|System: X360, PS3, PC|
|Dev: Kaos Studios|
|Release: March 15 2011|
|Players: 1, 2-24|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Homefront has definitely been a title long in development, and we've gotten quite a bit of information on the game's single-player component over the past two years. The game's premise is simple, but engaging. The year is 2027, and after a meteoric rise to power, the Greater Korean Republic has taken over the Asian peninsula and has now invaded the US. Unfortunately, the US is falling, and the resistance has to resort to guerilla-style warfare in order to thwart the ever-present threat of the Korean troops.
The single-player portion of the game is certainly going to be intriguing, but at a recent event, we were able to get a first look at the game's multiplayer mode, which looks like it will be just as engrossing at the single-player mode.
The context for the multiplayer is within the scope of the game's narrative, and sees your self-made character fighting the good fight for either the American or Korean sides. Because the focus in Homefront is squarely on the single-player experience, representatives from Kaos studios told us that they wanted the multiplayer aspect of the game to reflect the total chaos that will be portrayed in the story. The game will feature multiplayer modes that will allow up to thirty-two players at a time engage in combat, which should definitely ramp up the action considerably.
Although the setting and scope should certainly give Homefront a unique take on the online shooting experience, the real innovation here comes from the game's unique load-out and currency system. During each multiplayer event, you will start the game with a set number of "Battle Points," which are a performance-based currency system. The amount you start off with won't be much though, and you'll have to earn more by completing objectives, achieving kills, and making captures. As you accrue battle points, you will be able to unlock special weapons and vehicles.
However, the game wants to emphasize strategy, so the vehicles and weapons to which you will have access with your battle points will be selected via load-out at the beginning of each round. Each load-out gives you access to a variety of different weapons, drones, and vehicles once you accrue enough battle points. Some of the items, such as a rocket launcher with two rockets, only require a nominal amount of battle points, and can be spawned rather quickly after only a few kills or completed objectives. However, vehicles and drones will take a little more effort to unlock. This forces the player to form a "spend or save" strategy where they can either continue to unlock small bonuses with continuous battle points, or save up through several rounds to get a huge base-destroying tank.
After learning about some of the broader aspects of the multiplayer mode, we were finally able to go hands-on with a pre-alpha build of a territory-stealing mode. We were able to check out two maps, tentatively titled "farm" and "cul-de-sac." Both of these maps are set in a suburban landscape, complete with single-family homes, churches, and car junkyards. Of course, since this is a warzone, everything is in a particularly poor state, and bodies of unfortunate would-be soldiers hang from trees in the middle of the street. Although we were told that the look of the game was far from complete, the visual styling is mightily impressive thus far.
The game controls as you would expect from any first-person dual-stick shooter, and it was very easy to pick up and play. We were able to try out all of the game's default guns, which included a middle-of-the-road assault rifle, a sniper rifle, and my favorite, a heavy assault gun known simply as "Scar". Although the weapons list wasn't exhaustive, there was enough variety in the different load-outs to help you stay within a certain strategic parameter.
But as I mentioned before, the load-outs are much more than just your primary weapon, and give you access to different unlockables with the battle points system. I was able to check out several of the battle points unlockables, including areal drones and a giant tank. Although there is a bit of a learning curve with some of the vehicles (the drones in particular can be tough to maneuver at first), I had no problem slipping into these special vehicles after about a half-hour of playtime.
I also tried out different strategies in regards to the battle points, and found both spending them immediately on small arms as well as saving them for huge vehicles to be effective ways to enhance the gameplay and overtake enemies in my designated territories. Although the immediate success of both of these strategies may have been due to the fact I was playing with thirty other first-timers, I'm sure after playing for a while savvy players will develop specific approaches using the battle points system that will yield interesting results.
Although we were only able to spend a limited amount of time with the multiplayer portion of the game, we were promised that more information about additional modes, maps, and weapons would be forthcoming when we get closer to Homefront's release next year. But for now, Homefront multiplayer is looking like an interesting way to augment what is sure to be a memorable single-player experience.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC News Director