Quite a lot has been revealed so far about Homefront's single player campaign; players will take control of remnant Americans who're trying to fight off an invasion by the Greater Korean Republic. However, we recently got the chance to go and check out a pre-alpha build of the multiplayer component, as Kaos Studios and THQ lifted the lid on some modern military action.
This component of the game takes place around 2025-2027 and, as with the single player, it focusses on the conflict between the resistance and the Greater Korean Republic. The resistance have gained a bit more of an arsenal though and can now use pretty much the same tech as their Korean adversaries.
Ground Control was the mode on display at the event, and the objective here is to hold control points. When they're held, your team gains a score and the first team to reach the designated score wins. At the end of the round, the target points change dynamically and action starts again instantly. There's nothing new here. However, what is new, is that Kaos Studios are calling the "evolving battlefield." This concept could be what helps the game's multiplayer separate itself from the various other options out there.
It's called an "evolving battlefield" as the conflict will change over time. What starts off as a skirmish between infantry can escalate into a skirmish between infantry, tanks and helicopters. However, it takes time for this to happen. That's because of Battle Points - a new system which allows players to purchase things during a match. Battle Points are awarded for getting kills, assists and most importantly, for achieving objectives. And the more Battle Points that are accumulated, the bigger toys that can be bought.
This might start off relatively small, like buying an RPG while in the midst of combat, or it could be rather big, like buying a helicopter for use on your next spawn. All this consumes Battle Points though, so you can't constantly spam-buy helicopters - they have to be earned. and this in itself should make people appreciate more what they have. It's not like other games where everyone fights for the vehicles, now the vehicle is solely yours.
It could be a really good system, but due to some balancing issues, vehicles didn't seem to turn the tide in battle that much. We got to check out two maps, one of which had remote controlled drones as the "next stage" of combat, and one of which had full on tanks and helicopters. While the one with proper vehicle was more large scale, the small scale battle felt more intense and more attune to what the game was trying to achieve, setting-wise.
It's worth noting that Battle Points are instance specific, so every round starts off with the default number - they can't be carried over. However, experience is rewarded based on performance which can be used to unlock various items. It's unclear exactly how this will work though, as while Battle Points were awarded most for achieving objectives, the leaderboards were purely focussed on kills and assists.
The gameplay was pretty good, although it felt a little loose. It didn't take long to acclimatise though and after a while it felt pretty good.
Once the balancing is sorted out, it could be a really fun game to play online and Kaos certainly have time on there side. Sure, there were a few bugs and glitches here and there, but even though it was pre-alpha, it could probably stand up against quite a lot of games that are already out. If the community adopts the title, Kaos and THQ could have a winner.