Homefront Multiplayer Hands-On

We fight for battle points in a ruined America's heartland during our first play session with this upcoming shooter's competitive online offering.

Developer Kaos Studios certainly has a pedigree when it comes to multiplayer in shooters, thanks to its previous work on the popular Battlefield 1942 mod Desert Combat and the large-scale conflicts of its previous game, Frontlines: Fuel of War. As you'd expect, competitive multiplayer will be another strong focus for its upcoming game, Homefront, and we managed to get some hands-on time with an early build of this shooter to see exactly how combat preparations are proceeding.

In Homefront, players will be confronted with a ravaged United States of America, reeling from an invasion by new military and economic global superpower, North Korea (for more on the title's future history and how the Hermit State could possibly take on the might of the US, read our earlier previews). The game's single-player component--which takes place in 2027--will see you fighting alongside a small band of resistance fighters, but Homefront's multiplayer will take place before the events of the single-player campaign. In multiplayer, you'll fight as either American or North Korean soldiers, who are still locked in heated battles to take control of the US.

Kaos Studios says Homefront will feature all of the hallmarks of the company's previous multiplayer efforts; that is, a large player count, large maps, plenty of vehicles, and amped-up combat. And, all these were on show during our recent hands-on session. The game will support 32 players online, and as has become standard with most shooters, you'll be able to select from a few preset class loadouts before you enter the fray. The mode we played was called Ground Control and required teams to capture a series of points on the map and hold them for as long as possible to rack up points. There was good variety in the two maps we played--Cul-de-sac was a smaller area filled with ramshackle houses that was conducive to short-range fire fights, while Farm was a much larger map that was ideal for vehicular hijinks.

While the above may sound fairly typical for a modern shooter, Kaos also unveiled something it hopes will give all of Homefront's multiplayer matches a sense of ever-escalating intensity--the battle points system. Every kill, assist, captured point, and other player actions within a match will earn battle points, which can then be used to buy extra abilities, weapons, or even death-dealing vehicles. Some of the extras on offer during our multiplayer session included rocket launchers, aerial and ground-attack drones (making a return from Kaos' previous game, Frontlines), Humvees, tanks, Apache helicopters, an Osprey, and more. Each player will have a set list of extras to choose from that can be deployed by simply pressing that perk's appropriate position on the D pad.

Different abilities will cost different battle points to deploy. Small perks, such as a rocket launcher or remote-controlled drone, will cost less than a few hundred points, whereas serious firepower, such as tanks or the Apache, will set you back significantly more. Kaos says the battle points system should make most multiplayer bouts in Homefront more frenetic and action packed, with players starting off slowly but eventually earning enough points to unleash some serious firepower the longer a match proceeds. It should also make the acquisition of a new vehicle (should you want one) less of a hassle. Instead of hoofing it on foot to a vehicle's spawn point, all you'll need to do is pick that vehicle bonus, and it will appear at your feet (should you have enough battle points, that is).

For players, the battle points system aims to add in a new level of strategy amidst all the frenetic shooting. Do you, for example, spend points as soon as you earn them, getting lots of small upgrades along the way? Or do you save up your hard-won earnings to shell out for that tough-to-beat tank or that death-from-above chopper? During our play session, we tried both approaches. While playing on the smaller Cul-de-sac map, we focused on drones, scurrying around to earn enough battle points before picking a quiet spot to deploy our little harbingers of doom. The drones--both the missile-packing aerial type and its machine-gun-toting ground version--proved extremely effective against enemies and were also quite resilient under fire. On the larger map, we switched to vehicles, and while it was initially tougher to earn the battle points required, it proved well worth it. Bringing a tank onto the field was a lot of fun and netted us plenty of kills, thanks to its beefy firepower.

Our time with this particular multiplayer mode in Homefront was extremely engaging, with the battle points system adding an extra layer of depth and strategy to the game's pretty solid combat basics. Homefront's looking good at this stage, too, with the ruined suburbia on show in the Cul-de-sac map looking especially detailed. While the unveiling of the battle points system was the key message to come from this session, Kaos is promising more announcements down the track. These include new modes, details on dedicated servers for both console and PC gamers, and more information on how the experience and level system will work within the game. We'll have those details as soon as they're made public, so keep it locked to GameSpot for more on Homefront.

Written By

Randolph is the managing editor of GameSpot, and needs more time to play games.

