Better dead than Red? You'd think it was the 1980s all over again...

It's been a little over 25 years ago since writer-director John Milius first unleashed his action flick Red Dawn on filmgoers, telling the tale of a band of small-town teenagers fighting back against Soviet forces who had invaded the country.

Skip forward to the present, and Milius has been mining similar ground once again, this time in the employ of game developer THQ, producing the script for this entertaining first-person shooter set is a near future America that has been occupied by a United Korean army. (Fittingly, it recently came to light that the movie remake of Red Dawn, shot in 2009, but held up due to MGM's money troubles, was having its invading army changed from Chinese to Korean in order to maintain the former country's lucrative box office).

Homefront certainly makes a great first impression, with a lengthy opening sequence detailing how the United Korean force became a significant world power 15 years from now and how various global events took their toll on the US and its economy, leaving it ripe for the picking by hostile forces. It's a superb piece of scene-setting and world-building that leaves you chomping at the bit to pick up a gun and start mowing down enemy soldiers. And before long, that's exactly what you'll be doing - following other rebels into battle against overwhelming odds, with a variety of weapons at your disposal.

World at war
Visually, the game isn't the most impressive FPS you'll ever see, but the inventive and superbly-realised locations allow it to rise above most faults in this area. Battling your way through hostile forces in everyday suburban streets, scrambling through back gardens and houses as you look for an escape route, is just so much more imaginative than having the same sort of experience but setting it in bland military base or on some alien world.

The action (Homefront's key ingredient) is extremely satisfying; loading you up with an expansive arsenal of weapons mainly looted from the bodies of slain enemy soldiers. Each gun carries an impressive weight in the game world and they all have a unique feel when used - allowing you to quickly develop your own tactics based around your preferred weapon type (for us it's all about sniping and 'scopes). Indeed, the only real issue we found is with grenades, which feel a little weightless in the game, making it a bit tricky to work out exactly where you're throwing them (a problem when several of the missions involve taking out sentry guns that can only be destroyed by a grenade).

So far so good, but all of the single-player fun comes to an end far too soon. Lasting a little over five hours, Homefront's Campaign mode is simply far too short. What's here is fun, but if you're playing on your own, it's not difficult to feel like you've been shortchanged - especially considering that Milius' enjoyable script is clearly building to something that never happens. Really, given the effort it put into setting up this world and briging it to your console, the least the developers could have done was give you an entirely satisfying story to play through, rather than leaving you feel like they just got fed up and bailed out on things around the half-way mark.

Waging war online
Thankfully, salvation is at hand for those of you who prefer to do their shooting online. Homefront comes with a pleasing suite of multiplayer options that should keep you going long after the campaign has faded from memory.

Admittedly, the choice of Team Deathmatch or Capture and Hold modes might seem a little limiting, but both have been implemented expertly, providing plenty of fun for those who enjoy Call of Duty-style online action, but are getting a little tired of playing those same maps over and over again. And things really get interesting once you start adding Battle Points into the equation. Earned during play, these can be saved up and spent on a plethora of new items or even vehicles that benefit either you individually or your entire team. It's a superb way of bringing a new tactical element into this familiar breed of online FPS, without overloading or spoiling the core gaming experience.

PS3 (version tested)/Xbox 360/PC, THQ, £50 approx, On sale now
HCC VERDICT: 3/5 (single-player) 4/5 (multiplayer)