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March 24th, 2011 |
By Matthew Scott Hunter


Fight as your own group of Wolverines

(M) ***1/2


Xbox 360

First-person shooters, particularly those involving U.S. armed forces, tend to blend together these days. “Homefront” attempts to mix things up with a change of venue. Rather than fighting in Vietnam, the Middle East or Nazi-occupied France, the troops in “Homefront” march a little closer to home — in fact, right on American soil. The campaign story takes place in the Korea-occupied United States. “Red Dawn” scribe John Milius makes the farfetched invasion tale seem uncannily possible, and collectible newspaper clippings scattered throughout the levels flesh out a story about a reunified Korea annexing surrounding nations while America’s economy is devastated by a war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, leaving the western world vulnerable to attack. It’s all a terrific excuse to wage frantic firefights just down the street from the local White Castle.

Apart from the novel story — which, at five hours, ends a bit too abruptly — “Homefront” does very little to differentiate itself from other shooters. The levels are linear, and your comrades rush face first into enemy fire. Thankfully, your buddies are immortal, so you don’t have to worry about babysitting anyone’s health bar aside from your own. The multiplayer is also standard fare for the most part, but there is a nifty point system, in which performance points can be spent on upgraded weapons and tiny remote control attack drones. You can even save up for heavy-duty upgrades like tanks. If you play shooters for the online multiplayer, you can do better than this, but if you’re more of a loner in search of a smart “what if” story, you’ll feel right at home in front of “Homefront.” CV