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167 comments
Hammercon
Hammercon

Is 32 player capacity considered a large player count. MAG could support game modes with more than 128 players AND had vechicular combat.

dcrabiddog
dcrabiddog

Kaos you made a great game nobody played! i will by this game and i hope for my gamer brothers sake they do too! i am a call of duty nut so get your control scheme tight, or back to the bin with another almost hit! i am rooting for you guys though, unleash the drones!!!!!

T3DD3Rs
T3DD3Rs

Kaos studios...didn't they make a game a few years ago the was almost EXACTLY like this (battlefield style w/ drones and stuff)? and didnt that turn out to be a total failure...Frontlines Fuel of War. look it up.

shadyteadybear
shadyteadybear

guys games now run on different engines and to play a game like this with this much in it with 64 ppl, they would haft to tone down the graphix so it would look like your plaing DOOM 1

geirbiscohn
geirbiscohn

@potapithikos You played MAG? 256 players on console. Smallest game mode was 64

Blaze_Hrimfaxi
Blaze_Hrimfaxi

@BlackBaldwin Thats like looking at a book and saying "it sucks" without even opening the cover.

potapithikos
potapithikos

Consoles and their 32 player max multiplayer..... bleh ... but why can't they have 64 player support for the PC version??!? 64 players GOD DAMNIT!!! Sixty four.... six... four.... 65-1.... Battlefield 2 supported 64 players and dedicated servers... 5 YEARS AGO!

fluid_dynamics
fluid_dynamics

People get all bent out of shape about the plausibility of North Korea becoming a significant power in the world. 20 years is probably a bit quick, but I'm sure there were plenty of people saying Germany would never be a significant power post World War I, and during other parts of its history (e.g. WWII). But it was in fact this massive level of desperation within the country, created by other nations applying political and economic pressure, including saddling them with huge debt in the form of war reparations after that conflict, that allowed someone like Hitler to seem like the solution to their problems. Early on the Nazis, like the Korean Government, weren't actually particularly good at running a government or setting up decent institutional processes, but what they did manage to do right is to pull in corporations. These corporations were a lot better at setting up processes, and testing those things that were "effective" (from their perspective) and those that weren't. The S. Koreans have always had a soft spot for N. Korea, which seems baffling from the outside when you look at how crazy that country's leader appears to be, but I suppose we might have a soft spot for the southern United States, if the civil war had turned out differently. If North Korea by some miracle gradually manged to mend its relationships with S. Korea, and picked up some charismatic and clever leadership, you could see some serious Economic strength in 40 years.

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

@Blaze_Hrimfaxi, Thats the beautiful thing about the internet mate one can voice their opinion on anything they wish. Besides if you disagree with what I have said good for you I won't hold it against you just hit that finger down button and keep moving on.

CisQo5
CisQo5

Looks fun from the cinematic point of view... but gameplay? like ACTUAL gameplay? and nothing beats battlefield games than the PC ones without the stories because its more focused on the war and multiplayer fun. (Battlefield Bad Company 1 and 2 pwns though! =) )

Blaze_Hrimfaxi
Blaze_Hrimfaxi

@Bradley7777 Warfail? I own MW2 and its nowhere near that bad.

Blaze_Hrimfaxi
Blaze_Hrimfaxi

@BlackBaldwin You aint got the right to run your mouth till you've actually played the game.

honderdman
honderdman

I will certainly buy the game, it looks awesome!!!

SaltyMeatballs
SaltyMeatballs

Sounds promising. I like the idea of Battle Points, a lot more interesting that kill streaks. 32 players and dedicated servers :D Hopefully we get some more info on this soon, might have to skip Black Ops.

BlackBaldwin
BlackBaldwin

interesting but boring all in one... I kinda feel sorry for these fps game makers... It seems no one has any pride in their work anymore. its like everyone wants the bottomline but forgets quality in thee end... My evaluation of this game fair to good but nothing great... I'll pass...

UnitedGamerz
UnitedGamerz

ASUMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

advanracer
advanracer

Oooh...wolverines...for lunch? yum!!

