With so many shooters assaulting the market these days, developers need to produce a title that gives the gamer something fresh and new; something that sets the game apart from other offerings on store shelves. In many cases, this simply comes down to atmosphere and style, which is why we’re intrigued when we examine the first details and screenshots for Homefront, designed by Kaos Studios. In some ways, though, the plot does remind us of Red Faction: Guerrilla, as you will be stepping into the shoes of a rebel. Well, actually, you’ll be a resistance fighter in the not-too-distant future, battling evil occupying foreign forces in a fictional 2027 North America. The latter piece of information shifts us to the brief eyes-on session conducted by IGN; because it will be set in our home country, there will be historical elements of our memorable landscape included in the game. Of course, things have kinda gone to hell since the invading forces took over; the ensuing war has really turned what used to be a very pleasant union into a chaotic, hellish mess.
Once you’re done taking a look at the small assembly of screenshots, I’ll continue. …done? Okay, like we said, the entire environment is in a terrible state; almost nothing remains intact, and the survivors are doing everything in their power to survive on what little has been left after a war sweeps through their land. Kaos mentioned that the team will be focusing on presenting a realistic atmosphere that shows how people would adapt to the harsh circumstances. For instance, you will find that people have affixed solar panels to their homes in order to obtain power, and while it does take place in the future, we’re only talking about 18 years or so. Therefore, Kaos won’t be giving you any crazy plasma guns or other super futuristic weapons, but you will get weaponry and equipment that reflect a slightly more advanced society. Firearms include the “adaptive combat rifle” (ACR), which can utilize either .556 or .762 ammunition rounds, and let’s not forget that every good shooter these days includes vehicles. We’re not entirely sure how many vehicles will be available for use in Homefront but we have heard of the Goliath. If you’re at all familiar with some of the futuristic weapons in other games like Halo, you won’t be surprised.
The Goliath is like a tank, only with six wheels and a good deal more agility than one would expect from a lumbering steel giant. You can drive it or man the heavy machine gun mounted on the top, and to better reflect the technological superiority of the time, you will be able to control it remotely. In other words, you can direct the Goliath from a distance, moving it to form valuable cover or simply having it target enemy vehicles that are too powerful to face alone. This is likely only one example of how we will utilize various equipment and vehicles in the game, so that’s good news. Furthermore, it seems that Kaos wants the player directly involved in most every large event on the battlefield. If something explodes, it’s very likely that remnants of the blast will be headed in your direction; if a vehicle gets shot to hell and begins to roll, don’t be surprised if it tries to turn your character into a military pancake. Another interesting twist on standard shooter gameplay is the fact that we will follow multiple characters through the storyline, and it seems we’ll get intimately acquainted with such important role players. This is one aspect that most FPS fans will find unique, and it should be an appreciated feature.
Of course, we’re not sure if we’ll actually play as those new characters, or if we’ll just travel with them here and there, perhaps teaming up every now and then in combat. Personally, I think it’d be damn cool to adopt different roles throughout the adventure; not only to view the story from different angles, but also to play with distinct fighters. We do know the game will progress along a fairly linear path that is based around standard missions, but that’s about where the extent of our knowledge ends. Homefront is slated to arrive for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC, but as of right now, there is no estimated release date. Well, FPS fans will have plenty of other options in the meantime, but we think you should keep an eye on this one. Most of the time, we’ll be satisfied with solid control mechanics and an engrossing atmosphere; we won’t be picky, we just want to be entertained. Let’s hope Kaos Studios and THQ can deliver the intense experience we expect to have.
7/1/2009 Ben Dutka