I haven’t played many betas in my time. But all of them have been better than what I saw of Homefront: The Revolution. And, unlike some, I actually enjoyed the series’ original title.
We’d seen the war-torn (but still gorgeous) open world of Homefront: The Revolution in numerous game demos, but in the beta’s playable Resistance mode, we were given something totally different: a glitched game-world with poor graphics and even poorer controls.
For fairness’ sake, I’ll refrain from giving my actual verdict on the game; instead, I’ll discuss the game’s technical problems. And there are many.
Firstly, it feels slow. And I’m not talking about pacing – in that sense the game is fast, which only makes this problem worse. Compared to other modern first person shooters, where one’s character can traverse the environment seamlessly, characters in Homefront: The Revolution move as if they’re running through knee deep water. When you’re attempting – and I use the word attempting here because I very rarely succeeded – to move out of the line of fire and into cover, you want to move faster than a member of the Bob Marley fan-club. This really is a problem the developers will want to address.
To make matters worse, the problem extends to shooting, as well. Aiming your weapon isn’t so much aiming as it is wrestling your gun into place. And even once you wrestle your weapon in place, the shooting mechanics are terrible. Given that the game’s idea of difficulty is throwing intolerable amounts of enemies at you, the lethargy of aiming and moving do more than disrupt the flow of things, they make navigating through, or confronting, enemy hordes almost impossible.
On the topic of enemies, another glaring flaw is the game’s AI. Enemies either run at you, or at the noise you create. There’s no unpredictability or clever tactics, combat is simply a game of Bull Rush. And with your hindrances that movement and shooting pose, it’s a game of Bull Rush that you almost constantly lose.
The graphics are also appalling. In fact, if you just looked at Homefront: The Revolution, I’m almost certain you’d say it was a PS2 title. I do understand that the graphics in the beta are not those of the final release, but the look of a product is an important facet when considering the audiences enjoyment. If you’re releasing a game you need people to enjoy it. In short, the poor visuals are a fault in the foundations of an already jittery product.
But look, it’s not all bad. Infiltration was an interesting game mode, especially the vehicle escort at the end. Allowing everyone to loot the same bodies is also a smart idea – though it does put a little too much faith in gamers’ decency. And on the whole, Homefront does well at encouraging team-work.
Furthermore, the weapon customisation is an enticing idea – though not being able to customise your weapons from the lobby is ridiculous. In order to unlock upgrades and customisation choices the player must buy crates with cash made during missions – or, of course, actual money – and from these crates they will receive certain items. The weapon upgrade system was a highlight of the original Homefront game, and this new system twists it in a such way that players must sink time into the game in order to reap its rewards.
I’m honestly impressed that Homefront: the Revolution has even made it this far, as it’s been passed between studios like it’s the sisterhood’s travelling pants. Basically, Homefront: Revolution is the Dante Alighieri of games, in that it has been through the seven different circles of development hell. So kudos to Deep Silver for their diligence. But, as many disappointing sequels have shown us, development for the sake of development isn’t necessarily a good thing – stay tuned for my review of Assassin’s Creed Chronicles.
I’m still holding on to a bit of hope for the game. After all, I have only sampled a brief section of the co-op/multiplayer game-mode, and the single player experience is where the original game excelled. And maybe the studio will polish Homefront’s flaws in the three months before release.
Even so, I won’t be waiting outside Gamestation on launch day – more likely, I’ll be waiting for the Christmas sales.
Many thanks to Xbox for the code.