Why “Homefront” sucks and why it’s a shame

I’ve recently found some time (and disk space) to play “Homefront” – if you haven’t heard of it before, it’s some first person shooterset around 2030 after North Korea invaded the USA and follows the story of a handful resistance members trying to uh, resist.

The game has a very carefully planned story – if you don’t believe me, check out this trailer:

These events aren’t too fictional and that’s what makes it a great story for a near-future game. The writing in the game itself isn’t too bad either – the main characters seem pretty convincing. While protagonist Jacobs suffers from the Gordon Freeman Syndrome and it just doesn’t work out here, the comrades do act mostly realistic. There are of course a bunch of flaws if you look carefully enough, but it’s not a major story breaker.

I also found the intro to be quite touching, driving around the town, seeing parents being shot in front of their children and the brutal violence of the invaders.

Now, onto the game itself…

Oh dear.

Before I started playing I read the game sucks in so many blogs I stopped reading them just so I could play unbiased – also the metascore of a solid 70 kinda confused me. Anyway, they were right – the metascore is so wrong here. We can talk about 30-40.

I actually deleted the game right after I finished the campaign in 3 hours, so I can’t provide many screenshots, but you’ll get the idea nevertheless.

First up, combat.

Screw you guys. Probably the cheapest Call of Duty ripoff I’ve seen so far. Seriously. And CoD combat is bad, to say the least. I’m not really sure when this idea of health regeneration erupted, but I hate it so much. The idea itself is *okay*, it can be executed well – check out Metro 2033. The regeneration is so slow you are going to die if you’re low on health in combat (unless you throw in some magic health syringe). It takes over a minute to even get rid of the blood of the screen.
Not so much in Homefront. You duck in cover, reload the weapon and you’re back to full health. I’m serious.
Weapon accuracy is a joke. No ironsight – no hits. Ironsight – no inaccuracy.
I don’t give a shit about how many different scopes there, just give me a weapon and let me carry more than 3 magazines.

Freedom.

There is none. I’m not asking for nonlinear gameplay, I’m just asking for alternative ways in a firefight. Just let me go flank these Norks instead of being forced to sit right in front of their faces. But then again it doesn’t matter since I just have to lay down on the ground to be back at full health.
I can understand it’s not possible to flank on top of the Golden Gate Bridge (I actually enjoyed that part), but there is always a different way through a bombed neighborhood, even if it’s a washing machine that allows me to jump over a wall so I can start a surprise attack.
It also seems to be impossible to climb a ladder until your whole squad has climbed it. This is bullshit, especially when they like to wait half a minute before doing anything.
If there’s a target I can see and I’m told to shoot, let me goddamn shoot it already. There is a big ass marker above his head that says “eliminate”, so I’m gonna shoot him. MISSION FAILED. Go fuck yourself.
Flying above a town in a helicopter, covering a convoy. Thought I’d make a quick sweep above the town to see if there’s any enemies still around… RETURN TO THE CONVOY!!!111

Ramirez, do everything!

Eeyup, cheap CoD ripoff again. I haven’t counted, but protagonist Jacobs is doing all of the dirty work anyway. Target that tank, take down this chopper, snipe these guys, shut the hell up, follow me, destroy the sentry, cover the tankers, jump on the truck.
I’m fine with receiving some orders, but if that Javelin is next to you, go pick it up yourself instead of letting me run around a tank on a predefined path, you lazy bastard.

Last but sure as hell not least: Bugs.

I’m sure you can play through the game in 2 hours, but it took me 3 to finish. I did die a couple times, but mostly the delays came from shitty placed checkpoints and bugs. People I’m supposed to snipe falling down a platform, landing behind a wall and not moving anymore. Well done! People spawning right in front of me because I rushed too far.
Culling issues. Some levels just disappear when you hide behind a box and show themselves after a second or so, same for enemies. Texture popins are common too (though I’ve seen worse). At one point there is a guy behind a few wooden planks sealing a doorway (in the church, if you’ve played it). The planks were covering half the door, so the guy could pop up and shoot me (in reality I could have just jumped over them too). Since I needed to pass that door anyway I ran up to him and slapped my knife in his face. Pretty unimpressed he in turn shot me in the face.
Voices were lagging behind over 5 seconds and sometimes cut off, making dialogs impossible to listen to. I turned on subtitles so I could actually understand what the hell was going on.

