Homefront: The Revolution looked to be a game with elements of Dead Island, which sounds very intriguing and much larger in scope than the first game in the series. However, does this additional feature make the game any better?
Homefront: The Revolution has a great premise; the North Koreans won over America with its smart phones, and consequently their cheap, but high quality weaponry. The US goes further into debt and they find out that the North Koreans have put in a “back-door” to their weapons and switch off the country’s military in one fell swoop. They then come over to collect whatever they want.
You are welcomed into Homefront; The Revolution with a full motion video, real actors with CG effects layered on top, and this works quite well, it comes across as a news report but with a twist. The opening of the game itself is rather rote. It sadly falls into the classic tropes that have been done many times to set the narrative and make it clear who the “bad guy” is. You are taken captive and are freed from torture by the praised revolution fighter “Walker”, who then gets captured and the rest of the game is based on trying to free him in order to beat the “Norks”.
Homefront: The Revolution looks great, character faces are brilliantly modelled and the voice-overs are good too. Environments are densely packed and the overwhelming oppression is palpable, as it was in the original game. Expect to see civilians being harassed by their oppressors, and the streets littered with North Korean military.
The world of Homefront is littered with items to scavenge. Everything you pick up has a value, and these items are everywhere, in lockers, trash cans, boxes and more. You can sell everything and use money to purchase new weapons and upgrade them in the expected manner. You can also get attachments, and once you get a silenced weapon you will find the task of disposing the KPA troops very easy.
Homefront is now an open world game based in Philadelphia and influences of Dead Island definitely make it feel very different to the original. Parkour is added, and is a necessity to traverse the game’s labyrinth of broken down buildings and vehicles. This is where one of my major concerns appears; it is hard to tell where you can jump and climb. Certain locations are marked with the colour blue, however other spots are not, sometimes things look “climb-able” and yet aren’t. It just makes the game feel quite disjointed.
Disjointed is also a good word to describe the story, there are missions that require a lot of drawn out tasks. One good example is early on in the campaign where you have to go around causing trouble, in order to get the civilians to join your rebellion. It sadly feels like you are wasting your time with side missions. There are lots of side missions unlocked in the game too, as you complete certain objectives or hack transmitters to display new points of interest on your map.
Let’s talk about the glitches. You wouldn’t expect a game in 2016 and on the PlayStation 4 to be “buggy”, but for a seemingly “triple-A” title Homefront: The Revolution has a lot of small bugs. The worst by far is that the game freezes after completing a mission, or when you receive a new one. Everything stops for about 3-4 seconds and it is a very jarring user experience. This coupled with slower than normal frame-rate is simply unacceptable, and whilst the original game had issues too, I expected them to be ironed out by now.
Progression in Homefront: The Revolution is fairly well done, you definitely feel as though you are making a change and things are getting better. The more areas you liberate the stronger you feel, and purchasing upgrades and weapons really helps sway the battle in your favour, perhaps a little too much. By the second half of the game it feels as though you can’t be touched by the antagonists, and you are simply playing with them. This is both good and bad, it makes the player feel empowered, but at the same time removes a lot of the challenge from the game. This is perpetuated by the horrendous enemy AI.
There aren’t many first person open world games based in cities, and one of the most lauded franchises in this genre is the Far Cry series. It clearly has a structure that Homefront tries to follow, but somehow falls short of. The campaign is a solid 20+ hours, and has its good points, and if you can look past all the issues it could become enjoyable. Sadly the bar has been raised, and Homefront: The Revolution falls beneath it in almost every aspect.
- Replay Value