Title: Homefront: The Revolution
Platform: PC, PS4, and Xbox One (reviewed)
Developer: Dambuster Studios
Publisher: Deep Silver
Release date: Out now
tl;dr: Imagine this: Assassin’s Creed. With Guns. Poorly executed.
Price: $60 / £55 / €70
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
Homefront: The Revolution is set in an alternate history setting where the 1970’s digital revolution took place in North Korea’s Silicon River (today’s Ryesong River) instead of California’s Silicon Valley. This re-imagining of history brings us to Philadelphia in 2029, four years into the occupation, where the city is a heavily policed and oppressed environment by Korean People’s Army (KPA).
The game tells the story of Ethan Brady, a new Resistance member whose cell is expecting a visit from Benjamin Walker, leader of the national movement against the KPA occupation. While they wait for The Voice of Freedom (Walker), Brady’s cell is attacked in a KPA raid, and everyone is tortured in hopes they’ll shed some light on the revolution, but Walker arrives in the nick of time. After the impromptu rescue, Brady has to leave and make contact with another Resistance Cell. While Walker is captured from his safehouse, things go from bad to worse for our protagonist as he’s mistaken for a spy when he reaches the new hiding place. Thankfully, he’s recognized by the group’s leaders before he’s beaten to death. And from there, players are tasked to start up a revolution and take back Philadelphia.
What makes Homefront: The Revolution different from the formula of the FPS mold is that stealth is key. Whilst roaming around Philadelphia and scavenging every nook and cranny, the KPA forces are everywhere. Whether it be foot soldiers, armored truck patrols, flying drones, or cameras mounted on buildings, players need to carefully step around those obstacles in order to avoid being spotted and subsequently death. While one or two soldiers can be easy to handle, the numbers will increase rather quickly and they will come from all sides. Thankfully, players can evade enemy forces by either running away or hide in certain spots like garbage bins or porta potties. Trying to do this by going in guns blazing is a bad idea. The more soldiers players take out, the more the enemies increase, along with stronger ones and even armored trucks. Players will have no chance of survival unless they run away and hide until the heat dies down. Annoyingly enough, it’s possible to be spotted by enemies that are out of range of the mini map, making things quite frustrating as players scramble to figure out where the heat is coming from.
Players venture into one of the city’s areas and successfully accomplish various objectives such as rescue prisoners, conquer abandoned buildings, and disable KPA generators, among others. Finding and activating radios and transceivers in Strike Points will give control of a certain area to the revolution. The main issue is that once players are dropped in heart of re-imagined Philadelphia, they are very under powered to take on the KPA. Enemy forces are pretty much everywhere, making it difficult to even successfully accomplish the simplest objectives. Obviously, players can upgrade and purchase new weapons and gear. Unfortunately, it’s quite expensive, so it can take a some time before players are equipped adequately and actually feel like they have a chance against enemy forces.
The game’s A.I. isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. While enemy A.I.s will come at Brady like rabid dogs when they spot him, other times, players will be able to casually walk next to a soldier and shove their knife into their neck without being noticed. There’s nothing more hilarious than enemy soldiers running in circles in front of the player trying to find him. The protagonist can also recruit fellow soldiers to help him take on an army; yes, they’ll figure out how to fire at enemies, but most of the time, players will have to do the brunt of the damage. Additionally, when heading for objectives with a group, your fellow A.I.s will often run forward without waiting for the player, leaving the latter in a bind against five or more soldiers to deal with.
Luckily, if players get bored, they can tackle side-missions (such as bounty hunting) in order to earn some extra cash. Thankfully, there’s also a co-op mode which lets you tackle missions with a friend. The problem is finding someone who is still enjoying this game.
There’s also an issue with mission objectives. While most of the time, it’s clear what players have to do, often times, it can be frustrating. Players will be able to follow an icon on the the map, but arriving at a checkpoint, there can be some confusion. So while players run around like headless chickens trying to figure out what to do, it’ll increase their chance to be target practice for enemy soldiers.
Presentation wise, the game is lacking compared to other current gen games. While not a complete disaster, it could’ve seen a release on last gen. There are also quite a few performance issues. Most of the time, the game actually freezes when it saves; often times, I had assumed the game had crashed and was ready to reboot the console. I was actually feeling bad for streaming the game at some point, as I could only imagine how boring it felt on the other side. Plus, from afar, enemies can be confused with NPCs; with the bland and dark tones, it can be difficult to tell them apart. Audio wise, the score is drowned out by ambient noise of NPC chit-chat and cameras trying to spot you, so it’s nothing new and pretty much unostentatious. Voice acting performances are fine, but they lack conviction. As I played through the game, I felt like the dialog was forced and emotionless. Randomly yelling generic words won’t make players believe that they’re in the middle of a revolution.
I tired. Oh dear God did I try to like this game. I’ll be honest, the first few hours of Homefront: The Revolution were atrocious. I just wanted to slap myself silly to make sure it wasn’t a nightmare. While the premise was interesting, the execution falls flat on its face. It looks like a game that could’ve been released during the last generation of consoles and it feels uninspired and tedious. The shooting is pretty fun and customizing weapons on the fly is actually pretty decent. Players who have the patience to slug through the first few hours, don’t care about visuals and a very boring story will find a mildly decent game… just wait for a price drop or until it’s the bargain bin.
- The game released… I guess?
- A decent amount gameplay
- Great premise…
- …poorly executed
- So much loading
- Annoying technical issues
Homefront: The Revolution is rated M for Mature due to presence of blood, drug reference, intense violence, strong language, and suggestive themes. A revolution can’t happen without some blood being shed.
This review is based on a retail copy of the game