Homefront Multiplayer Preview
A couple of weeks ago the GodisaGeek team were invited to a lovely venue in central London by THQ to get some hands-on time with the multiplayer facet of their latest title, Homefront. Developed by Kaos Studios, Homefront is a first person shooter that focuses on a future war between North Korea and the USA. The story is actually really interesting and has been written by John Milius, co-writer of the fantastic Apocalypse Now. However, right now we’re here to tell you all about the multiplayer and if it has the substance to challenge the big hitters such as Modern Warfare 2, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and the upcoming Call of Duty: Black Ops.
Homefront’s unique selling point is the fantastic Battle Points system, which will be music to the ears of people sick and tired of getting mauled by the more skilled players in Modern Warfare 2. Everything you do during a multiplayer match earns you Battle Points, whether it be capturing a base or killing an opponent. Players can then choose to spend these points on whatever “perks” are available to them. For instance, you can buy more ammo, call in a drone, signal for a vehicle or request an apache helicopter.
Obviously the more attractive “perks” such as the apache helicopter will cost more points, but therein lies the beauty of this system. Do you save up your points in hope of getting that helicopter or do you cash in now and unleash that drone? It’s this “spend or save” mechanic that makes this Battle Points system really interesting. Just imagine this scenario, there is a minute left until the match ends and your team is so close to taking the lead. You almost have enough points to request a helicopter; just a couple of kills are needed. On the other hand, you have enough points right now to call in a drone. What do you do?!
The Battle Points you earn are only available for you to use during that particular match, they will not carry over into the next one (don’t worry, the game still has a ranking and XP system). This is done to keep matches balanced and give not so skilled players a chance of doing well, rather then get overwhelmed by better players. This points system also expertly addresses the issue of vehicle spawn camping. In most other online shooters, you will always find one or two people hogging vehicles by continuously camping out near spawn points. This means that you’re chances of taking control of that awesome looking tank or truck are very low. Well, that is not going to happen in Homefront. If you have enough Battle Points to call in a vehicle then you will get to take control of one, without the hassle of having to wait near a spawn point or fight over it with a team-mate.
So, that’s the Battle Points system explained. What about game modes? Well, we were only able to try out the Ground Control mode and were quite impressed. The two maps we played on were Cul-de-Sac (a rural area with destroyed houses) and Farm (open countryside with barns). The former was tailored for 8 vs. 8 whereas the latter opened it up a little and introduced some 16 vs. 16 action. Both maps were of a decent size, well designed and complimented the Ground Control mode really well. The action is fun, fast and frantic. If you’ve played Battlefield then you know should know what to expect here, there is a little twist however. Homefront takes the idea of an ever changing battlefield (no pun intended) and runs with it.
You start out with three control points and the aim is to capture them for your team in whatever way you choose. Once you have captured a point your teams score will begin to rise and the more points you capture, the higher the rate of scoring will be. Obviously the capture points can be contested between both teams; it would be kind of boring if you couldn’t! As mentioned earlier, there is a twist and it comes when a score limit is reached. When that happens, the three control points move to a different area on the map and that is where Kaos Studios mantra of an ever changing, dynamic battlefield comes to the forefront.
Apart from that Homefront is everything you would hope for from a modern day first person shooter. The controls are pretty much standard and work well, although we did have to adjust the look sensitivity a little when we initially started. All the standard weapons and soldier classes are there too, from sniper all the way to assault. The only real gripe would be the visuals, which were a little underwhelming. However, we were told this is pre-alpha code and the visuals are still one the aspects that are being worked on.
So, does Homefront have what it takes to enter the online arena against the likes of Modern Warfare 2, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops? Well, it certainly has the potential to. The core gameplay is solid and the large scale battles are certainly fun. What really makes the game standout though is the Battle Points system; it’s a fantastic feature and one which could make Homefront a serious contender in the online arena. If you’re a fan of online shooters, we suggest keeping an eye on this one.
Homefront is currently slated in for a March 2011 release on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.