Homefront Preview Hands-On

Ruined suburban schools, double crosses, and mass graves make us uncomfortable in our latest hands-on with this upcoming first-person shooter.

Here's what we know about Homefront's single-player side so far: The game will be set in a besieged America of the near future; it will attempt to bring the fight "home" to players by showcasing familiar locales, such as ruined suburbs and shopping malls; and it definitely won't be for the squeamish. All of those qualities were in force in our latest hands-on with the upcoming shooter from Kaos Studios, where we managed to play through the first three chapters of the game's campaign to get a real sense of what it's like to be part of a resistance movement fighting against a cruel and oppressive enemy.

Our last single-player preview went into extended detail about the first chapter. But to quickly recap, you play as Jacobs, a recently recruited member of a small band of resistance fighters battling against the overwhelming technological and numerical superiority of the North Korean People's Army (NPA). And these North Koreans aren't the comical, Team America type either. The NPA in Homefront are brutal and ruthless, as evidenced by the cruel deaths of innocent civilians you're forced to witness in the game's opening. After your first skirmish with the NPA, the second chapter of the game begins much as the first, with you waking up in unfamiliar surroundings. But unlike the rude awakening of the game's opening, you find yourself in much more serene surroundings. It turns out that Jacob has been taken to a small refuge hidden amongst some near-ruined suburban houses, and it's here that civilians have created their own self-sufficient community. As you walk around the refuge, which is hidden away from prying NPA drones by camouflage netting, you'll see plenty of evidence of this small group's determination to live--a man using a modified Stairmaster to pump water, couples tending to sickly looking crops, and even some emaciated livestock. In Homefront, the might of America has been reduced to this type of scene.

You won't have much time for depression, though, as you're soon thrust into your first real mission as part of the resistance--trying to secure some electronic trackers from a nearby forced labor camp. As you exit from some makeshift tunnels with a few teammates, you'll find yourself in yet another ruined house. Outside on the street is an automated NPA turret sitting atop a tall crane, and you're forced to slowly make your way closer to it while avoiding its roving spotlight; if it finds you, it unleashes rapid rounds of hot metal death. After getting close enough to the turret to dispatch of it with a well-placed grenade, you'll soon find yourself fighting a skirmish against NPA troops in an abandoned school. This locale, much like the houses you've fought in previously, is yet another way that Homefront tries to make the fight "real" for players, placing them in familiar yet utterly destroyed areas.

You'll eventually make your way into the labor camp, a truly depressing locale where captured civilians are kept interned by the NPA. Arnie, the resistance's contact within the camp, tells you that he can take you to where the trackers are, but all he does is lead you into a trap. This trap is an enclosed area with high walls surrounded by NPA troops. Luckily, one of your resistance teammates--the perpetually pissed-off Connor--isn't about to let a few high-caliber weapons pointed at his face derail his day. He quickly disarms a nearby soldier and fires on a few more, which thrusts you into yet another firefight. Teamwork seems absolutely required for Homefront, as straying too far from your resistance squad members will often leave you outgunned and outnumbered (and deceased), adding to that feeling that you're only a small stone being hurled against a wall of NPA enemies. The foes we encountered tended to be good shots and used cover well, which made accurate firing important as ammo was relatively scarce to find. Thankfully, your teammates aren't just useless bits of scenery; they're more than capable of taking out foes, so you won't have to do all the heavy lifting yourself.

After getting your hands on the trackers, your small band of fighters decide to escape through what was once a baseball field, but it's here that you're faced with yet another stark example of the enemy's callousness. In the middle of the field, a bulldozer slowly tips its scoop filled with dead bodies into a mass grave, almost overflowing with corpses. Connor is enraged, immediately firing on the NPA and blowing your cover. Another fight ensues as you make your way onto the ground, and once there, you're forced to deal with more turrets, darting between cover to get close enough to destroy them with grenades. With the enemies on the ground dealt with, another, bigger problem emerges--the sound of an approaching chopper. Faced with little other choice, you and your resistance squadmates make your way into the mass grave, pulling the bodies of the dead over you in an attempt to blend in with them. The following scene is genuinely tense: Your view, partly blocked by a dead man's arm draped across your face, shows the helicopter landing, and an NPA general flanked by two soldiers walks out and stands at the edge of the pit. After firing a few rounds into the grave to make sure no one is alive, the troops walk away, and you're able to breathe again.

