We recently went hands-on with Kaos Studios, Homefront - an upcoming FPS that sees the US invaded by the Korean People's Army. It won countless awards at E3 2010 for mixing balls-out action with the stylish pacing of Half Life 2, and in short, we're excited. But our hands-on is with the multiplayer side of things. Are we just as stoked about the online aspects as we are the campaign mode? Erm, not exactly.
Above: "Why can't I get in the Humvee, sir? No space? No-one's manning the gun and you're riding solo, dammit" :(
Homefront's multiplayer side is fun. It's far more Battlefield than Modern Warfare which means you get huge maps to fight across and can actually have a breather if the tension gets too much. It's also packed with vehicles and drones to aid your fight against the enemy. Radio controlled choppers strapped with rockets are a lovely touch. So to are the mini-tanks that you can remotely drive and blow the crap out of your enemy. But what of the big boy toys? Yup, we got to play around in a few choppers, hummers and tanks and they're all superb for causing mayhem.
Above: This map's Cul De Sac and if you meet one of these choppers it will be a 'dead end' for you. Haha <sigh>
To bring these metallic death-bringers in, and for that matter rocket launchers, javelins and even tastier weapons, you'll need to collect Battle Points - the in-game currency of Homefront. Hold down or defend a point of interest and you'll get a few in your account. Kill a bad guy and you'll get a few more. But for the big BPs you need to destroy enemy vehicles and takeover a number of objectives. Right now, we'll say that this system feels a little bit like the Killstreaks in Modern Warfare 2 and have the potential to be just as frustrating for lesser players. But (crosses fingers) hopefully this will be ironed out.
There's an ever-evolving battlefield as you play that is familiar to anyone that has played MAG or Kaos Studio's previous title, Frontlines: Fuels of War. If you're attacking, you need to hold certain areas until your team has secured them completely. The game will then throw up another set of objectives - take these and you're on the road to victory. This creates a huge tug o' war between two sets of players as the game to-and-fro's, which makes for some frantic battles.
Above: When it all clicks into place, Homefront's multiplayer is a bloody thrill.
Unfortunately, right now Homefront's multiplayer barely does anything that you haven't already seen or played before. Save for the Battle Points system, which allows better weapons, drones and other goodies on the fly, the giant maps have been nailed in MAG and the capture flag style action, complete with vehicles, has been done to near perfection with Battlefield 1943. With that in mind, it's hard to see why you'd either a) become excited about Homefront's multiplayer or b) choose it over an established franchise.
But Kaos Studios are no mugs. Their ideas are sound and with a bit more polish we're hopeful they can deliver on a host of original concepts. It's worth noting that THQ themselves are planning another huge multiplayer reveal for the game, so maybe then we'll have something to fire our guns into the air about. We'll just have to wait and see.
6th October 2010