Oct 17, 2011

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Homefront Revisited

Homefront Revisited

Although never officially reviewed at Vivid Gamer, we care about informing the public about making wise decisions when purchasing video games.  Considering the holiday season coming up and the spare cash that will result from it, people might find themselves finally willing to dive into a game considered a ‘”risk.”  With reviews all over the place, and the average user score of 5.2 on Metacritic, Homefront is a risk many will take when they see it for $15 to $20 after Thanksgiving.  As I played through recently, I still found of a number of reasons why gamers should keep this game out of their collection, despite its sure-to-be low Thanksgiving price tag.

Its single-player campaign is the only reason to even consider getting this game, and even then, like most reviews made note of when the game released in March, it is short.  Five hours into the campaign and players will have finished with little reason to go back through.  There are 61 newspapers spread throughout, so the extremely dedicated players will have something to collect, but it is just the one thing.  Trophy hunters looking for an easy platinum should also avoid this game because of the online trophies required to obtain platinum status.  I suggest sticking to Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection it you are dying for easy trophies.

Players who bought the game within the first month complained about their inability to gain access to an actual online match.  Vivid Gamer covered the game’s patch progress almost as far as it went, 1.04, and we cannot forget that the PC version had its own problems.  Early patches attempted to fix the following:

  • Multiplayer Freezing (affecting  X360 & PS3)
  • Experience and Statistics Resets (affecting X360 & PS3)
  • Improving Party Matchmaking & Joining with Friends (affecting X360 & PS3)
  • Correcting inconsistent Leaderboards data (affecting X360 & PS3)

For the most part, these issues are indeed fixed.  My time throughout Homefront was freezeless, except for the ice-cold hurtin’ I put on the enemy of course, and my statistics seemed to function okay.  To be quite honest, there still might be problems with party matchmaking and joining with friends but I will never know, and the chances are, neither will you.

No one plays this game anymore.  The community is dead in the water when it had no business being in the water anyway because it could not swim in the first place.  I felt for the poor souls I played with, scared to count myself among them out of fear I might get stuck in some kind of horrible multiplayer limbo.  There are a few dedicated gamers though, as I did see a few level 30 players and even a level 52 player.  Every gameplay mode this game offers is dead, and it is quite shocking for a game that sold 2.6 million copies.  I am quite curious as to how this game would play if its servers were full, 16 gamers pitted against 16 others in a duel to the death, until they respawned, of course.  Unfortunately, I take no delight in a two-on-two Team Deathmatch.

Of course, the demise of the community is no fault of Kaos’; THQ closed them down months ago.  A studio being closed should generally shoot a red flag at your face with big letters that says, “Don’t buy this game, or even rent it,” but some would probably still miss the point.  A dead dev isn’t always indication of a bad game, however, and proof of that is found in Dead Space 2Dead Space 2 is a fabulous game and one deserving your attention if you completely ignore the multiplayer, but EA shut down Visceral anyway.  I would still highly recommend buying Dead Space 2, but its single-player campaign is a treat to gamers across the globe and has more than one reason to play through it.  Homefront, not so much.

Seven months later, support for the game is less than wire-thin.  Gran Turismo 5 just released Spec 2.0, a year after its release, which means it is still be supported by the developer.  Seven months in to Homefront and it’s still at 1.04.  (The numbers start at one for those who fail to see this as a problem).  Part of this issue is due to THQ’s shut down of developer Kaos, and it does not appear that THQ has decided to appoint any other studio in charge of continuing support for Homefront.  The best shot at re-energizing the community is some at-this-point unannounced DLC for the holidays with a heavy price cut on the actual game.

There is hope for the franchise, however, in the form of Crytek.  Taking over for the defunct Kaos, the developers of the Crysis series are sure to bring a little more flair to Homefront 2, and that is the biggest reason to avoid the original.  Despite what you may hear, the original is not always the best, and Homefront 2 should prove it.  Crytek is sure to include a short scene about the events that took place in the original, and that should be more than adequate to bring new gamers up to speed.

Keep your $20 this holiday and spend it on the one-month gym membership you will buy as part of a New Years’ resolution.  You could also just use it to help buy another game, put it towards a Vita or that really  awesome thumb-pad accessory for the 3DS so you can really start merkin’ fools.  While I never enjoy a studio being shut down, it is in the best interests of gamers to let Homefront die, and hopefully Crytek and THQ will concentrate more resources into the development of Homefront 2.