Suppose someone gave you a bag of rotten meat, a sack of tatty shinbones and eyelashes, you'd probably decline the gift. But what if, underneath that discoloured meat, there was a stainless steel trophy with your name on it?
"You don't have to eat the meat," it could be said in the carrier bag's defence. "You can enjoy your trophy, which was made out of stainless steel, just so it wouldn't be contaminated by the foul-smelling flesh. And to be fair, we didn't put much in the bag, because we were dimly aware of how distasteful it was."
Homefront's single-player campaign is, to terminate a metaphor, the meat. It's a short, angry burst of victim-patriotism. The writing veers so obliviously into cliché, that it makes you slacken in despair. It looks fine. It plays adequately, but without inspiration. Stand-out moments - seeing the resistance's off-the-grid existence, and the intense firefight in the mall car-park - are isolated moments of tension in a game that's over too quickly for you to care. Rianna's spiritual journey can be summarised as "killing people is horrible, let's kill these bastards, no wait not like that."
However - and this is a huge, redeeming however - the multiplayer is that trophy, and it's damn good. Dedicated servers allow for 32-player fights, and the Battle Points system lets you spend your round earnings on instant rewards and vehicle spawns. Larger maps can develop over the match from infantry matches into games of remote-control drones against choppers. Battle Points also feed into a more persistent XP system, so you're not completely reset every game.
The Battle Commander works too, spotting and rewarding streaks, and encouraging them with increasing rewards. You'll also meet increasing resistance from the opposing team, as they're made aware of your streak. The balance of reward, threat, and showing off is great, although it's a shame that you're corralled into repetitive behaviour - a sniping streak, for example, can only be extended by more sniping.
If you hate online multiplayer, avoid Homefront like you would a naked laughing man, waving his own severed leg in the air. If you're in it for the multiplayer, then it offers a clean, coherent and genuinely entertaining experience. Now, let's put that in a single number from one to ten.
Your individual score may differ
- Great multiplayer maps
- Battle Points work well
- Acting is fine, even if the script isn't
- Very short and bad single player
- Stamps around in cliché boots