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Critics: Homefront not quite a home run

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Homefront

Platforms: X360, PS3, PC

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THQ's Homefront

Genuinely original settings are rare in video games. But THQ's Homefront -- a seemimgly generic, near-future first-person shooter -- boasts a storyline that's had many jaded gamers pricking up their ears. Set in 2027, it tells the story of an invading North Korean army sweeping its way across a greatly weakened United States, and casts the player as a
soldier in the home-grown resistance movement. Pretty compelling stuff.

So it's something of a letdown that Homefront's story -- penned by
celebrated screenwriter John Milius (Apocalypse Now, Conan the
Barbarian, and the superficially similar Red Dawn) -- looks to be one of
the most disappointing aspects of the game.

Calling the setting "a great germ of an idea," Joystiq's Justin McElroy was obviously bummed by Homefront's execution, taking swipes at its hamfisted product placement, its dated gameplay, and its lack of personality.

"The characters couldn't be more stereotypical and their interactions
couldn't be more cookie cutter," he writes. "If they're average Joes
protecting their homeland...they obviously haven't been informed about
it."

Other critics found a little more to like. Praising Homefront's realistic presentation, IGN's
Colin Moriarty called the setting "unique and interesting...something
totally different." But he still can't seem to get enthusiastic about
the gameplay, calling it "unremarkable...it doesn't buck any
trends...not a paradigm shifting product...classic shooter fare."
Dammed with faint praise? Considering the story's seven chapters can
"easily be completed in five hours,"  the game's clearly poor value for
solo-focused players.

So what's the online play like? Fortunately, pretty good, according to
multiple critics. IGN's Moriarty enjoyed its variety-packed
customization options and its novel focus on team point-scoring rather than
individual success, and found it addictive enough to keep him coming back
despite some technical issues. 1UP's Jobert Atienza concurred, saying
Homefront's multiplayer is "where the game's real value lies, and it's certainly more than competent."

Despite the mediocre ratings, Homefront is already selling briskly. THQ announced Wednesday that day one sales have exceeded 375,000 in North America alone, a number that's sure to rise as the game ships out across Europe and Asia throughout the week.

But is it really worth a buy? Homefront's average rating is currently around the 75% mark. While there's considerable variety in the bottom-line scores, however,
there's an equal amount of consistency in the message. Don't buy
Homefront for its short, messy single-player, but if you're looking for a
new multiplayer shooter -- and you're already sick of Black Ops and the
other big names -- it's a solid choice.


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