PAX East 2011: Homefront Hands On

In honor of Homefront releasing to stores today, here are my impressions of the game after going hands on with it this past weekend in Boston.

I really wanted to like this game.  The story sounds compelling, the gameplay looks great, and the multiplayer sounds like it’s going to be an absolute blast.  I was still on the fence though as I just had so many questions about it.  Was the quality going to be high?  Was this just another generic shooter?  Can this live up to the hype?  After playing through some of the single player side, I can fully say I’m sold.

It was kind of funny in the fact that there wasn’t a queue to line up in or anything, it was just kind fo a free for all.  I lined up behind someone else and once he was done I took over.  Now, at this point, I have no idea what section of the game I was in but I feel like it was early.  There are no cut scenes either, Homefront models itself after Half-Life 2 where everything is done in-game.  It’s pretty cool and didn’t take me out of the flow at all.  The neighborhood we were scouting confronted us and wanted us to leave because they feared retribution by the GKR.  They felt that it appeared that they were helping us and didn’t want that mistake to come back to bite them.  Before the argument was concluded, the GKR stormed in, opened fired on the crowd and forced us into a nearby house. 

That’s one thing Homefront tries to instill in you as you play: the familiar becomes alien.  The location was a suburban area that could be pulled from any town in America.  Seeing innocent civilians gunned down struck a chord and made you want to fight back.  Not only that, inside the house was a woman holding a newborn who was crying.  Another shock value as the Koreans wanted to storm the house.  In addition to staying alive, you also felt compelled to protect the mother and child.  It’s chilling.

The second part of the level, we caught up with Hopper, who’s kind of the tech genius in the group.  He hands over control to Goliath, a semi-autonomous 6 wheeled vehicle equipped with a machine gun and rockets.  Goliath provided the cover we needed to get to safety as he rolled around and shot at the incoming troopers.  Don’t worry, he’s not a god-tier weapon or an instant win button, as he isn’t invincible so you’ll have to protect him to keep him working.  You also get to direct Goliath to take out priority targets using a remote indicator.  As Humvees and vehicles started to roll in, the action was tense and we just barely made it out.  Not wanting to spoil too much, I ended it there.

The game looks good.  Honestly, it’s not going to win any beauty contests and obviously doesn’t hold a candle to Crysis 2 or Killzone 3, but it’s by no means ugly.  The guns and controls feel great (similar scheme to CoD), the audio quality was top-notch (for even being at a packed and loud convention), and most importantly, the story and gameplay was gripping and memorable.  I’m heading out later today to pick up my copy and can’t wait to dive in.  For those of you unsure, stay tuned for my review soon.

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2 Responses to PAX East 2011: Homefront Hands On

  1. fazor3d says:

    Hmm. 1-UP didn’t give it a great review. Not a horrible review either, but not great. I’m more interested in the multiplayer aspect, as I’m not currently playing anything multiplayer. Oh well, I’ll wait to see what you say about the full game!

    • gamercrash says:

      Yeah, B- isn’t bad. I’ve heard that the story is short, but that doens’t bother me too much. I mean Medal of Honor and CoD: Modern Warfare 2 had laughably short campaigns as well so it’s somewhat expected at this point. Also, I kind of liked the fact that the control scheme was very similar to CoD…made jumping in and playing easier, rather than learning what buttons do what.

      The thing that is drawing me in is the storyline for the campaign, the atmosphere, and also the multiplayer. I’ve seen a bunch of gameplay and read a bunch on what people who have the game think and almost uniformly they’ve said it’s a ton of fun. I’m a battlefield fan, and this one looks right up that alley for me. Should be fun.

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