What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Homefront is a graphically violent first-person shooter containing profane dialogue. Players kill countless North Korean invaders who want to take over the U.S., and there are many disturbing urban-war related scenes, such as a child witnessing his parent being shot, people executed on the street, and a truck slamming into someone. Blood sprays from enemies, is puddled on the streets, and can be seen smeared on windows. Players can also blow up enemies with grenades or by shooting pumps at a gas station. It's possible to snipe enemies in the head from great distances. Note, as well, that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 editions support open online play. Common Sense Media does not recommend open online communication for pre-teens.
What's it about?
Set in the near future, HOMEFRONT's "speculative fiction" forecasts the unifying of North and South Korea, which later leads to the takeover of Asia and an attempt to occupy the United States. Gamers play as a civilian-turned-freedom fighter, who escapes imprisonment and fights back against the Korean occupation with other American citizens. The intro sequence sets the disturbing tone for the game by showing players what's happening to U.S. civilians. By picking up a few dozen newspapers strewn throughout the game you'll unravel more of the backstory and the events that led up to the 2027 invasion. The game was created by one of the writers of Red Dawn and Apocalypse Now.
Is it any good?
Homefront is a good -- but not great -- first-person shooter. The story is certainly one of the game's greatest strengths. Since it's a scenario that *could* happen in the near future and because it takes place on the West Coast of the United States, it might hit home for some. A scene in which American citizens are arrested and executed and another involving a battle on the Golden Gate Bridge are particularly stirring. The single-player story is only about five hours long, but the multiplayer is fun and should add some longevity and replayability. The visuals, voice acting, and music are competent, but not particularly special. In the end, Homefront is a solid B-grade title that puts its compelling story and setting first while delivering some fun and frantic action sequences, too. Note: Homefront is the same game regardless of the platform on which it is played.
Online interaction: All three versions of the game support online play against up to 31 other players. Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 players can chat while playing online. This means they may encounter foul language, be subjected to inappropriate subjects of conversation, and could potentially share personal information.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about whether the game's dramatic story -- penned by John Milius, co-writer of Apocalypse Now and Red Dawn -- helps immerse players in the situation. Does the idea of an invasion on U.S. soil in the near future evoke an emotional response in you? Does it make the game more interesting than blasting away at aliens on another planet?
Families can also discuss the game's depiction of war atrocities. Did viewing these sequence set in America and featuring American civilians make you think about similar events that have happened elsewhere? Can a game be an effective tool to make players sympathize with the struggles of people in other parts of the world?