Like a bunch of people, I got really excited about Homefront. The marketing surrounding the game was great and the premise of battling the Koreans in an alternate reality San Francisco sounded outstanding. The fact that the makers of the above-average Frontlines: Fuel of War were handling development duties didn’t hurt either. Yes, Homefront had a lot going for it.
Well, we all know how that turned out. A little over a week has passed since its release and the overall response has been pretty “meh” at best.
The very average (and that’s being nice) Homefront raises a much more important question, though, about the video game industry and our buying habits: why do they continue to make average games, and why do we keep buying them?
My short answer is, “hope.” Yes, Obama used it, and yes, it’s a bit cliché—just work with me. It’s the only explanation that makes any sense. No one sets out to make an average game—just like nobody sets out to buy one—it just happens. Developers hope their final product is a good one and we hope our $60 purchase gives us hours of quality entertainment. But, developers run in to deadlines and certain features need to be axed and quality issues don’t get the time they deserve to be fixed. And I’m sure it’s just as annoying to the people that pour their hearts in to game development as it is for the end user. But, it’s a shame that the developers and publishers know about a game’s shortcomings prior to release and ignore them. I get it; they have made a large investment and must stay the course that their game is good. So they leave it to us and our $60 to find out of the disappointing dysfunction that lies ahead—and that can leave quite a bad aftertaste.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Three more months of development could have really helped a game with as much potential as Homefront and Kaos and THQ could have saved some serious face. Also, a $60 price tag on a budget title like Homefront is crazy. Yes, I called it a budget title. You can fool yourself all you want and try to justify your purchase of Homefront—but deep down you know it’s trash. The campaign is short (not that it bothered me because I prayed for it to end), the graphics are ugly, the server issues are infuriating and the fact that when I sell or trade it without that multiplayer code that shipped in the box, the next guy will have to suffer too is insulting. At $40, Homefront would be looking a whole lot better.
So, now I’m scared. I’m definitely venting about Homefront, since it was the last game I had this experience with, but it’s certainly not an isolated incident. There are so many shooters released every year and I keep waiting for that “next great shooter” to come along but continue to be disappointed. Will somebody please step up and dethrone Call of Duty sometime soon? I’m counting on you Battlefield.
The opinions reflected here are those of one Freek and KontrolFreek.com is not responsible for the things he says. In fact, no one here even likes him.