Homefront paints a scenario where the United States has lost its status as a world superpower, and is invaded by a unified Korea in the year 2027. The player controls Robert Jacobs, a former military pilot, who is conscripted by the Korean army and released by a local resistance cell. Now on the run, Jacobs has no choice but to assist the resistance as they attempt to link up with remnants of the US Army outside San Francisco. Homefront was written by John Milius, the screenwriter behind Red Dawn and Apocalypse Now.
The single-player campaign follows Jacobs and three resistance members as they engage in guerrilla attacks and attempt to escape the walled city of Montrose, Colorado. Gameplay is modeled closely after the Modern Warfare series, and uses snap-targeting, aiming down the sights, and an identical control scheme. The player carries two weapons at a time, and weapons dropped by enemies have randomized attachments and scopes. The most unique aspect of Homefront's combat revolves around the "Goliath" robotic assault vehicle. At multiple points during the game, the player will use a targeting indicator to direct the otherwise-autonomous Goliath to fire on specific enemies or tanks. The single-player campaign received frequent criticism upon release for being uncommonly short.
Multiplayer combines elements of the Modern Warfare series' fast-paced foot combat with vehicle combat similar to Frontlines: Fuel of War. Players earn XP during matches which stays with their character and increases their overall "rank." Players also earn "Battle Points" during matches, similar to Counter-Strike, which are spent on new weapons, upgrades, and vehicles for that match only. A unique multiplayer mode for Homefront is "Battle Commander," where players are guided by an overseeing A.I. commander. Players will be automatically assigned objectives, including specific enemy players to hunt and kill. Performing objectives raises the player's notoriety, resulting in more important missions and greater support from the A.I. commander, and increased attention from the enemy commander.
Multiplayer supports up to 32 players (in two teams of 16) on both consoles and PC. Multiplayer also requires redemption of a "Battle Code" provided free in new copies of the game, or purchased separately; identical to EA's Online Pass system.