If there’s a game which hasn’t had an easy time of it lately, it has to be Homefront: The Revolution. This reboot/sequel to 2011’s Homefront, which attracted mixed critical response at best, was originally announced by former publisher THQ, before being picked up by Crytek UK, and finally Koch Media’s Deep Silver publishing arm. As a result the game has also had a series of different developers, ending with Dambuster Studios who, at long last, have brought the game to the masses.
This has a few nice touches, like the fact that your character’s former occupation gives a bonus, such as a Pharmacist getting a bonus to reviving allies or a Receptionist being less likely to be targeted by the enemy (Mostly Harmless). The mode consists of attacking or defending missions of up to four players which involve you moving between areas taking out infantry and vehicles in a by-the-numbers fashion.
The characters who you meet on your quest to restore the US (or Philly, at least) to its former glory don’t prove particularly useful (or even memorable in some cases). All your fellow terrorists seem to have a particular look and attitude problem, and though you can recruit individuals to join your squad (though it isn’t clear how many…) they tend only to follow you around and alert the KPA (Korean People’s Army), rather than giving you a tactical advantage. It might be unfair to expect a detailed set of commands, to position them to perform sneak attacks or distractions, but it could have enhanced the gameplay considerably.
The game’s world - somewhat unusually - is open-world in nature, setting it apart from many other shooters released since the original Homefront came on the scene. Yellow zones are a slightly more civilised affair, as you operate covertly to win the locals over, whereas Red zones are the real battlegrounds, destroyed and war-torn to the extent that you could hardly imagine them being rebuilt when it was all over.
The gunplay itself starts off irritatingly inaccurate, making upgrading the base weapons a must.
Players can also take on side missions (or Strike Points) to take out enemy strongholds and supply lines to gradually take over the map, in a similar way as you would in something like Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. Unlike Syndicate however, these side missions don’t appear to vary; they pretty much all seem to involve going to an area, clearing it of enemies and pressing a button. In fact if you can get to the button then sometimes that’s enough to clear the area anyway.
The gameplay itself isn’t robust enough either. There is a great gun modification system which means you upgrade guns on the fly to make a pistol into an SMG, for example, but the upgrades and the base weapons use different currency, making the system itself frustrating. The gunplay itself starts off irritatingly inaccurate, making upgrading the base weapons a must.
One of the biggest marks against the game overall are the technical limitations. From the outset the load times into the game and levels themselves are huge, giving even Grand Theft Auto Online a run for its money. Not to mention there’s two or three seconds of lag whenever you leave an armoury menu or open a door. On top of that there are numerous issues with traversing such a complex map, which lead to your character trying to mantle over something and ending up perpetually falling just a few centimetres off the group, or being unable to navigate easily at all.
All in all it’s very disappointing to see the game come to this, when there are so many good things in the mix. Unfortunately though, they are largely lost as the game takes cues from other titles, but doesn’t deliver on them as effectively as it needs to. With a campaign which reportedly could last you as long as 30 hours (presumably only if you do all of the extras the game has to offer), repetition sets in quickly and the with the lack of inspiration from the characters or variety in skirmishes thanks to the inconsistent AI it’s no surprise.
If you’re after a quirky shooter experience then there’s certainly some interesting ideas, but not the substance or execution to back it up.