KILLZoneKILLall
KILLZoneKILLall

WOLVERIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINES!!!!!

madgame23
madgame23

@NFSruler - True that Vietnam showed our military that its not the be all end all military force it thought it was at the end of WW2, but to see a military force that is barely able to make threats today or any for the past, I don't know how many years all of a sudden in the next 20 years invade doesn't make sense. However, since everyone is liking the look of this game and stuff then you are entitled to your opinions, its a free country, heck something North Korea and Chine seem hell bent on depriving of its citizens, note the Nobel Peace Prize winner that's in Jail and all associated data in China is unavailable on him!

BravoOneActual
BravoOneActual

I've had my heart broken so many times! Please be the console sandbox military shooter I've been waiting for.

Topherman2059
Topherman2059

Finally a game where your enemy is not Russians, Al-Qaida or the Taliban.

ChiefFreeman
ChiefFreeman

It would be nice to have a good alternative to Bad Company 2. I'm skeptical since Frontlines Fuel of War was mediocre, but still hopeful this will turn out good.

tokicsek
tokicsek

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

ActionManly
ActionManly

LOL looked just like an FPS version of World in Conflict - even the music was similar and everything! Not saying that's a bad thing though ;)

haloreachftw
haloreachftw

its nice to see something that is not a sequal now a days

MrPilgrim
MrPilgrim

well... it was only a matter of time before they made the Modern age shooter franchise as dull as the WW2 franchise. FIND A NEW ANGLE!!!!!!!!

LeMeAtOm
LeMeAtOm

The multiplayer trailer looks awesome, i just hope it can live up to that kind of projected action. I shudder at the Frontlines: Fuel of War pedigree though and hope for something much better :)

godzillavskong
godzillavskong

Sounds promising. This is one of the many games that I'm looking forward to.

gameguy25217
gameguy25217

This game looks like it is coming along nicely.

sandking88
sandking88

This game is promising i can't wait for it

metaltorn
metaltorn

@zaofreak03 no insult taken cheers

zaofreak03
zaofreak03

@metaltorn hahaha awesome. Very funny sir, and maybe one day I will give this bullying a shot... as of right now cheers for you making me laugh. (no insult intended).

metaltorn
metaltorn

@zaofreak03 i'm glad you have realized that i am a bully. And no it's not because i'm hiding something it's because it's fun you should try

zaofreak03
zaofreak03

@Metaltorn I seriously considered it but decided to leave my scoffing remarks to mild jest. You just retreat to mean insults you big bully. Ha. I am also unsure which school of thought considers "grammatical" as a "smart" word. I apologize metaltorn if my jest was taken too literally and I hope you feel better in time.

metaltorn
metaltorn

@zaofreak03 i'm suprised you didn't say "EPIC" fail, you clown. And you try to sound smart with "grammatical" ha! i laugh at you and "LOL" is stupid too.

zaofreak03
zaofreak03

@Metaltorn Are you saying you can not be held to your grammatical mistake, yet can judge peoples misuse of epic? I smell double standard sir. lol @SirMordredX I agree I hope this game delivers, the concept is fascinating.

metaltorn
metaltorn

@SirMordredX oh thanks but you know what i meant

SirMordredX
SirMordredX

Looking sweet - I hope this game will get the sales it deserves if it is as awesome has GS says...and as the videos show of course. For one thing I am personally looking forward to this much more than MOH or even Black Ops [Not that it will be bad]. @metaltorn Well are you aware that you are not using the word "uses" right?

metaltorn
metaltorn

people dont even use the word epic right. epic this, epic that, do people even know wat it means the real definition?

chillphillyphil
chillphillyphil

Another shooter - don't see anything too revolutionary about it. I'm sure it will sell well. Is anyone else getting tired of these shooters? Let's see something more indepth.

spOOoOOn
spOOoOOn

Tanks, gunships and full military gear on US side doesn't really support the guerilla story.. US troops should be more like taliban!

tobelight
tobelight

Looks alright but I think games like Crysis2, Bulletstorm, GoW3, and possible Rage will cause this to be overlooked during release

eznuke
eznuke

Any demos for this?

deathtrooper31
deathtrooper31

That vid was epic. Just hope the game is as fun as it seems.

foojam
foojam

In Frontlines shooting was not so satisfying so i guess it will be the same case here but hopefully they will do it better.

manslayer2010
manslayer2010

I am really psyched for this just because of how crowded the map looked in the trailer. It looks like there are a lot more buildings than BF2 (my FPS of choice) which means people hopefully won't end up in the same 2-3 places on a map all the time.