“Homefront: The Revolution is an open-world first person shooter where you must lead the Resistance movement in guerrilla warfare against a superior military force.
A living, breathing, open world responds to your actions – you and your Resistance Cell can inspire a rebellion on the streets and turn Occupation into Revolution, as oppressed civilians take up the fight.
But your enemy has the advantage – superior technology, firepower, heavy armour and air support. You must learn the art of guerrilla warfare – ambush, sabotage, infiltration, deception – and fight a running battle through the war-ravaged suburbs of Philadelphia.
And the single player campaign is just the start – in Co-Op you and your friends can form your own Resistance Cell and become renowned as Heroes of the Revolution”
– The official Homefront: The Revolution website (https://www.homefront-game.com/)
– Lengthy campaign that offers plenty to do –
The developers have previously boasted that the game features over thirty hours of content to play through and to their credit they were pretty accurate. Whilst there are plenty of enjoyable campaign missions that progress the story with a good variety of objectives and hectic set pieces, the bulk of those thirty hours is spent working through the game’s side missions.
Whilst Homefront: The Revolution feels like a cinematic shooter, it actually plays more like a Far Cry title. You’re given a huge open area to explore that’s split up into different districts that are each full of collectibles, side missions and an enemy threat that you’re able to nullify.
Again, like the Far Cry games, you’ll eventually be able to take control of each district in the game and convert what was once a Korean controlled zone into a safe haven for you to re-supply or seek a brief moment of solace from what is otherwise a deadly warzone. You can do this by gaining the support of the citizens of Philadelphia through completing what can often feel like menial and repetitive tasks, though they provide enough challenge to keep you entertained.
– Visually impressive world –
Homefront: The Revolution was built using the CryEngine – the same engine we’ve seen in visually impressive games such as Crysis and Ryse. Those games looked fantastic and it’s the same case here.
Given that there’s a huge open world to explore in Homefront: The Revolution I expected there to be a lot of sacrifices with the detail in-game, but fortunately it constantly impressed me. Whilst I can’t vouch for the game offering a perfect recreation of Philadelphia’s landmarks, the game world itself actually felt like a desolate, war-torn city. Environments varied up between areas and constantly looked impressive with great lighting effects and a dynamic weather system that looked astounding at times – it’s not always sunny in Philadelphia it seems. Even the day and night system sets up an impressive atmosphere with the ominous night time vibes making evading the Korean People’s Army all the more daunting.
Character models looked great too, even if they are nothing more than your generic solider-types for the most part. It’s just a shame that the game’s technical issues end up taking away from the impressive visuals – more on that later though.
– Enjoyable gunplay and weaponry –
There’s actually a surprising amount of tension involved in the shoot-outs of Homefront: The Revolution, even if the enemy AI is a bit of a mixed bag. The enemies are an overly suspicious bunch and if anything weird starts happening they’ll actively pursue the cause – you’ll have to sneak around and carefully monitor their movement patterns if you want to try and evade them. On the other hand, when you do get into a shoot-out they don’t actually do much to protect themselves – they’re fairly stationary and will simply keep shooting until one of you go down.
One thing that Homefront: The Revolution certainly isn’t lacking in is it’s weaponry choice. Whilst you have your standard range of weapons including the likes of handguns, assault rifles and shotguns, you’re able to customise them on the fly. This opens up so many different options – whilst there are standard customisations such as integrating a scope onto your assault rifle or adding a suppressor onto a handgun, you’re also able to make extreme modifications such as turning your shotgun into a flamethrower. It’s great to have this freedom to customise your weaponry, especially in the middle of a gunfight.
Most importantly though is that the guns are enjoyable to use. They look great, they’re effective and they sound impressive too. Homefront: The Revolution has its fair share of issues but all of its gameplay mechanics are competent, the gunplay itself providing entertaining FPS action.
– The story never hooks you in –
The premise of Homefront: The Revolution is a fairly unique one – what would happen if a unified Korea managed to invade the US? The game sets itself up with an alternate timeline where North Korea dominated the world of technology with countries like the US depending on them on both a technological and military basis. When the US’s economy collapses, a newly unified Korea sees this as an opportunity to invade. Thanks to a backdoor in the technology they provided the US, they’re able to nullify the US military and easily invade and occupy the country leading to years of oppression and brutality for its citizens.
Of course, the US won’t stand down without a fight – that’s where you come in. Taking on the role of silent protagonist Ethan Brady, you join a group of resistance fighters who are looking to topple the Korean regime. There’s a lot more to it than that, but in honesty the game’s story never does enough to really interest you in what’s going on anyway.
The characters you meet are stereotypical, the events that occur aren’t really surprising and nothing ever happens that makes you feel emotionally attached to ‘the revolution’. Sure, the Koreans are a cruel bunch and there are plenty of dark themes tackled, but it just didn’t do enough to interest me. None of it’s bad by any means – it’s just a case of everything feeling both predictable and offering nothing new. It’s a real shame too, especially considering how intriguing the premise of the game is.
– So many technical issues –
Whilst Homefront: The Revolution gets a lot of things right, it’s all overshadowed by the myriad of technical issues that plague the game. There are frame rate drops, game freezes, graphical glitches, the game’s physics going out of control, missions completely bugging out – seriously, there are so many issues with the game that it borders on ridiculous. The game never feels unplayable but it’s certainly noticeable when it randomly freezes for five seconds or when an objective for a mission doesn’t seem to complete. I’ve heard the Xbox One version doesn’t have as many issues as the Playstation 4, but issues were certainly apparent during my playthrough.
The developers actually mention in the credits about the troubled development that the game went through, though it had hardly been a secret over the past few years. It’s a real shame – Homefront: The Revolution has a lot to offer and if it spent a little longer in development it might have offered completely different experience. I’m hoping the game gets a few patches over the upcoming months that fixes most of these issues.
– Lack of multiplayer content –
Homefront: The Revolution features a co-op multiplayer mode that allows you to team up with three other players as you tackle a variety of objectives. It’s actually pretty enjoyable, though it’s let down by the lack of content. There are only six maps in total and they don’t offer enough variety to keep you hooked in for a long time.
There’s always the opportunity for more content to be released in the future, but for now I’ve only got a few hours play out of multiplayer before getting bored. It features progression that differs from the single player mode but there isn’t really enough to motivate you to stick with it over the long term.
After looking forward to Homefront: The Revolution ever since its reveal, I can’t help but to feel disappointed with the final product. It’s not that it’s a bad game – it looks great visually, there’s plenty to do in the meaty single player mode and the weapon customisation and gunplay is great fun. It’s just that the game’s technical issues severely outweigh everything the game does right. I can look past an uninteresting narrative and lack of multiplayer content, but I can’t look past the frame rate drops, random freezing, glitching missions or all the other issues that plague the game. Whilst they don’t make the game unplayable, they’ll certainly take away from the enjoyment of it.
I’m not writing the game off yet though since I’m hoping that Dambuster Studios can release some patches that fix the game and turn it into the great experience I know it can be. For the mean time though it’s difficult to recommend Homefront: The Revolution, especially when there are so many other first person shooters out there that function properly.
Developer: Dambuster Studios (www.dsdambuster.com)
Publisher: Deep Silver (www.deepsilver.com)
Release Date: 19/05/2016
Format(s): Xbox One (Reviewed), Playstation 4, PC