Developed in concert with Kaos Studios, the PC version of Homefront has received additional resources courtesy of publisher THQ and Digital Extremes, a studio with a strong PC gaming background that most recently collaborated on BioShock 2’s multiplayer mode. Lavished with attention, the numerous unique custom features enrich the gameplay experience in a way impossible on consoles.
First and foremost, Homefront on the PC is playable in full 3D courtesy of NVIDIA’s 3D Vision technology. Through the use of in-game effects and native support for the 3D Vision system, Homefront players can experience an extra level of immersion that would be otherwise unobtainable.
Texture and effect detail has been enhanced significantly, ensuring that that the expanded memory capacities of the latest video cards are utilized for players with top-end hardware. Peripheral owners are also catered to thanks to the inclusion of joystick support for helicopter piloting and more realistic, less arcade-like controls that allow those with the necessary talent to perform feats of daring-do impossible with the standard control scheme.
Drawing on Digital Extremes’ multiplayer pedigree, Homefront’s thirty-two-player multiplayer mode has been similarly enhanced. Leading the charge are dedicated servers, the most requested feature of any multiplayer game thanks to the smoother, fairer online experience that they provide, and because of their increased flexibility, allowing administrators to remove troublemakers and cheaters, and to modify or amend the default gameplay setup.
Players receive their own improvements in the form of squad management controls, advanced voice over IP systems, multiplayer match recording and playback, immersion-boosting first-person vehicle controls, bespoke anti-cheating software, and the inclusion of Valve’s Steamworks multiplayer suite to allow players to earn achievements, see a visual representation of their performance on leaderboards, and to view detailed statistics about their own actions and those of others.
To differentiate itself from any number of other multiplayer action games with player levelling, Homefront makes use of a per-match mechanic in addition to the ever-popular progression systems of its peers. To enhance a player’s potency in each multiplayer round, abilities, vehicles, air strikes and equipment can be purchased through the expenditure of Battle Points, a currency earned through the completion of objectives and the killing of enemy combatants. Battle Points also bolster the amount of experience earned at the end of rounds, dictating how fast players level up. With each new level players are allowed to unlock the aforementioned abilities, so, for example, a level six player can spend three-hundred Battle Points at the beginning of a match to purchase improved body armour to help them kill numerous players. Having done so, the player can then spend two thousand Battle Points on a devastating aerial bombardment that cleanses the map of any additional enemies. A level two player, meanwhile, may only be able to unlock the armour and purchase several lightly armoured vehicles, having yet to unlock the airstrike due to a lack of level-up points.
Kaos Studios hope that this complex-sounding system will allow players to differentiate themselves on the battlefield and create unique, personalised load-outs that appeal to their sensibilities and their play styles. And to guarantee the multiplayer mode’s longevity, Kaos Studios and Digital Extremes intend to support Homefront with downloadable content and free updates, ensuring that their first-person shooter remains one of the most played on the PC long after the tyrannical North Korean forces have been vanquished from the story-led single-player campaign.