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8:10 PM on 03.16.2011

Review: Homefront

Game: Homefront
Platform: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC ( Reviewed )
MRSP: 59.99 ( Console ) 49.99 ( PC )
Developed By: Kaos Studios

Homefront puts you in the shoes of a member of the resistance movement fighting the Korean occupation of the United States of America by the now unified nation of Korea. The premise borrows allot from the cult classic movie Red Dawn which is appropriate as the game was written by the very same person who directed and co-wrote it. Being a big fan of the film I was quite excited for this game but does it live up to those expectations?

You will see some familiar locations while playing through the games campaign

The quick answer to that question is no it does not. Homefront's premise is definitely well thought out but that seems to be about as far as they got with it. The overarching plot of the game starts off well with good atmosphere but it never really amounts to much other then a bunch of firefights in suburban war torn areas. Characters are introduced who join you throughout the game but they are never really fleshed out leaving very little attachment to them as the game ends very quickly and anticlimactically. If your looking for a deep or moving story about the plight of a people and their country then you will not find it here you will however find plenty of product placement for things like White castle, Tigerdirect computers and Hooters.

Get used to ads like this.

What you will find is a first person shooter that plays it as safe as it can when it comes to mechanics. The gameplay borrows heavily from the Call of Duty franchise. You can aim down your sights, sprint shoot and stab your enemies at close range for quick kills and use a variaty of weapons with different attachments. Most of the game is you chasing around your AI controlled companions waiting for them to trigger events so you can progress but occasional it will change things up a bit by having you do things like control a robotic tanks targeting system, manning a turret or flying a helicopter but rarely does the game do anything better then similar titles of the genre. The controls themselves are solid however I found myself constantly dieing due to massive groups of charging enemies and cheap one hit kills from scripted scenes which grew frustrating as the games cheakpoint system is rather unforgiving.

Once in a while the shooting will be broken up by sequences like this one where you control an air strike

If that was all there was to the game then homefront would easily be one of my biggest disappointments of the year thankfully though the games multiplayer picks up allot of the slack from the single player campaign. The game plays like a splicing of Battlefield, Modern Warfare, and Counterstrike and somehow manages to make it work. You get expansive maps with the eventual ability to spawn vehicles like helicopters, apc's, and tanks as well as the carrot on a stick leveling system with customizable infantry abilities that act much like perks do in COD; however, you do not immediately get access to everything in your loadout. As you kill people or preform match objectives you gain battle points which you can use to activate your abilities and these points persist even if you die. This way of handling Homefront's version of kill-streaks has the effect of allowing players of lower skill levels to still be able to compete even though they can't score mass killstreaks as well as others. That is to say multiplayer does still have its problems. The map selection is currently not that varied and the match types bring nothing new to the table but it's fun overall and is easily the best part of the game itself.

As far as first person shooters go Homefront is definitely not the worst of the bunch but it does nothing to push the genre and utterly fails to deliver on its premise. The single player campaign is short and the story is an afterthought. This coupled with insulting amounts of in game advertising make it a bad purchase if your only interested in a single player experience; however, its interesting approach at multiplayer is worth checking out if you can get it at a discounted price and if your not already burnt out on multiplayer FPS games.

The Good: Interesting take on multiplayer.
The Bad: Missed opportunity on an interesting premise.
The Ugly: Waiting for your npc allies to catch up to you so that they may open your worst enemy THE COMMON DOOR!

Score 5/10   read

9:44 PM on 10.02.2010

Late Ass Reviews: Dead Rising 2

When I think of the original Dead Rising it brings up allot of mixed feelings. While I enjoyed the mindless slaughter of zombies, most of the time I found myself incredibly frustrated at the games poor survivor AI, ridiculous time constraints and incredibly difficult psychopath encounters. I found myself constantly restarting the game until my character was powerful enough to charge through the games obstacles. So While I had fun with the game I definitely hoped for change in the series with Dead Rising 2.

Dead Rising 2 has you take the Role of Chuck Green a former Motocross Champion who lost his wife to a Zombie outbreak and has to deal with his daughters dependance on a drug that wards off the infection known as Zombrex. To make matters worse another outbreak has happened and your fingered for causing it. Throughout the course of the games 3 days your set with the task of clearing your name and finding the truth behind the outbreak. The story has so many twists you would think the game was written by M. Night Shyamalan but it stays interesting until the end.