In the game's next chapter, you'll find out why those trackers were so important--they need to be attached to some large fuel tankers, which the resistance plans to follow via helicopter and ambush. This next chapter was actually covered in one of our earlier previews of the game and takes place in a large discount superstore and its massive car park. A firing error with some dangerous white phosphorous douses both NPA and resistance soldiers alike, setting them on fire. As you and your squadmates fight your way through the large store and to its rear loading dock where the tankers are located, you're faced with screaming enemies being burned alive by the phosphorous. After just barely managing to attach a tracker to a truck as it drives away, you have to fight your way through the burning store again and, once out the front, run onto the back of another truck to make your getaway. NPA troops in jeeps and even helicopters doggedly chase you and your team, however; but luckily, you still have control of Goliath, a remote-controlled vehicle that looks like it'll play a significant part in Homefront. "Painting" targets with Goliath will result in the rugged little monster firing a barrage of missiles at your intended foe, and it's a delight to use as it's a welcome respite from feeling underpowered compared to your NPA foes.

With a downed helicopter crashing into a bridge and cutting off other pursuers, our latest hands-on with Homefront ended. This first-person shooter certainly shows promise--the shooting is tight, with a good variety of weapons popping up even in the three early levels we've played. And just as importantly, the tone of the game seems to be on track to deliver some pretty tense experiences, and it's certainly shaping up to be a mature and involving affair. Homefront is out in March for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

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RandolphRam

Randolph Ramsay

Randolph is the managing editor of GameSpot, and needs more time to play games.
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122 comments
FireFox1988
FireFox1988

When I mentioned Halo and GTA3, Im talking about the console based era. Not the PC. Yes, Doom, Half life, Counterstrike, I know of plenty FPS that came before Halo. Im talking about NOW, those ancient games are hall of famers now, retired technology. NOWADAYS, there is not enough variety when it comes to FPS. There is NO variety when it comes to sandbox style games, or open world games. Its all the same, nothing new has come out in the past 10 years. Thats what I mean when I say most games now are "rip offs" of GTA3 and Halo 1. Im not a Halo fanboy, I have always owned a Playstation of some sort. Never owned an XBOX, just played Halo 1 at friends house who did. If you cant see the extreme repetition in todays FPS genre, so be it. Spend your money, spend your time, Ill spend mine else where. IN THE CONSOLE ERA, games are nothing but copies off each other. Is that cleared up enough? I should have stated I was referring to consoles only.

dono14
dono14

once again 1UP, IGN, and various other websites have already, (as usual), posted their reviews, some before today even, yet gamespot still hasnt posted a review....no suprise there

dono14
dono14

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

World_War_gamer
World_War_gamer

LOL......maybe a few years later, we will have a film released named HOMEFRONT with Arnold Schwarzenegger as the lead role

Jamemba
Jamemba

Atleast it's coming out for the PC. :)

zracxes
zracxes

plz let us easy know how many players in a multiplayer game, i dont like to waste time reading everything in a review when all i need to know is how many players are possible in that spesific game online, so plz in future reviews make clear and easy:)) best regrds zracxes)) smile))

Burpadski
Burpadski

Haha! You know what? The NPA does exist! But not in the US. Here in the Philippines they are the New People's Army. And yes, they are commies...

Boxfire
Boxfire

If taking over the world ment being good at starcraft then we are all doomed

amiman23
amiman23

I recently discovered that the N Koreans are not driven by communist ideology but on a concept of racial purity. They consider themselves to be superior to all other Asians. If they were going to invade America it would be to commit genocide and slavery 1st, resources 2nd.

prontopup20
prontopup20

@BombayNugz because they kind of half arsed it, and hoped that since modern warfare was a good game, people would just buy this thinking it was going to be good.

Raspifier
Raspifier

@deedaw No, xbox and the playstation are rival consoles. the playstation just has a better range of games and a higher processing capability - although few games use it to its true potential; the wii is a console while the iPhone is a handheld mobile telephone.

Pieleanu65
Pieleanu65

i know that: ea and dice are the best,,,

p4kman88
p4kman88

so...what new thing in the world of FPS with "BEAST GRAPHICS" does it bring to the table? why should i spend money on another call of duty? when i dont even own call of duty, cus i dont like call of duty....if its a mono-linear iron site shooter place in a parallel universe...its really not worth the 60 something USD and if it u do like CoD games then why would u spend more money on a game u already own.

