One of the first reviews for THQ’s Homefront has come out revealing how its single player campaign clocks in at around five hours long. Before you could say “lets not chastise a game before we’ve personally had a chance to play it,” it seems some members of the internet have proclaimed this to be unforgivable. But PSM3 who wrote the review stated the relatively short length wasn’t something they were particularly fussed about and the annoyance was because they had such a good time with it, not because the reviewer felt Homefront was lacking in anyway or that it wasn’t long enough.
An acceptable game length is and always will be an often debated topic but shorter experiences shouldn’t always be thought of as such a bad thing. If you finish a game feeling like you had a fantastic time with every minute used to entertain, then five hours of said fun seems perfectly acceptable. I can’t personally speak about Homefront but everything I hear about the game suggests the single player is incredibly powerful with a deep and sometimes disturbing storyline. PSM3 said: “Homefront is relentlessly brutal and constantly puts you in new, unusual and memorable scenarios, varying the pace to keep things interesting.” And that sounds pretty interesting to me.
The other option for developers who aren’t confident enough to release a game with a shorter campaign is to unnecessarily lengthen the scenarios, adding pointless turret and vehicular missions or even forcing players to back-track just so the experience feels more like eight to ten hours instead of five. I’ve played my fair share of these games and frankly don’t like them with too many never being completed. From the increasing evidence gained by publishers and developers, I’m not alone. Teams are revealing how only a certain percentage of people who buy their games actually finish them the most famous of these being Mass Effect 2. Only 50 per cent of players got to see the ending. Now while a plethora of reasons can be behind consumers not finishing games, length is undoubtably a factor. The longer it is, the harder it is to find time for it especially with all the new releases coming out every week.
I’m not advocating shorter experiences for every type of genre nor am I suggesting that people shouldn’t question just why they’re spending around £40 for less than a afternoon’s worth of gameplay but everything needs to be looked at in perspective and each game’s length is unique to the experience. Re-playability helps tremendously and in the case of Homefront, its multiplayer modes are getting just as much praise as the short but loved single player campaign.