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40 Reviews

Homefront

Mourn in the USA

[CVG's Homefront review is based on the Xbox 360 version]

Follow Connor. Follow Conner. Every five minutes with the Follow Connor.

Homefront houses an assortment of attention-grabbing treats - from stirringly evil antagonists to the fiery splendour of a phosphorous downpour; heartbreakingly childish reminders of your domiciliary surroundings to the bullet spray of Sentry towers that test every morsel of your flanking smarts.

But far too much of your time is taken up staring at Connor, being barked at by Connor and, naturally, following Connor. It's more than a little annoying - because quite frankly, Connor is a massive pillock. By the end of Homefront's compact campaign, you're likely to end up hating him almost as much as your conscience-free Commie enemy.

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Connor's crimes include an irritating adoration for "motherf*cker", which rather loses its impact when employed as punctuation. You're a "motherf*cker", the enemy's a "motherf*cker", obstacles are "motherf*ckers", physical pain is a "motherf*cker" and so on. (It doesn't help that he's almost certainly a stranger to a cotton bud - at least a waxy aural build-up would explain why he only has one volume setting.)

But his most imbecilic quality is much worse - a consistently infuriating habit of hogging cover. Not only does he steal your best tactical spots to shield from the enemy, he's also very hard to budge. You're often left performing a lifesaving Riverdance in the middle of vicious firefights, as bullets whiz past your ears and grenades are dolloped around your feet. Trust us; in most cases, you'll do better not to 'Follow Connor', and to follow your instincts instead.

Homefront review:FRAG LOT OF GOOD

There also exists the irritation that Connor - much like fellow freedom fighting ally Rianna - is pretty damn useless on the battlefield. He remains oblivious to and unharmed by ticking explosives, occasionally even instructing you to walk right on top of them. In addition, his bullets would struggle to crack porcelain and he's a complete stranger to tossing a frag.

You're supposed to bond with this pair, but between the belligerent, strategically incompetent Connor and lifeless, undefined Rianna, very little team spirit ensues; kind of a bummer during a national Resistance movement which relies heavily on compatriotism.

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So it's testament to the heart-thumping rollercoaster of Homefront's single-player experience that, despite his best efforts, Connor can't ruin proceedings. There is much to be applauded in terms of spectacle and cinematic 'moments', but let's do the basics first: Kaos has got one thing spot on with Homefront that experience tells us is no easy feat in an FPS - a rewarding, involving narrative progression.

Okay, so the premise is very far-fetched. The rise of a United Korea, the powerlessness of a fuel-deficient US, the successful EMP blast which knocks out Uncle Sam's defences and the eventual occupation of the Land Of The Free; it's tough to swallow at first. But in a genre where worlds based on grotesque teleporting aliens and faceless interstellar plasma gunners are acclaimed as 'intelligent', a little suspension of disbelief goes a long way. And Homefront's is perhaps the realest unreal dystopia the FPS has ever seen.

The enemy, for one, are the most disgusting, savage scumbags you could imagine. Within five minutes of the campaign's opening moments - where you're bloodied, beaten and corralled onto a bus, then forced to witness the sustained slaughter of innocents mere metres from your window - you despise the Korean People's Army from your intestines upwards.

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