Take-Two chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick recently remarked that, in the age of the multimillion-dollar interactive entertainment extravaganza, “good is the new bad.” That being said, Homefront is a good game. It's fun, quality, technically accomplished FPS action—in the waning years of the first HD console generation, though, what isn't? The campaign features a couple of poignant moments and things do go beyond the beginnings of real personality, but other than those brief glimpses of something more, the bulk of what we've got here is virtually indistinguishable from Call of Duty.
By Nick Marroni

As the the John Milius-penned (Apocalypse Now, Red Dawn) tale begins, players are taken into custody by the Korean People's Army occupational forces and driven through town toward a fate not good. That journey—and these first few minutes, unfolding in the kind of interactive cut scene most recently popularized by the original Modern Warfare—are truly attention-grabbing and venture into rarely explored gaming territory. The atrocities committed by the North Korean soldiers against unarmed American citizens might be a Sean Hannity fever dream, but it also does what a good game should: get you fired up to exact some violent retribution.

Unfortunately, that's also the absolute high point of the game; aside from a few other briefly arresting moments, the narrative works steadily away from an engaging premise toward situations, scenarios, and battles fought many, many, many times before. By the time ending comes around—surprisingly soon and rather anticlimactically—the narrative is so far removed from its initial beginnings that the urban industrial battleground could be a remnant of any number of modern action titles.

Again, Homefront is a good game. It's fun. It's polished. It crosses all the FPS t's and dots all the action i's. And, again, so do a near endless list of other shooters released over the past decade. If someone wandered into the room and wants to know what game is being played, they might assume Call of Dutyin fact, you just might start getting some Modern Warfare 2 flashbacks, that's how utterly similar it is. The campaign's good, it's (forgiving the abrupt ending) well-paced, and might even drag you back for more than one playthrough—but if you've already had your FPS fill, then you've really got nothing to get excited about.

And here's where the game redeems itslef—in the multiplayer arena. Though it's again familiar class-based, XP-earning territory, the Battle Points system—in which players earn credits for the purchase of special items and vehicles good only during the match they're earned in—is a fun twist.  Sure, it's a bit frustrating to get almost enough of the Battle Points to call in a tank, only for the match to end before having a chance to redeem them, but when you finally do get a shot at a vehicle, it's something you appreciate. Though the lifespan of your favorite vehicle is never long enough, it's almost always satisfying and the points system keeps things nicely balanced and always interesting.

Is it enough to pry you away from your competitive multiplayer FPS of choice? Maybe not for good, but if MP is your bag, then it absolutely warrants some of your quality shooting time. We sure wouldn't mind us some co-op, though.

Homefront is good. Unfortunately, as Mr. Zelnick done learned us, good just don't cut it anymore. The intro and a few select bits are worth seeing, but otherwise—unless you've burned through all that the Bobby Koticks of the world have shoveled your way and still can't get enough—then move along, there's not a whole lot new to see here.

This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 3.