The first-person-shooter Homefront from THQ and Frontlines creator Kaos Studios has been red-lining the intrigue-o-meter since its announcement. Based on a tried and true concept that we've seen in movies like Red Dawn, where America is occupied by a militarily powerful nation and the people take up arms and fight a guerrilla warfare, the script for Homefront could only be done by one person: John Milius, the guy who wrote Red Dawn and a slew of other Hollywood hits. That's exciting to people who appreciate a good narrative in their games.
Multiplayer also offers up some intriguing delights as well, as we've talked about before but recently THQ gave us a chance to get some hands on impressions of the game's single player storyline at their brand spanking new studio in downtown Montreal.
The first level of the game begins in classic “tram-line” mode, kind of like what you saw at the beginning of Half-Life. After being arrested at your ramshackle apartment by the jackbooted North Korean authorities for not reporting to work camp, you're cuffed and hustled on to a prison bus headed to an uncertain fate. Riding through a wrecked city's downtown area, you'll have a front row seat to the atrocities being leveled against a helpless populace by the occupiers. There is some pretty heavy stuff in this opening section, which will only get you fired up to do something about once you can.
And you will be able to do something about it soon. Your bus is soon attacked by the rebels, with the express intent of freeing you from the clutches. At least that's what the two freedom fighters who liberate you tell you, along with your name, Jacob and what their intel says you're experienced in; combat operations and piloting. That should give you a little hint as to what lies ahead.
You soon have a gun in your hand, and the opportunity to shoot some of these invading marauders, something that's even more fun after you've picked up an assault rifle off a dead DRPK soldier. You can only hold two guns at a time, but the guns you find lying around will give you a lot of options to play with. Some even have different sights and attachments to mix things up a bit. Grenades and anti-tank weapons come in to play as well. Firepower doesn't seem like it will ever seem insufficient in Homefront, even though the feeling of being over matched by a better trained and better equipped military force is one of the central themes behind the game.
In this first level, you fight through a once-pristine suburban neighborhood, bringing unwanted attention from the military forces. You may be “the resistance”, but you'll also meet a lot of resistance from civilians, who are trying to avoid trouble from the occupying forces at all costs. It goes to show how well realized this story is, and how it is should be one of the crucial factors in making Homefront compelling. The level ends with an awesome set piece involving a remote-controlled armored vehicle that can seriously tear some stuff up.
We may have only had a small taste of Homefront's single player game, but it does feel a lot like most military-themed shooters out there. Whether thats bad or not may be to your tastes, but the storyline and writing seem compelling enough to keep our intrigue-o-meter going off the charts.