Simeon_Crane
Simeon_Crane

THere is no rivalry between conl and PC. Just move on. This game looks bad ass BTW

lordofallpies
lordofallpies

Dudes just argue about the game not about consoles!

deedaw
deedaw

@raspifier you're really trying to make an argument that Sony is more successful than Microsoft when it comes to consoles? That's like trying to say the Wii is more successful than the iPhone

deadreign22
deadreign22

this game looks real good i look forward to buying this game cant be any worse than bullet strom

Raspifier
Raspifier

@iluvsheri I think you're forgetting about the PLAYSTATION, which was there before the Xbox, and was, and still is, more successful.

iluvsheri
iluvsheri

One thing that I need to get out of the way first is that I hate when these games are reviewed for the PC using a console. Please review PC games using PC controls and graphics because they're far superior to a console's inner workings. @ FireFox: are you serious in thinking that Halo and GTA3 are the games which all others are based off of? Back when, PC games were PC games and console games were console games, with PC FPS games being ported to the consoles. The "granddaddy" of FPS games was Wolfenstein 3D (1992), followed by DOOM, Quake, Quake 2, etc then Unreal broke the brown/grey color scheme with actual vibrant colors. The next biggest leap was Half-Life "1998" which then all FPS games were based off of and compared to. Halo, on the other hand, came about when MS decided to make a console which was similiar to graphics on the PC, aka the original XBox which was in 2001, so as you can see there were many great PC games which Halo was based from, not the other way around. But we can thank Halo for the whole switch to making games for consoles first, since it's cheaper to make their games, get more money for their console games since so many play on consoles because they're cheaper then a fully maxed out gaming rig, then port the game to PCs in which PC gamers hope that the port isn't crap. Luckily there are devs now who are making games first for PC such as the new Red Orchestra game, not forgetting their PC roots which many other devs have.

Andy9Beans
Andy9Beans

@FireFox1988 What are you talking about? How old are you to think Halo was the original FPS? I could reel off loads of shooters which predated Halo and equaled it in creativity and quality, just because it was the first decent shooter on the Xbox doesn't mean it was the first decent one period... and I bet the majority of Bungie staff would agree. If you want people to take you seriously please think before you post and try to keep your short-sighted little tantrums to yourself.

Nibbles37
Nibbles37

Maybe I'm just old fashioned but large articles like this belong in the John in one of my magazines. I come to the internet for videos. Either way I'm stoked for this.

frazzz619
frazzz619

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

jaydlaw
jaydlaw

Cool...White Castle!

fenderampeg
fenderampeg

Frontlines multi-player was great. I'm really looking forward to Homefront!

Verenti
Verenti

Why are they calling themselves "North Korea" if they own all of Korea?

malintenby
malintenby

I'm not buying it or any other game, they're all just rip off's of Pong..

TommyT456
TommyT456

@Firefox What on earth are you talking about? "EVERY game is a rip off of GTA and Halo?" What a ridiculous thing to say, do you even own a video game console, even more importantly are you old enough to have played games before those recent titles you base your argument on? I hate noob gamers coming along and talking like they know it all. A shooter is a shooter. They are all gona be similar because thats what type of game they are! Especially FPS's. Some are creative in new(ish) ways, like borderlands and bioshock/system shock, but thats because they have RPG elements, meaning they are part of a seperate genre. An FPS is an FPS! If you think they should make vast changes then suggest what you mean because you're making no sense. Most games out there lend nothing to GTA or Halo. I didnt buy Gran Turismo, Tekken 6, Uncharted, Vanquish, Arkham Asylum etc etc and think, wow its like playing GTA or Halo all over again. Those games will have borrowed from other titles but only because pretty much every style of game has been covered! And Halo did not create the FPS category of games, how close minded, you're new to gaming huh. FPS's have been around for yonks, and even to say CoD ripped off Halo is so stupid. Totally different style of gameplay with different settings and everything. Basically your saying "they both have guns on the screen that you use to kill things with" so CoD ripped off Halo. I suppose F1 is a rip off of street fighter because you play a human! lol Crazy

devastion913
devastion913

@Firefox again There is more variety in games now more than ever, once a new game comes out that is a hit people create spin-offs of it and create new genres and sub-genres. Such is the relationship between GTA and all other open world games like Mercs, Just Cause, The Godfather, Saints Row (which was a blatant rip off of GTA but the sequel distinguished itself from GTA as its "not at all serious brother") and Dead Rising. Would you compare Left 4 Dead to Halo? I hope not, they have nothing in common other than that they are both shooters. I believe i made my point, innovation is there, you just refuse to see it.

devastion913
devastion913

@Firefox Halo and GTA3 again? Really? How many times are people going to debate this. So by what your saying Dead Space, Silent Hill, Resident evil and the entire survival horror genre is ripping off one of those 2 games. GRAW, Rainbow six and the entire tactical shooter genre is just a rip of one of those 2 games. Do I really need to continue with every other genre out there to make my point? And I agree with pureADR3NAL1NE that COD is not anything like Halo. I don't play COD anymore because I find it antiquated but thats the same reason why I switched from Halo to COD4. It didn't take a ton of bullets to kill someone, no one had those gay shields and don't even get me started on the Halo-jumpers, not to mention you pick your loadout instead of trying to be the first one to the rocket launcher or sniper rifle which is standard in MP games today. With an attitude like that I don't understand why you even own next gen consoles because your soo tied up with the last gen. BTW I see you didn't mention DOOM and Wolfenstein 3D, they created the FPS genre and EVERYONE copied off of them but that must be before your time. First there was Wolf 3D, then there was Doom, then there was MOH which was replaced by Halo which was replaced by COD and now that COD is starting to show rust I believe Battlefield will be the next heavy hitter.

