I wasn’t.

  12. kwyjibo says:

    People don’t buy multiplayer only shooters at retail prices unless there’s a single player element attached.

    It’s the Desert Combat guys, I’m sure the multiplayer will be fantastic. But without a strong singleplayer game, which means a strong metacritic score, it’s going to be difficult for the multiplayer to pick up traction. Their last game, Frontlines, suffered for the same reason.

    I do think that the Homefront setting will play a lot better to the American audience. I mean, it’s just depicting the future that Obama is building, right? Freedom for the South!

    • Kotua says:

      Sadly, I’d say it’s the opposite. I mean look at Call of Duty. Their singleplayer hasn’t been that good in a while, but people don’t buy it for that. and having a good singleplayer didn’t help Vanquish or Mirror’s Edge.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      Well, your own source indicates their army is smaller than the US.

      Also, their equipment, navy and aircraft are, for the most part, very old – according to wikipedia at least.

      I did hear a rumour that the original intention was to use China, rather than NK, as the aggressors. That would have made more sense (as far as games tend to make sense).

    • Bhazor says:

      Except that is with North Korea having 5% of it’s entire population in the army with America having around 0.3% of it’s population. If the US reached a stage of real war (drafting say 20% of the Population) America would outnumber the NATION of Korea by about three to one.

    • Capon says:

      Active duty soldiers does not = effectivness.

      – N. Korea suffers from a massive gap of firepower per unit ratio.

      – N. Korea’s infrastructured is permantenly damaged, and can’t compete on a rising scale basis as S. Korea or China. No effective logistics = no timely reinforcments or supply runs

      – N. Korea has some deeply idiotic basis of policy implimentation. Ex. Their currency exchange rate was pegged to the US dollor is based on Kim Jong-il’s birthday.

      – Massive famine in N. Korea; Average Korean is malnurished, 37% is chronically malnurished, and the average N. Korean is 10 cm shorter then the average S. Korean ( 8 cm shorter then the average Chinese citizen)

    • mlaskus says:

      I made absolutely no comment about it’s effectiveness, only pointed out it’s size – it is not weeny.

    • Capon says:

      Fine, I concede to your point that N. Korea has more people in active duty then say USA.

      See it from my point:

      N. Korea is the merienge cookie of militaries: looks impressive, large, even a little bit carmalized on top. Still essentially empty and has little mass.

      Most Western militaries, which I’ll include S. Korea and Japan, are the Nanimo bar of militaries. Small, sleek, and unitimidating. That’s till you’re halfway done eating it, and you’re ready to call of supper already from a massive sugar/fat overload.

      Point is…. I want a nanimo bar.

    • theleif says:

      At the time of the first gulf war, Iraq had the worlds 7:th largest army. I think this is one of those occasions where size don’t matter.

    • drewski says:

      In the Homefront storyline though, from I what I can gather, there is no “US Army” – the US having been essentially destroyed by economic collapse, plague and civil war.

      Given in the story Korea has taken over the industrial powerhouse of Japan, not to mention the industrial strength of South Korea, it’s not necessarily *that* inconceivable that in 15 years, a rapidly arming Korea could be a threat to a disintegrated North America.

      Unlikely? Sure. Impossible, in the particularly convoluted timeline of Homefront? No.

  13. kalidanthepalidan says:

    This game is lies…we don’t have White Castles in Colorado.

    • jonfitt says:

      By 2025 you will have both White Castle and In-N-Out.

    • mkultra says:

      Should be a Chick-Fil-A, you’re right.

    • kalidanthepalidan says:


      I have seen the future and it does not envolve White Castle.

      Actually forget North Korea… that should be the premise of this game. Burger company from the west clashes with burger company from the east in Colorado. A bloody turf war ensues. Rebels fight both burger empires to ensure Chick-Fil-A is the region’s fastfood chain.

    • The Innocent says:

      We here in Utah now have In-N-Out!

  14. Jad says:

    See, I actually like the COD single player style. It does get tedious at times, and I certainly would not want every game to ape that style (which unfortunately seems to be the case nowadays), and given a choice between, say, another Stalker and another COD I’ll take the former. But still, I do enjoy a bit of guided shooting-gallery gameplay every once in a while. So I was intrigued by this game.