I’m seriously wondering if the developers actually played their own game. Did QA consist of 11 year old xbox kiddies? This game’s flaws are so obvious, it doesn’t get in my mind how they couldn’t turn it into a better game. Oh well, probably wanted to finish in time so they could hop on the CoD:MW2 “success” train. Kinda looks like they somehow managed to end up under that train.

All in all, don’t buy this game. If you already own it, go slap yourself in the face for wasting money. I’m gonna do the same now.

March 31, 2012 · rylius · One Comment
Posted in: Gaming, Rant, Review

New project and KDA updates

Decided to release Kart Demolition Arena under the MIT license yesterday, go hack away at the sources. Feel free to share your game with me!

Also found my old 2009 NaNoWriMo novel in the backups and went all nostalgic on it. Check it out!

Next up I started some multiplayer stuff in Ruby. Works halfway decent so far, I’ll post some example code in the next days when it’s getting a bit more mature. It’s using EventMachine for the server right now, really nice gem. Still hope to dump it to decrease dependencies, but as it’s only the server I don’t care too much about it. Client works well with a Thread and an UDPSocket which waits for input and then changes stuff in the thread. Prediction’s gonna be funny …probably not.

Oh hey, and I got GDB working at last. Weeh, 2 bugs less in Rain :)

June 12, 2011 · rylius · No Comments
Posted in: Game Dev, Rain, Ruby

KDA finally finished

This week felt like forever and still was too short to get something great done…

well, I finally consider Kart Demolition Arena for the EGP June ’11 Mashup ‘finished’. It’s in a pretty crappy state, maybe I’ll improve it some time.

C&C appreciated, can’t help you if you can’t get it to run though. The shell script should do the job on Linux, no idea how it will work on Windows/Mac. :P

Also started some minor side project which I’ll mostly do on my netbook. Going to be multiplayer, yay. Ain’t posting much about that, only 1.5 hours of work put into yet so this isn’t even a concept : )

I think I’ll work on Rain next up, she has been left behind quite a bit in the last few weeks.

Also check out what’s going on at E3, there’s some pretty decent games coming out in the next months.

I’m seriously considering creating a Windows partition just to play Skyrim… heh. To my personal disappointment Brink vanished from the surface again, I hoped it would have a bigger impact on the gaming community. As some Rock Paper Shotgun author said, maybe we expected too much. :/

Some seriously interesting concept is DUST 514 from the developers of EVE Online, they want to create a PS3 only shooter game running in the world of EVE, even on the “same server”. That way the tactical pc players will be able to ‘hire’ PS3 gamers to for example invade planets. Haven’t played EVE so I can’t tell much more about that, but it sure is an interesting concept.

My best wishes go to Battlefield 3, DICE really deserves to kick Infinity Ward in their butts. ;)

Also some serious balls to the guys at Arrowhead, they remade the Skyrim’s poster with stuff from their latest DLC and put it up right next to Bethesda’s booth. Nice one!

June 8, 2011 · rylius · No Comments
Posted in: Game Dev, Gaming, Java

Introduction …some kind of I guess

Finally got around setting up WordPress for some kind of blog/website mixture thingy… needed a bit space for myself off Hazewood. :)

I’m dumping my projects here and plan on writing about game programming/creation in Java and Ruby (I do know how contrary that may sound for some of you) and reviewing or recommending some indie and open source games.

Since this is the first post I’ll also dump some bio so you know who’s writing here :)

I’m 16 years old, living in Germany and working on a few games as a hobby. I like reading, writing and of course programming, suck at graphical stuff and that’s it pretty much already. I take photos as a another hobby though, if you’re interested check out my deviantART page.

Feel free to contact me using ICQ (#371617325) or by email (ryliusk[at]gmail.com).

*sigh* Should post some real content…

June 5, 2011 · rylius · No Comments
Posted in: Uncategorized