devastion913
devastion913

If this game is anything like the last game KAOS made (Frontlines: Fuel of War) the single player and the multiplayer will be good, but buggy. In frontlines the multi was fun but there was alot of issues with connecting to ranked games and server problems and more lag than id like to remember. Hopefully they learned from that and made this game top notch, I also preordered it as well.

pureADR3NAL1NE
pureADR3NAL1NE

FireFox1988- How is CoD like Halo in anyway at all? Last time I checked it was about World War 2 and then Modern Warfare. It doesn't play like Halo at all and that's why it doesn't suck

xboxgameman
xboxgameman

Wow, more text and pics. What about really putting some effort into it and get a video up there!

kennythomas26
kennythomas26

I have this game pre-ordered and I for one can't wait to play it and I'm with everyone else on I just hope the campaign doesn't disappoint and I hope the MP works as well.

analogjunkie24
analogjunkie24

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

FireFox1988
FireFox1988

Why is it no one is recognizing this problem? Gamestop, GameSpot, Game Informer, all of them neglect the fact that these developers are solely after money and are destroying the gaming industry. Where are the new games, what happened to variety? Why does every game cost $65+ regardless of effort put into its creation? Why are we constantly getting ripped off by the gaming industry? Why is becoming yet another corporate median for the fat cats to control us? I will not spend any money on this game, and will be canceling my pre-order today.

FireFox1988
FireFox1988

I have been waiting for this game since its debut. The closer it gets to release, the worse it starts to look. IGN has a few actual game play videos. Single player mainly, and the typical multiplayer movies. I love the story, it seems like a great idea, I love Red Dawn and all kinds of movies like that. But the game play, and graphics just seem low end. For being in development as long as it has, it should be more polished. Character movement lacks grace, seems way too robotic, the guns and NPCs have a strange sort of halo around them, basically separating them from the rest of the scenery, if that makes sense. Everything seems very layered, and nothing flows together. I am thoroughly discouraged from buying this game regardless of price solely on the videos provided of game play. The game looks like it belongs on Playstation 2 for the most part. We need something different, every first person shooter has been a clone off of Halo 1. Even the CoD titles are blatant rips off Halo, just without aliens. Ive said it again on this site, and I will keep saying it the more we get fed cheap garbage from lazy developers, there has been no major development in video games sine Halo 1 and Grand Theft Auto 3. Everything since then have been poor copies and renditions of those two games. Sure we have been given different stories, slightly better graphics and scenery, but nothing substantial or worthy of being recognized. The only breakthrough would be DICE developing the Frostbite engine.

NIOW
NIOW

i think the drown is good but i don't find so amzing i give 7/10

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Dibs. Although I'd still like to see ACTUAL gameplay. None of these clever-angled trailers to make stuff look cool.

Muttley01
Muttley01

if you like(d) Modern Warfare 1-2 Homefront will be a good choice

analogjunkie24
analogjunkie24

I stumbled upon a short developer walkthrough for this game and I have to say I that despite the unique premise it looked like it will be just another Call of Duty clone. I don't think I'll be preordering this one though I might pick it up when its cheap.

sabre85
sabre85

this game looks awesome

talegone
talegone

kwunzudood.....so you THINK you know what happened in Vietnam do ya? I mean...those who were there wouldnt know about the so called bad things we did...hum....i guess if you read enough about that era.....you begin to think you were there....dude ive seen and done worse things here than there....never think you have walked in my shoes bub...

SnoSlider-PS3-
SnoSlider-PS3-

I hope this one's multi-player doesn't disappoint, like so many recent FPS's. The story looks to be a definite play all the way through. Co-op would be a nice addition. Alot of games seem to neglect the campaign co-op.

Arcius_Azrael
Arcius_Azrael

@pureADR3NAL1NE it's shown in the trailer. South was invaded by North.

pureADR3NAL1NE
pureADR3NAL1NE

So uh why would the South join the North? I'm pretty sure the North is absolute crap

zwenti
zwenti

@madgame23: One word! Guantanamo or three words: Secret prison ships or Abu Dhabi Prison How naive are you man? But never mind, welcome in reality!!!

BombayNugz
BombayNugz

@prontopup20 same here man... but since i sold BFBC2 i cant go back to it lol. why does black ops feel like it was made in china? nothing works right in that game.

prontopup20
prontopup20

yeah im sick of black ops, went back to bad company 2 and will wait for this to come out