A Crysis on the Homefront

Aloha! Given my recent discussion of FPS games and the highlight of one of my referenced articles being Homefront, I figured I’d give a bit of an update now that I’ve finished playing it and also pair it with my initial impressions of Crysis 2.

So, in my previous discussion(s) I talked about how the length of a single player FPS (First Person Shooter) campaign will naturally vary given the game and the varying levels of detail, storytelling etc… That being said, I can say that Homefront felt far too short. Many people have complained that games such as Call of Duty: Black Ops and both of the Modern Warfare games are short, but while I felt personally these other games were a little on the short side, their stories unfurled and concluded in logical ways. In contrast to these games, however, Homefront was decidedly too short. To prevent spoiling any of the plot for people I won’t mention specific but the game stops right at the point where you would imagine that you are about to head into a massive battle to retake a US city. What instead happens is you assault a bridge into that city and then once you take the bridge, BOOM, Game Over. The whole storyline of the game right from the beginning and the reason the player finds himself as part of the resistance is because the player’s character is supposed to be especially suited for aiding in the takeover of the city in question. Granted the skills they mention as necessary do help one get to the bridge assault in the first place, but on and on throughout the game the whole goal of the resistance is to takeover the city, not just get there and control a single bridge.

Despite this deeply unsatisfying ending (which is not because of the brevity of the campaign but the point at which it concludes) the game is somewhat enjoyable. It’s a good shooter, great graphics, nice standard FPS mechanics but the intro scene which literally had my jaw wide open with shock and disgust is never matched. There’s even an almost equally shocking scene further into the game where we’re shown what the enemy is doing to the people it’s finished with but for one reason or another the impact of that scene is totally lost. I’m not sure whether it’s the firefight just after it or just before it or whether it’s the fact that it takes place in a rather badly lit area at night and the true face of the situation is hard to discern but I personally shrugged it off as just a part of the scenery, which is fairly contrary to my normal reaction to these kind of things. (Apologies again for the vagueness but I don’t want to ruin anything for anyone)

That intensely emotional intro scene sets things up so nicely for the rest of the game to full of anger-fuelled action, but it seems to just start with a bang and then fizzle out to an unsatisfying, undignified end. It’s a shame really.

So, upwards and onwards to Crysis 2. Dear sweet Zombie Jebus, what an awesome game!! I merely played 3 hours of it yesterday and I already love it. Remarkably it’s a marked improvement over the first two games, Crysis and Crysis: Warhead. While it’s yet another virus outbreak plot centred in New York city (like Prototype, I Am Legend etc…) the unique and awesome character of the Crysis backstory and the sheer power of the nanosuit make it a completely unique experience. While I eventually finished Crysis, I got bored with Crysis: Warhead and to be honest I’m rather sick of jungle/island based Crytek adventures given the Far Cry series and the two previous Crysis games so the urban landscape is not just a welcome relief but it feels so more natural and normal. The destruction of the city around you also brings lots of variety to the action. At one point you’re fending off an assault on a warehouse lab where enemies are lobbing grenades through the skylights and a helicopter is gunning for you and the next you’re using thermal vision to make your way through a massive cloud of dust after a tremor collapses the parkway you were about to traverse. Speaking of cool tech, the upgrades to the suit over the previous iteration is extremely welcome and the overhaul of the user interface is extremely intuitive. While the middle mouse interface is cool it doesn’t beat the quickfire swapping available with the keyboard shortcuts and certain things like Strength and Speed have been integrated into melee and running in very obvious and natural ways (though I would like the ability to run without draining my suit battery). Any game that lets you power kick an entire car 20m away is a great game in my book!

I also love the fact that you gain the option to add additional abilities to your suit, it felt very Deus Ex to me, which is great since I love that series and I’ve been eagerly anticipating Human Revolution for months now.

I still have a lot more of the game to play so I may just come back with a more in-depth review, but those are my initial impressions thus far!



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