Homefront Multiplayer Hands-on Impressions
THQ has decided to enter the proverbial battle of modern first-person shooters and is tasking Kaos Studios to the job of overcoming the odds to take the world by surprise. Kaos Studios in turn has come up with a beautiful gameplan that is in the form of Homefront to show the masses that they have what it takes to compete against the brightest and best in the industry within the genre.
What is Homefront? It’s a shooter that is set in the near future of 2027 where Korea invades the United States after taking control of many other nations on their warpath of world domination. Enter the player: the individual who must help stave off the opposition on U.S. soil. While I’d love to go in depth about the single-player experience, Kaos Studios had other intentions at a recent press event as they showed off a few facets of the multiplayer components.
Kaos Studios showed off one game mode that expanded when the ante was upped from 8v8 to 16v16. Given their history with large scale maps (i.e. Frontlines: Fuel of War), it was natural for the team to develop a shooter that provides gargantuan firefights. Not only was the action non-stop, but it was hectic with vehicles, drones, rocket launchers and much more thrown into the affair. After several hours of gameplay from the pre-alpha build, it’s safe to say that Kaos Studios is on the right track to building a worthy competitor to the top-tier FPSs based around the diversity of combat options.
Warming the press up on a smaller level, Cul de Sac, Kaos Studios wanted the players to get a feel of the controls and attack methods before entering the 32 player fray. Having experience with Call of Duty, Battlefield, Medal of Honor, Ghost Recon, etc., it was simple to pick up and play Homefront with no hurdles to jump over. After four matches on Cul de Sac, my team never lost a single match, I was number one or two on leaderboard with the best kill/death ratio and competitors soon wanted to jump ship to my team. How was this accomplished? Easy…
Step 1: Drones (ground or air) are great for looks, but are merely a distraction that shouldn’t be messed with unless in coordination with a teammate. Too many times I would find the opposition sitting idle controlling a drone, which would lead to an easy kill. Best advice, use a drone in unison with a teammate on guard or run into a dark corner to hide from the action. So long story short, drones may be a pretty option, but are best used by the professionals with tactical experience.
Step 2: Due to the pre-alpha stage, tanks were unbalanced. Tanks, as always, are a hotspot for easy kills as players never know when it’s an intelligent time to bail from the vehicle. Instead of jumping into a tank on the map, players are capable of spawning straight into a vehicle so there’s never a mad rush for the helicopter or tank. With only two shots of a rocket, enemies were quickly disposed of; especially since the points gained from kills can be used to buy more ammo and/or rockets, so the limit of how many rockets can be equipped was nearly endless.
Step 3: Although this tactic is used globally, it’s one that isn’t said enough: Guard the capture points with emphasis. Enemies would often bum rush the capture point without checking their blind spots, so it was often a cinch to dispose of their ignorant bodies in record time.
While there are many other tactics that I surely employed, these three were often the go-to routes to set up an easy victory. Step 2 was only applicable to the 16v16 matches due to vehicles being restricted on the 8v8 matches. For the 16v16 matches, the crowd was switched over to the Farm level that was much more diversified with environmental objects to hide behind or on top for advantage points. After the five or six matches within the 32 player setting, my undefeated record held true with a 87-13 kill/death ratio.
One thing remained evident after every battle: The mayhem never stopped for one second. The sound design from the matches was fantastic as explosions were heard left and right, tanks rumbled across the debris, gunshots whizzed by nearly bringing death to my character, grenades ticked on the ground and humvees circled around with turrets berating housing for cover to sneak in to steal a capture point. It’s crazy, but it’s a beautiful type of crazy. On top of all that madness, Kaos Studios and THQ will be supporting dedicated servers on both the consoles and PC, so expect little to no lag when experiencing Homefront in 2011.
Although we weren’t shown much more than two maps and one game mode that expanded in size with player count, Homefront’s presser did enough to put smiles on the faces of those involved. Next week, we’ll be visiting with the team again to see single-player mode in action, so keep an eye out for more coverage on THQ’s upcoming FPS darling.