    However, it sounds like they’ve done something worse than making a COD-clone: they’ve made a bad COD-clone. In COD games your teammates are always unimportant, and they know that — as you note, they will move out of your way when you try to take cover. I also feel that Infinity Ward does a good job playtesting so that you’ll never be able to outrun your buddies so that you’ll have to wait for them to catch up to scriptedly open a door — they’ll already be there. Although I’m not sure about that last point, there may be some moments I’m not remembering.

    Anyway, if it turns out that the game genuinely does something different later on in the game I’ll still be interested, but if it is a COD-clone all the way through, I will need more feedback from people who actually liked COD SP on whether it even succeeds at that.

  15. jonfitt says:

    Oh dear.

  16. Cryo says:

    Tip to devs: Red Dawn was already stupid enough when it came out. And it wasn’t as stupid as this.

  17. royaltyinexile says:

    Excellent preview, lots of cogent points (well… aside from your fawning over the ‘plot’).
    I was quite intrigued by the aesthetic, even if it’s somewhat vaguely reminiscent (read: embodiment) of Z.P.’s Yahtzee’s uncomfortable American-virgin-wanting-to-be-taken-get-it-over-with-already metaphor (BLOPS review).

  18. Heliosicle says:

    I wish the current fad of having AI control most of the game for you would go away, sure it makes it more accessible – because you aren’t actually doing anything. Its just a cheap shortcut out of giving you a way to control what happens. Another one is having explosions that slow your look speed to give you the impression of being stunned why an AI companion drags you away.

    Oh and the preview I read of the game before had me excited because of the open world aspect John described at the end of the article, since its become a CoD clone I’m not particularly interested anymore.

  19. Tei says:

    * this is the sound of me removing Homefront from wanted list in steam*

    Well… is sad. Only one thing can save this one, a revolutionary multiplayer mode with a free demo (or open beta if is already finished).

    Also, I can smell from here that this game will have a some pesky bugs.

  20. royaltyinexile says:

    Despite a US civil war being vaguely more interesting (realistic?) I’d say that would be far too unpalatable for US publishers.

    Shootin’ gooks? Sure: funkin’ go-nuts! US vs US.. well that’s just.. that’s.. uh, what’s a federal version of treason?

    Bulletstorm is one thing for the media to choke on.. although.. wait a second.. perhaps if the monsters were instead Democrats…?

  21. Dreamhacker says:

    You lost me at MW clone :|

    I had hoped Trauma/Kaos would have gotten their stuff together after the meh-mess that was Frontlines: Fuel of War. Sadly, it seems they’re sticking to their flawed development model… but why do publishers keep giving them money?

  22. RDG says:

    “I don’t get the fuss about Homefront. It looks like an expansion for MW2. All of the animations are the same, the explosion and smoke effects, hell, even the effect you get when you get hit are identical. I don’t get how the hell this is not the same game. Even the storyline has similarities to MW2′s Russian invasion part.”

    – Me, January 6 2011.

    To reiterate.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      This. This. THIS.

    • RDG says:

      I mean. Seriously.

      link to youtube.com
      Literally the ONLY difference is you’re shooting “gooks” instead of Russians and the Goliath can move freely where the Stryker can’t.

      (Also, I just noticed they changed most of the animations in the newer gameplay videos to where it doesn’t look like an 1:1 MW2 clone. They managed to screw them up, though. Probably would have been better to stick with the MW2 version as they are going to get the “MW2 clone” brand anyway. You used to steer the goliath using a laser pointer on your rifle, which they literally stole from MW2’s Stryker, now you use some sort of bino.)

    • drewski says:

      This. Thought it then, think it now. Just don’t get the hype.

  23. DXN says:

    The storyline sounds like Glenn Beck’s worst nightmare. (Or wet dream. Or wet nightmare.)

    • Bhazor says:

      Have you seen Beck get worked up about a conspiracy? I swear he’s got a semi throughout this whole video.

  24. Cronstintein says:

    The only thing that puzzles me on this page is why so many people are assuming the multiplayer will be awesome? Did I miss something?

    • Ricc says:

      Part of the dev-team worked on the BF1942 mod Desert Combat and later did Frontlines: Fuel of War. Homefront’s multiplayer looks like it’s going to be somewhat similar to those. Could go either way.

  25. Angryinternetman says:

    Gun ownership is defended in USA by telling that the guns are there against the government, should it turn evil.

    Now theres a premise for a great science fiction. Government turning against their people.

