So, you might have heard that Homefront sucked. You might have heard that from very reputable sources with lots of fancy advertising or even from the CEO of THQ himself. You may have been told that sales of the game sucked so bad, they shut down the development studio. While the last one may be true – I don’t know, I don’t know the math – I would strongly caution you against believing everything you hear about this game.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. So, I rented this game with an open mind, and boy am I glad I gave it a chance. While this game is every bit a linear shooter, it puts together two of my favorite game themes: apocalyptic stories and revolutionary tactics. The intro to the story is in the form of a lead-in cutscene. It starts with a press release with Hillary Clinton from May of 2010, and then progresses through a fictional but somewhat believable account of how Kim Jong-un re-unified Korea under a single banner. Then Kim Jong-un goes on to launch an ostensibly benign communications satellite which turns out to be a weaponized satellite which emits an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) and destroys all electronics in the United States. Following the EMP, Kim Jong-un’s forces invade Hawaii, then California, then the midwest. Somehow the midwest – including the home of yours truly – becomes a nuclear wasteland from the Mississippi all the way through the western-most third of Indiana, from the top to the bottom of the country. Freaky, no?
So, as the cutscene fades, you wake up in a small room with not much around you. As you’re kind of getting the hang of the controls, you hear a knock on the door, and your objectives tell you that you need to open the door. as you’re trying to open the door, you discover how much it sucks to be you: the KPA (Korean Peoples’ Army) busts through the door and arrests you. They stick you on a bus and you drive through town. You’re riding, chained up on a bus, down the streets of Montrose, Colorado and you bear witness to some pretty horrifying scenes – even for a video game. There was one scene which particularly weighed on me, a couple with a small child is pleading with their young child to look away, not to think about it, and right as you’re wondering what will happen….
This is where I’ll stop on the walk-through as I think you should see it for yourself.
There is something else that I found interesting in this game: product placement. In just the first 15 minutes of the game I have seen a lot of ads. First, there’s one for TigerDirect on the menu screen, it’s a sign on a store (I don’t think TigerDirect actually has a physical storefront). The second product placement I noticed was White Castle, which was shortly followed by an awful lot of FullThrottle energy drink ads on two vending machines and a park bench. It seems that THQ decided to make some extra coin here by sticking products into the game, but they did it WELL. These ads fit right in, and while I think most folks will notice that these are real-world brands, they make sense in the place and time where they live. Now only if folks like THQ were willing to drop the price on games they load with ads!
I strongly recommend that you check this game out, I think that if you like linear shooters that you will like this game as well.