The game has a very similar structure to that of the original. During the course of the game you can solve case files, save survivors, fight psychopaths and gain PP (Prestige Points) to level up and learn new abilities or just run around killing endless waves of zombies. The photography system in the first game has been replaced with an item crafting system where you take specific items and combine them to make deadly weapons that earn you PP for each kill. The game does a really good job of giving you plenty of maintenance rooms in the various areas; however, you will prob find yourself making the same things over and over as some crafting items are often hidden or just not worth the hassle to seek out.

Side missions are very well paced through the main game compared to the original game as well. I never found myself in a situation where I could not attempt a side mission in fear of missing a case file deadline. The psychopath fights range from hard to horribly frustrating but most of them are optional and after one encounter you can usually find a specific set of weapons to deal with them.

Combat has been improved greatly over the first game. Chuck can aim over the shoulder and move at the same time now while shooting which makes boss battles that require gunfire much less frustrating then the original. Survivor's are no longer helpless zombie fodder and can actually fend for themselves. This makes the game much less frustrating then the original as you donít have to be constantly watching out for them.

Dead Rising 2 also adds online multi-player content to the equation. You get co-op and a mini-game collection like online versus mode called Terror is Reality where players compete in various events where you murder and humiliate zombies for cash that you can bring into the single player game. The games themselves are fun diversions but get old fast. The co-op mode is fun to play but the joining player does not earn any story progress. Joining random games seems to be difficult as well as most people usually just donít allow you to join. I spent a good 15 min trying to join a random player match before I gave up and started pestering people on my friends list.

Final verdict: While some flaws of the original still remain if your willing to overlook them you will find yourself having a great time. Fans of the original should definitely pick it up.

Score: 8/10   read

12:29 PM on 09.21.2010

Late Ass Reviews: Halo Reach

Let me get this started by saying that I personally have had little love for the Halo Series in my time playing games. Other then the occasional LAN party with Halo: CE for Xbox and a brief attempt at playing the trilogies campaigns I haven't found much reason to care about the universe or its characters. That being said with Reach being a prequel and my most recent playthrough of the ODST add on for Halo 3 Impressing me I decided to go at Reach with an open mind.

Halo Reach takes place on the USNC colony planet of Reach. Players assume the role of an unnamed spartan who has just been assigned to a position with Noble Team. You start the game with the mission of discovering why a relay station has gone offline and soon you find that you and your team gets involved in a fight against an invasion by the Covenant. I found the story to be quite enjoyable compared to what I was used to in the series. The characters of the noble team may seem generic but they are all likeable enough to the point that I was finding myself becoming interested in their survival. Overall the team dynamic was a nice change of pace for me and although the campaign is somewhat short I still enjoyed it thoroughly.

From a gameplay perspective the game plays very much like Halo. Dual wielding weapons has been removed but I never found that to be much of an issue. The shooting is solid and the vehicles are easy to control. One thing I personally enjoyed is having AI team mates drive the vehicles for me and actually driving me in the right direction. This is a vast improvement of what happened in previous Halo games where the AI would just drive around aimlessly and sometimes in circles. The addition of the loadouts adds some flavour to the usual walk and shoot mechanics of previous Halos but for the most part I just stuck with the sprint.

For those of you who are more into the whole multiplayer experience. Halo Reach seems very inclined to deliver one of the most expansive online components I have ever played in an online shooter. Firefight mode is back from ODST and now has online matchmaking so you can find a game to play in when your friends list is barren and the inclusion of the loadouts seems like a perfect fit for already customizable competitive multiplayer modes. The best addition is probably the psych test option that so far for me has worked wonders in keeping me out of games with loud 13 year olds spurring verbal diarrhoea.

Final Verdict: Halo Reach is a great game, the campaign is short but has the most interesting story of all the Halo games I have played, The multiplayer modes are expansive and highly customizable and if your a fan of the series I'm sure you will love it. I would even urge fans of first person shooters who were turned off by the single player of Halo 2 and 3. You may be pleasantly surprised like I was.

Score : 9/10   read

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