If you want to make money by selling video games, then a good place to start is with the first person shooting genre. In recent years it is this world of fast paced destruction that has near-on single handedly pushed the gaming industry into the huge business it is now. But going into the FPS scene is tricky – you’ll find yourself going up against some huge names with the likes of Call of Duty, Battlefield, Titanfall and Destiny all vying for gamer’s time, effort and money.
To compete, you therefore have to ensure you have a product that is solid, is full of flair, devoid of issues and packed with enough content to bring in the masses. Homefront: The Revolution unfortunately struggles on each and every front.
Homefront: The Revolution is set in an alternate history, one in which a North Korean company are developing high grade technology – a technology that America wants to use. With the Koreans eventually deciding to supply the US with their best weapons for a huge payment, all seems good, until that is an economic downturn sees payments denied and the US struggling to reach the original agreement. This is when a killswitch on all the weapons are engaged, leaving the States defenceless and allowing the Korean’s easy access to country resources, stripping it for everything it has got. It is from here that you’ll find yourself taking control of Ethan Brady, seeing him wandering the streets of Philly in an attempt to establish some kind of Resistant movement against the occupiers.
It all sounds like a decent enough premise but without beating around the bush, it’s a little bit boring, with neither a strong enough character or well delivered storyline helping push matters along. Much of that though could be put down to the way the gameplay plays out and is delivered; it’s laggy, it’s stuttery, the visuals are slack, and it’s full of many other problems that keep it a world away from the huge titles I’ve already spoken about.
In short, it’s a bit of a mess and the only thing that does save it from becoming a complete and utter disaster is a co-operative multiplayer mode that is decent fun to play through. The rest though? It is anything but that.
The voice acting is poor and not something we’d expect from a modern day game, whilst the cut scenes that go with them are far from outstanding. They do however still come across as stunning when you put them alongside the terribly slack in-game visuals. Whilst at times things can look okay at best, at others the weapons that you hold will be missing detail or will disappear entirely. The same goes for when you look around at your resistance colleagues and I’ve lost count at the number of times I’ve noticed a guy wading into battle pretending to hold a gun, but never actually remembering to take one with him. The same kind of visual issues take hold as you find Brady getting mixed up in structures once too often, in scenes that resemble something from many decades past.
The audio is also pretty disappointing and never portrays the tense atmosphere or war torn scenarios that you find yourself in. That said, when you do decide to go into a fight, it can turn out to be fairly involving, with cover shooting, run and gunning and some fairly deep tactics needed to be utilised. At other times though, we’ll find a swift shot completely missing its target, and all hell beginning to break lose. It is normally about this time when it’s best to run and hide, normally in a dumpster, until the AI quickly decides that it wants to forget about any misdemeanour you may have pulled off. Of course, you could also attempt to stealth your way around, forgoing the need for too much in the shooting department, but with an opposition who are fairly trigger happy, especially if you step into the ‘wrong zone’, you will find that no matter how good your intentions, things quickly go tits up.
And that is something which sums up Homefront: The Revolution perfectly. Something which has gone wrong in many ways.
As for the actual gameplay though, movement is stodgy at best, but it’s nice to see a simple parkour feature included. Once again though, actioning the required movements is a bit of a struggle. Multiple button presses are required and even then, whether they work or not is entirely in the lap of the gods.
One other thing that is in the hands of the almighty are the missions…but for a good reason. In fact, the missions found in Homefront are well varied and allow you to at least try and mix things up between stealth and all out attack should you so wish. With customisable loadouts, gadgets and tools that are pretty much changeable on the fly due to a decently deep weapon system, this means that you can go into battle in numerous different ways should you so wish…even attempting the same missions in various forms when the inevitable happens and you need to respawn. Dropping back into the same mission, with a completely different plan is exciting and exhilarating. Or it least it would be if The Revolution allowed it.
So, whilst I’ve tried to enjoy the single player game, it really is a struggle throughout with objective and mission checkpoints messing with your head at every opportunity. Once you’re done with everything in the single player – and if you can manage to force yourself through to completion, then you’re a better man than me – then it may be worth checking out the Resistance Mode – the online cooperative offering that just about saves The Revolution from utter despair.
Now, I can’t for one minute sit here and say that all the problems found in the single player are not present once more when taking to the fight with a friend or three, but whether it’s the distraction of having someone to talk to, or just the fact that by human nature you will be concentrating less on the numerous problems, the multiplayer mode included is quite good fun. The servers are strangely well populated too (or at least they are at time of writing) and so whether you can coerce friends in or not, should find a number of mission and scenario options available to you.
With a character setup that lets you mess around with various weapons, skills, consumable boosts and clothing, whether you decide to focus on the brains, brawn, fighting or survival side of things, then the choice is yours. The various missions and multiple difficulty settings allow those who really do enjoy their time with the Resistance a chance to head back in time and time again in order to increase XP and cash rewards.
But, in summary, Homefront: The Revolution is a rather average game that becomes disappointing thanks to its many flaws. The writing may have been on the wall with one of the worst betas in recent memory pointing to something that was going to struggle to enthuse many, but I don’t think anyone realised just how ‘slack’ it would become. That said though, if you can grab a few mates, or wish to try your luck with others in the co-operative scene, and are quite happy to look past the visual oddities, constant freezing and lag (three things that afflict both single and co-op modes), then it may just be worth checking out.
There’s a hell of a lot that you have to ignore though and that will probably be too much for many to bear – especially in a world in which we can go deep with a number of other shooters that do everything so much better.