Bring on the revolution.
The original Homefront launched way back in 2011 and didn’t exactly make a dent in the videogame market. Still, eventually Homefront: The Revolution was thought up and planned, but things didn’t really go smoothly from there with the title having an uncertain future and being bounced around a few different publishers before finally settling with Deep Silver and Dambuster Studios. In a time when games can be easily cancelled and disappear forever, it is nice to see a game fight the odds and survive to launch, but is it worth the investment?
There is a great premise behind Homefront: The Revolution. In an alternative future, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea have become the leading power for technology and weapons, so it stands to reason that they would eventually invade America and take control. It may be a bit far-fetched, but it is a great setting that is real enough to inspire a sense of revolution, which is pretty handy for a game called Homefront: The Revolution. So, the player takes on the role of the enigmatically silent Ethan Brady as he tries to incite that sense of revolution across an occupied Philadelphia. Join the resistance and stick it to the KPA.
While the setting is certainly a great idea in Homefront: The Revolution, the actual execution does fall somewhat to the wayside. The story suffers with a cast of mostly bland characters that just don’t have the depth to inspire a bake sale, let alone a revolution. There are a few stand out characters that are actually quite enjoyable, but they are overshadowed by the rest of the cast. The story itself just seems to dwindle along, serving only to move the player from one objective to the next.
Homefront: The Revolution is basically an open-world game which seems to have been influenced by more than a couple of other blockbuster games. In the campaign, players are given the freedom to roam around a decently sized map. Players pick up and complete side missions at their leisure as they work their way through the story missions, and the side missions are plentiful, offering players a chance to liberate Philadelphia one chunk at a time.
The city is broken up into different areas, designated by colours, that can offer the player a different experience. The Red Zone is in all out conflict and civilians are banned from roaming these areas. In the Red Zone, players will find themselves in battle with the KPA at almost every turn, and will find plenty of places to set up base and restock. The Green Zone is a peaceful haven for the rich and powerful, while the Yellow Zone is where the majority of the American people live in terrible conditions. From stealth to heavy combat, players will have to switch up their tactics through each of the different areas.
The developers have done a good job of making Philadelphia feel lived in and realistic. It really does feel like an occupied city that has slowly been chipping away at its control and working up to a full blown revolution. There are some really nice visuals in the game, the sort of thing that would make a player stop and take notice. However, the incredibly dull colour palette used means that the majority of the game is quite muddy and lacking personality.
Another place where things could be better is in the actual gunplay. The weapons lack weight, making the shooting imprecise, and the enemy AI seems to rely on being better equipped or having more numbers than actually intelligent. The combat is not that much fun at the end of the day, and considering how much there is in the game as the stealth mechanic doesn’t always work as well as it should, that’s a real shame.
On the flip side, the crafting system and weapon customisation is pretty cool. Players will find all manner of debris to salvage and make useful as components for the likes of hacking tools or explosives, eventually leading up to those cool radio controlled cars strapped with explosives. It is a great system. Equally, being able to customise weapons on the fly, and convert the likes of a pistol into a SMG to suit the situation, certainly brings some excitement to the combat.
Outside of the campaign, there is a co-op mode that offers various missions for the player to complete with friends. The short falls of the game are dispelled somewhat by playing with others, and the co-op mode is challenging and good fun. It is a nice addition to the game, but will only entertain for a short time.
Homefront: The Revolution has some great ideas, most of which are taken from other successful games. But is also suffers with lacklustre gunplay and a bland story. There is a good game here, waiting to come out and entertain. However, it is not quite there yet. Homefront: The Revolution at the moment feels merely average.