When we were suggesting games for our list of Most anticipated Games of 2015 I threw Homefront 2 into the mix. Two days later, when the laughter had died down and they finally realised I wasn’t trolling, they wanted to know why. ‘It’s simple’, I told them. ‘Because the original Homefront is one of the best FPSs I’ve ever played!’ (But with a hell of a lot of caveats!).
Now before I go on, I’m not talking about the single player campaign, which was the worst kind of linear shit imaginable. The protagonist can fly a helicopter and operate any number of guns and explosives, but can’t open a simple door for himself. Before you access each new area, you have to listen to two or more minutes of pointless, uninspiring NPC drivel, before they’ll open the door/hatch or just move out of your fucking way so you can proceed (In case you can’t tell, I’m not really known for my patience). If you didn’t have an internet connection or bought it because you wanted to relive Red Dawn, then You’re Going To Have A Bad Time. Even being written by Hollywood legend and original Red Dawn author John Milius couldn’t save it. The characters had no personality and it was too short — little more than an extended playable trailer. It was obvious that this was filler, an afterthought. But that didn’t matter to me because back then I was all about the multiplayer.
But I heard from Youtubers it was shit, what do you know? More than you, if that’s what you think. First off, consider who its peers were. If you wanted to make it big on Youtube in 2010-2011, you had to fanboy either Call of Duty or Battlefield — fuck playing anything else, or your precious subscribers might leave you.
If you were a squeaky-voiced pre-pubescent with a penchant for tea-bagging dead men’s faces with your hairless nuts, you played Call of Duty. Activision were flying high, living off the macho gun boner people had/have for Modern Warfare 2: Camping and Killstreaks. Twitch-shooting and postage-stamp-sized maps satisfied the ADHD kids, who ranked up faster than the score on a pinball table in the hope of hearing the infamous siren and the words “Tactical nuke… incoming!” The problem for me was that this was all to easy to get: pick an area, stack your killstreaks and then ruin everyone else’s game. We won’t talk about the lag — okay, maybe just a bit. Yes, there was built-in lag that allowed you to cut corners with the peer-to-peer connection, and relying on players to host matches meant relying on their own connection speed, stability and reach, hindering everyone connecting to them and giving them an unfair advantage. That is, until they quit mid-round and you had to wait patiently until a new host was found.
On the other hand, if you thought of yourself as a more mature gamer you probably picked up Battlefield: Bad Company 2, with it’s huge maps, destructible environments, vehicles, squads, bullet drop and free DLC. Yes, free!! DICE even made a point of taking a swipe at the CoD franchise and it’s love of charging for additional content by saying they would never charge for additional DLC. BC2 was a casual shooter executed perfectly, showing everyone that you could run a profitable game and still use dedicated servers. But it had been around for a while and was getting old, and even when you take into account the excellent Vietnam expansion, it unfortunately couldn’t hold my interest forever. So, I was on the look out for something to pass the time with until Battlefield 3 came along (and it’s paid-for DLC, DICE either having forgotten what they’d said or been bullied into charging for it by EA).