    • Capon says:

      Original game idea: Let the player BE the governement trying to make the armed public submit to rule. I’d play that game before taking on anouther boring man-shoot.

    • Navagon says:

      @ Capon

      Then play Tropico 3. Problem solved.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      That’s not science fiction. Just look at Libya. :(

    • Capon says:

      @ Navagon

      W00t, completely forgot that game existed. Going to give it a whirl.

  26. Navagon says:

    I saw that coming, to be honest with you. I don’t mind corridor shooters, but I’m not so retarded as to need my hand held as I follow the designated route, manshooting.

  27. Jake says:

    I think the story makes more sense if you remember that in this timeline the Koreans have invented psychics and giant attack squids.

    • Navagon says:

      Whereas back in the real world we all know that giant attack squids invented Kim Jong-Il.

  28. Navagon says:

    “although.. wait a second.. perhaps if the monsters were instead Democrats…?”

    Then Fox News would declare gaming to be mankind’s salvation and sole possible means of entering heaven.

  29. Ysellian says:

    This story would’ve been better with Iran attacking Greece. You know like back in the old day, but this time WITH GUNS!

    Sorry felt like throwing it out there. At least I feel it makes more sense than this garbage of a story. Seriously Crysis suffers from it as well, it doesn’t hurt to get yourself a good writer.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      I’m not sure a good writer would help much if the briefing is ‘Right, the US is getting invaded and it can’t be China – go write something’.

  30. Jamison Dance says:

    I am hoping the multiplayer will be good. The battlefield commander idea sounds pretty interesting. Killstreaks to reward people for doing well, along with making those hotshots higher-priority targets.

  31. sqrrl101 says:

    Saw a Facebook advert for this saying something like “Forget Human Revolution, Homefront is 2011’s awesome thinking person’s shooter”. Sounds like that wasn’t exactly accurate – I’ll wait for Deus Ex to come out.

  32. szlevi says:


  33. Gabbo says:

    So John, do the few levels you had time with beat the drum of jingoism as much as the plot and all previous preview materials would lead me to believe? The game never really piqued my interest to be honest, other than for the plot, depending on how it handled its premise.

  34. Jason Lefkowitz says:

    Despite a US civil war being vaguely more interesting (realistic?) I’d say that would be far too unpalatable for US publishers.

    Probably, alas.

    Though you know what would make a great game along those lines? A game based on the legendary John Titor, time traveler message board troll.

    To wit: America dissolves into regional civil war, some of the regions get drawn into a global nuclear conflict, society breaks down, a small cadre of surviving scientists sends the player back in time… but not to stop the war, just to retrieve a key bit of technology they need to survive.

    Great possibilities for a stealth-based FPS in two acts: first, the retrieval of the key tech; and second, the player taking a detour into the past of his own family to retrieve family photos and memorabilia lost in the war. You could even have a minigame of planting clues about the upcoming catastrophe in the past, the way the Titor character popped up on message boards, trying to warn the people of the past without throwing history completely out of whack.

    Or, failing that, we could just get another homoerotic manshoot, I suppose! Hooray!

  35. daphne says:

    Not surprised. This game, at least in its marketing, looked to take itself so seriously that anything less than a MW clone in execution would have been unusual.

  36. Shakermaker says:

    Please let the multiplayer be good. I need something new besides BC2 and TF2 to satisfy my manshoot needs until BF3 comes out, and I don’t have the patience to wait for Brink.

    • Rymosrac says:

      I’ve all but given up on BF3 for glorious manshoots for the PC Master Race. Kaos is visibly making FAR more concessions for PC in Homefront at this stage than DICE seems to be doing for BF3.

  37. SavageD says:

    Am I the only one who’s brain always defaults to ‘Mechwarrior 2’ when he sees MW2 written? Am I?

  38. SLeigher says:

    Someone mentioned it earlier and now i am just very sad that this game is not the brilliant fun that fighting a civil war in America could have been. American vs American would have made a much more interesting story and the publicity leading up to the game’s release would have been incredible to watch. It’d be interesting to see some outraged republican go up and be asked ‘how this is any different from call of duty’ and watch them reply ‘but this is americans being killed not arabs/russians’

  39. negativedge says:

    ain’t no White Castle in Colorado

  40. dr.castle says:

    I think it’s clear that this is what the average gamer wants. I mean, Medal of Honor executed the formula pretty poorly (compared to say MW2), yet sold a boatload of copies. It’s a shame, but it’s not surprising.

