6 Reviews

Homefront PS3

Korea advice

Page 2 of 3

Yes, we know we have to 'take out that f'ing Sentry Tower'. You've only told us about ten times and marked it with a glowing red arrow! Occasionally, it's justified; mostly, it's completely unnecessary.

Levels are linear, objectives obvious; there's very little here that needs spelling out in such a cloying way. Ignore the yelling of your comrades for a second and you begin to appreciate how rich and detailed Homefront's world is.

There's an enormous amount of detail here, but you're constantly told to ignore it and just crack on. Odd decision, especially as the game won't last you longer than around five hours. Yes, five hours.

That short, short length of the main story may seem like a major sticking point, but it isn't as significant as you might fear. Homefront is relentlessly brutal and constantly puts you in new, unusual and memorable scenarios, varying the pace to keep things interesting.

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Sure, we were left wanting more at the end, but not because we felt that the story was lacking or that we hadn't been playing for long enough - we were just keen to keep playing.

Even poignant scenes, which are traditionally handled very poorly in games, resonate here thanks to excellent animations, good voice acting, and a canny ability to press the player's emotional buttons.

No spoilers, obviously, but when someone dies in Homefront you actually care about it, and when the game throws a 'big moment' at you it feels genuinely 'big'. That seems to be the lesson learnt from Half-Life 2, and while Homefront's campaign lacks Valve's subtle mastery of story-telling it does offer a more cerebral shooting experience than the majority of its FPS competitors.

The multi-player here, though, leans more towards Battlefield, but can't help occasionally stepping onto Black Ops' turf.

COMMAND AND CONQUER
Online, it's US army vs Korean army. No longer hamstrung by whatever guns and ammo you can scrounge off of the dead, you're free to play with all of Homefront's impressive toys. Well, once you've unlocked them.

The guns really come into their own in multiplayer, and when a match fills with the meaty sounds of SMGs and M4s it all feels as deadly as it should. Throw in drones, tanks, helicopters, APCs then counter that with perks and a fantastic selection of weapon load outs, and it becomes obvious Homefront's multi-player campaign will burn on longer than the solo outing.

The star of the show is Battle Commander, which comes as an addition to the standard death-match or objective capturing modes. Here each team has an AI Battle Commander, which assigns on-the-fly mini-objectives determined by how well either side is playing.

In English? If one of your enemies is on a kill-streak that player will be flagged up to certain members of your team as a gold dot on their radars. He's then a wanted man: the player who takes him down gets a big boost in Battle Points, and - let's face it - a huge inflation of their ego.

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It feels so good taking out a Wanted target, reminding us of the thrill of claiming an opponent's dog-tags in Battlefield. Multi player's other highlight is Battle Points, a system put in place to keep matches balanced.

Basically, every kill or objective completed rewards you with Battle Points, which you can then use to buy vehicles, drones or temporary perks. Stuff like tanks and helicopters cost megapoints and it can be frustrating to save up all game, finally purchase a bad-ass chopper, then see the 'match over' screen. Overall, though, it works well and games rarely feel one-sided.

BALANCING ACT
As a nod to COD you can also personalise your weapons, and the range of load-out options is pleasingly deep. Unlike COD, though, the kit you take into the fight makes a big difference - choppers, for example, are almost indestructible without Air Burst launchers - so some level of coordination between team mates is required.

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