Preview: We get (Kim Jong) ill with Homefront’s multiplayer

More so than ever before, it’s a safe bet to say that this year is dedicated to the shooter. With so many divergent titles and takes on the genre like Brink, Bulletstorm, RAGE and Crysis 2 just the tip of the iceberg, it’s an exiting time to be a FPS fan. There is, however, one title that seems to have slipped through the cracks and is traveling heavily under the radar. I’m talking about the Korean propaganda based, US invasion sleeper known as Homefront. Last week the crew at DLC-Live were lucky enough to be part of a multiplayer fragfest in Sydney as the cream of Australia’s journalistic crop went mano-to mano on local dedicated servers.

As fellow contributor Nachos Justice mentioned in last night’s podcast, Homefront’s multiplayer component feels more like a Frankenstein conglomerate of bits and pieces of our favourite titles. There’s objective based play resembling a combination of Rush and Conquest modes from Battlefield Bad Company 2, a heavy emphasis on vehicular combat much like in Frontlines: Fuel of War and multiple perks are available as we’ve come to expect from the Call of Duty franchise. The mish-mash of FPS staples creates an entirely different experience, and this is only the beginning of what Homefront has in its bag of tricks.

You earn currency known as Battle Points (BP) from killing enemies and completing objectives, which you spend during each round (you can’t stockpile) for simple things like flak jackets and rocket launchers (available across multiple classes), or you can save your pennies for larger scale vehicles like Apache attack helicopters and tanks. The combat zone feels fluid and different from any other online shooter I’ve played and the reliance upon, for the most part, team-based play is always appealing, though lone wolf camper sniping bitches do persist, even at a media event. Some may have been called out using the more colourful language in my arsenal and I was compelled to spend the remainder of the round inflicting a little payback (or as I like to affectionately call it “skull-fucking their eye sockets”).

The focus on communal play is evident with the many different types of drone at your disposal. Some are simply used for attack and destroy missions, or you can be an asset to your entire team by marking enemy soldiers with an air drone. Rather than popping a mere red dot above their head, ala Bad Company 2, there is a very distinct red diamond that surrounds each player tagged, a lure near impossible to resist. The BP for spotting earned is about a third that of a kill, so it helps both your total and the team as a whole by promoting unselfish play.

One of the new modes we took for a test drive was Battle Commander, which is a great slant on the more traditional Deathmatch. Here, you earn a star rating for kill streaks, and the more devastation you wreak on your opponents, the bigger the bounty on your head. It becomes a constant to-and-fro as each side jostles for the lead. You also have mini objectives pop up, like locating a specific soldier for a revenge kill, or making it to a certain zone intact that earns you points and satisfaction, and might even give you the opportunity to even the score.

The four hours literally flew by and had the crew as a whole thirsting for more. I didn’t think any title would drag me away from Battlefield: Bad Company 2 until Brink, but after a taste of what’s on the cards for Homefront, I can’t wait to get back into the digital fray for another round.

For more on Homefront, check out this week’s podcast devoted to the event by clicking here…

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Dave Kozicki

Shotgun Samurai
Video game reviewer, presenter and enthusiast. Film and TV-aholic. Pop culture geek. T-shirt and sneaker addict. All around nice guy and one hell of a sexy beast. Writer for Official PlayStation Magazine AU, AusGamers and Hyper Magazine.