It’s been out for around a month now, and if some of you can take time out of your day to stop playing Portal 2, we’ll have a talk about Homefront. Let me preface this by saying that this game is neither the prettiest nor the most polished game out there. There are only eight, that’s right, eight, maps, and you only get to play seven of them in one of only two fucking game modes. Battle Commander is not a game mode, it is what I’ll call a sub-mode or a tack-on that adds variety. There are only twelve weapons, and they are mostly assault rifles. To be fair, you’re better off with one of the two SMGs, or at least I find that to be the case. That is, of course, unless you play Team Snipematch, where the wookies get their camp on.
Griping aside, the game is a real blast to play when you have a team that at least knows what it’s doing. Can you carry a team in TSM? Sure. Build up enough BP and get yourself a chopper or a tank and go to town. Is it the same in Ground Control? No. You need a concerted effort, and here I’m going to tell you how to do that and what to use when. You can listen and maybe win a little more, or disregard and face the wrath of the eternal spawn trap.
Mechanics for the undereducated
If you’ve played most modern warfare shooters, the setup in Homefront should be fairly familiar. You have a gun, an attachment, two types of grenades, perks and a streak system. What’s different is the implementation of Battle Points or BP. Everything you do in Homefront rewards you with BP to use against your foes. Capture a point? BP. Kill assist? BP. Kill a guy? BP. Battle Points are worthless, of course, unless you spend them, and there are many ways to do that.
The cheapest ways are not necessarily the most useless, however. Each class comes with two purchase slots that range from marking drones (a paltry 200 BP) to cluster bomb air strikes and Hellfire missiles (1600 and 1300 BP each). There are remote controlled ground drones to take down vehicles and infantry, flak jackets and personal UAVs, ammo resupplies and more at your disposal. What most people save up for, of course, are vehicles. At the start of the game, you can jump straight into a Hummer, but those are just easy points for the guy with the rocket launcher or C4 equipped in a purchase slot. The big bucks go for Abrams tanks and Apache helicopters, at 2000 and 2800 BP respectively. That might not seem like too much, but it can take time if your game is slow. Tanks are better for Ground Control because they are less vulnerable when taking points. Helis are best for Team Snipmatch, if only because the Wookies almost never have rockets equipped, and vehicles remain in the air until you shoot them down.
Do you want pew pew or boom boom?
Ground Control, for those who don’t know, is like Conquest in Battlefield or Domination in CoD. Team Fortress 2 doesn’t have a comparable game mode, except maybe on 5 CP maps, though it’s not exactly the same. There are either two or three rounds to every Ground Control game and a twenty minute timer for all of it to happen in. When you spawn, three points unlock. You capture these points and gain ground on the score meter above the minimap. Once you max out the bar, the round ends and move on to the next. The second round decides the game most times, one way or another.
For the first round, what role you choose determines your weapon choice as well as ability and purchase slot choices. If you are the rusher who wants that first point (halfway to B and halfway to the closer point), you want an SMG, preferably the Vector (Super V) if you have it. I think its damage and rate of fire are the same as the Diablo’s, but its range is significantly farther when it comes to damage dropoff. It’s a fairly low unlock too, so it’s not hard to come by. Equip it with a silencer or a red dot sight, and you have yourself a beast of a weapon. While the silencer severely decreases your range, it keeps you off the minimap when firing, though people with ears will still know you’re in the vicinity envisioning their impending deaths.
If you want to play area denial while still remaining an asset to your team, go with the wide array of assault rifles. I recommend the ACR for closer engagements and the Scar for mid-long range. Both work with red dots and holographic sights. Their iron sights are great, so you don’t need that attachment. 40mm shotguns, I’ve found, are useful for those up close engagements if you have a good shot.
For those of you who believe K/D to be the stat that is in direct proportion to the size of your e-peen, snipe. Both the semi-auto and bolt action rifles require a headshot to kill in one shot, so no quickscope for you! You must sit on the outskirts of the map, far from the objectives and enemies to be effective. Everyone will hate you, especially your teammates when someone like me gets a three man knife Wookie fest in the killfeed. That was a good day.
Turn the other cheek
Once you either secure the first round or lose it, the second round begins. For the winning team, you are at a disadvantage in the short term. The losers are at a long term one. As you spawn in for the losers, you have a third the distance to travel to capture the points, and most of the winning team is still at the last set of objectives. If your score bar fills up half way before any resistance occurs, be afraid. Your foes are implementing the strategy that Ground Control requires for consistent, if not quite so humiliating, victory.
The idea is this: win the first round and build up BP. Use round two to build up more BP through kills and the occasional cap to force a retaliatory strike. Lure the first-round-losers into a false sense of security with their second round win, then bring out everything with round three. The situation switches in this final segment. The team who won first spawns closer to the third set of objectives, which are the same as round one’s. From there, all a team need do is slowly push the second-round winners back into their spawn with tanks, choppers and more tanks. Because of the overwhelming number of vehicles, in most cases, the poor saps who won the second round find themselves spawning and subsequently dying within a few seconds. They probably used up all of their BP in their only victory, and now have nothing left to give except their worthless little lives.