From the mind of John Milius and the development studio Kaos comes Homefront, an alternative look at war on our shores, rather than the enemies.

Opening with a horrifying video of global chaos, THQ gives us another war-torn alternative take on our future. Written by John Milius (co-wrote Red Dawn and Apocalypse Now) Homefront is a bleak look at our world under the stress of fuel shortages and international turmoil. However, instead of North America being involved with overseas skirmishes, America is at war, attacked on their own soil by the newly formed, Korean People's Army (KPA.) It's unsettling subject matter to explore, but one that makes perfect sense for a FPS.

The developer tasked to bring this vision to life is developer, Kaos Studios, a relatively new studio who already explored similar subject matter with their Xbox 360 shooter 'Frontlines: Fuel for War' (review.) Homefront is a more polished take on that game, set up to focus on the single player campaign (something that was missing from Frontlines.) Although, we've seen other "alternative" war set-ups before (Resistance: Fall of Man, Turning Point: Fall of Liberty,) Homefront still feels fresh.

In becoming part of the resistance, the familiar has become alien as you fight against foreign occupation. This is abrasively shown in the first moments of Homefront, when your character, Jacob, is apprehended and thrown in a prisoner bus by the KPA. From this moment you will notice the no-holds-barred approach to violence and storytelling that Kaos takes. The reality of the situation hits home, and even though it is a little uneasy at times, it's oddly interesting.

The 'Call of Duty' cinematic formula shows its influence here with an unsuspecting situation that turns a small band of people into heroes. Your resistance comrades will lead you through most of the game. Homefront is a linear experience, so you won't be mixing things up too much. While the core gameplay does do anything new, the narrative, characters, and disrupted urban warfare keeps things interesting; kind of like an old shooter with a new coat of paint. Aside from the standard, level-by-level shooting, Homefront also has a few role-playing(ish)/ask question segments that come up every so often to break up the action. From a narrative standpoint, it's “interesting” because of the setting and not the dialog. Homefront pulls at those heart strings and has some extremely graphic content. The “grave” aspect will likely have you squirming.

The gunplay feels a little like a throwback shooter tilted on the arcade side. The pacing is quick and enemies will be in abundance and keep marching forward even though you can mow them down like flies. One inclusion I missed was the "stick-to-cover / blind-fire" feature. Without it Homefront feels dated, and looses another layer of realism. Thankfully, the other buttons like jumping, crouching and going prone are all open. Hey, you never know these days.

The payload is your typical assortment of SCAR-L, T3AK, M16, M249 LMG assault rifles with a few tricks up its sleeve, like the ultimate killing Tonka toy called 'The Goliath.' Aside from 'The Goliath' and your typical sniper sections, Homefront keeps it pretty basic. To keep you busy aside from the bloodshed, you search out some hidden newspapers (61 in total) that provide more incite into the back story or to simply help out in the trophies/achievements department. Also in that end, there are a few mission based objectives that will require you to replay certain sections to max out your scored prestige.

Graphically, Homefront has a dirty type of style to it. It's not uber polished, but that look kind of benefits the state of the world. While the texture work isn't super sharp, the level of detail is. Kaos did a excellent making each level visually interesting, while not becoming overly distracting. A ravished America with all its retail destructiveness is something we don't see too often, and while its not in 'Fallout 3' shape, it has character.

Battlefront Online
On the multiplayer side of things THQ's approach to the online component makes use of the online pass. However, Homefront lets you play until you progress to level five before its required. This way you can try it for a significant amount of time before you decide to activate, or purchase a code. The online component is fairly involved, you can set up your character's load-out, infantry and vehicle. The options are deep enough with a nice amount of customizations beyond the plethora amounts of weapon camouflage. Drones, air strikes, rocket launchers, thermal goggles and more are all ready for equipping (once unlocked.) Your character will also have abilities that give you a nice nudge against the competition. These include traits like “Shoot from the Hip” reduce weapon deviation when shooting from the hip. “Fist Full” extra grenades, “My Buddy” longer drone battery life, and “Ghost” hidden from UAV Sweeps to name a few.

The online modes include the 32 player “Ground Control," which is a hold objective progression battle. A 24 player “Team Deathmatch,” 16 player “Skirmish” which cycles both team deathmatch and ground control modes on various maps. “Battle Commander” ground control, team deathmatch and skirmish all come unlocked at level 7 (which does take long,) and yes, that means you need to pay to play those.

Shoot-outs online are extremely fun and will likely keep Homefront in shooter fans consoles for the rest of the year. Upgrading, in-game objectives and point balancing is done very well. The maps also seem well balanced while supporting all the different classes in their own way. Of course with vehicles added into the mix things can get quickly out of hand and very competitive, especially with drones, tanks, and rockets. For a quick comparison think of an amped up, lower-resolution 'Battlefield: Bad Company,' and that's a good thing.

War isn't pretty and this horrifying tale of war on American soil makes for a heartfelt adventure. While the core gameplay feels a little “behind the times,” the setting and narrative keeps things fresh. Downsides, sure, Homefront has a few, mainly the short campaign time that runs around 6-7hrs. However, to keep you playing a hefty multiplayer portion has been added. Depending on your love for online mayhem, Homefront will tilt towards a rental or a purchase, and I highly recommend you do one of those. Now let's finish that rebellion.

  • Lots of detail, excellent job on atmosphere
  • Interesting story, feels fresh
  • Throwback shooting style, for those interested
  • Multiplayer is solid, worth the price alone, if you game online
  • The Goliath sections are fun
  • Shooting mechanics feel a little dated
  • The follow, run-and-gun formula is a little tired
  • Narrative might be too “unsettling” for some
  • Single Player campaign can be completed in one sitting
Quote: "War isn't pretty and this horrifying tale of war on American soil makes for a heartfelt adventure. While the core gameplay feels a little “behind the times,” the setting and narrative keeps things fresh."
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 03.15.11

Similar Games: Turning Point: Fall of Liberty (5.2) | Frontlines: Fuel of War (7.6)




Kaos Studios


US Release
March 2011


PS3, X360

Players 1
Sys Link 2-16
Online MP 2-32
HD 720p-1080p
5.1 surround
D/L Content