    I do have to say, though, that these types of games have their place for me–I find them quite enjoyable when I’ve been smoking weed. The combination of extreme signposting, predictable mechanics, and lavish graphics/over the top set pieces seems made for stoners.

    • drewski says:

      One can only hope that linear, overscripted blockbuster manshoots wear out their welcome in the same way music peripheral games have.

  41. Hutare says:

    I hate how they (and most other people who don’t like the game) call it “another Modern Warfare clone,” and that they copied MW2’s levels in America and made it into a full game. This game was first revealed to the public at E3 2009 if I’m not mistaken, when MW2 was released in the fall of 2009, so unless someone hacked into Infinity Ward’s computers they couldn’t have known about the levels in America from MW2 unless there were trailers about those three of the nineteen levels.
    Also they complain about the enemies always doing the same thing. They are like that in Black Ops, except they don’t keep running out. They run from one cover to a second piece, then stand there either in the open or half ways out of cover constantly shooting and re-loading until you finally shoot them with one – three bullets, then they die.
    You can’t jump over small objects and friendly AI’s teleport because the game isn’t finished yet. That happened to me all the time in the first week of playing Halo Reach, the AI’s would get stuck then later teleport to me. And for always following people, you’re a soldier not the leader, what do you expect? The Private in the military leading the squad into battle telling them what to do?
    They complain about only being able to get headshots, in real life if I’m shooting at you from behind cover, the odds are that all you will see are my head and gun because that’s all I need to see and shoot you.
    In a real life situation you would probably have to manually control Goliath’s missiles because otherwise it might target you and your team mates.

    • drewski says:

      Yes, Homefront does all the things that sucked about Black Ops and Modern Warfare 2…

      I guess the difference between Reach’s teleported friendlies and Homefront’s teleporting friendlies is that the Reach guys teleport so they can tell you the story, not to stop you from experiencing it.

  42. The Pink Ninja says:

    I’m kind of glad it seems so sucky. The insanely dumb concept behind the game would ruin it for me even if the actual gameplay was really good.

    Since the gameplay is sucky as well I feel comfortable forgetting it exists. Doubt I’ll even touch it in a Steam sale.

  43. dhex says:

    an american (modern) civil war fps would be kinda neat.

    hell a regular civil war fps would be ok, though probably kinda boring.

    i had such hopes for homefront, if only because the concept was so stupid.

    the baby is probably just swaddled too tight. or possibly a north korean agent in disguise?

  44. DOLBYdigital says:

    I watched a video of the first level or so and noticed similar issues. Even the guy demoing was obviously ‘staying with the script’ while trying to talk about the freedom you have.

    Its a shame since it does give me a similar vibe as HL2, in that you are a part of the underdogs, the enemy has more manpower, more guns and the upper hand. I like that feeling a lot in contrast to the super hero shooter guy that many games have you play. I also really liked the idea of playing in a suburb, shooting out of tree houses and storming houses and stores. However I will have to wait longer for a game that has all that and is actually semi-open…. maybe HL3? :)

  45. mda says:

    The baby’s in a bag… that’s what.

    It’s in the bag, baby!

  46. Radiant says:

    2012: Kim Jong-il passes away, he is succeeded by his son Kim Jong-not il.

    What a missed opportunity.
    Damn Commies.

  47. drewski says:

    The whole American civil war storyline would be great for a manshoot.

    “Two factions fight for control of the world’s greatest fallen superpower. As a genetically engineered nanoagent, you have the power to help or hinder either side. But a wealthy, sinister force from the Middle East manipulates from the shadows, trying to ensure the US stays crippled, for their own (possibly) nefarious purposes. When you, SuperAgent, find yourself with the keys to the old United States’ dormant nuclear arsenal, you have the power to decide the fate of the world…”

  48. drewski says:

    Every generic linear manshoot released means we’re one generic linear manshoot closed to everyone getting bored of the same old garbage.


  49. wengart says:

    I feel like Crysis’ N. Koreans were not that absurd as long as you ignore the Crysis suited fellows.

    • The Pink Ninja says:

      The difference was NK was launching a small overseas expeditionary force to take over a small, uninhabited pacific island. Lots of smaller, weaker countries could do that.

      Whole different kettle of fish to assault the mainland USA.