Homefront: The Revolution is a game full of great ideas, but is let down by it’s execution and a story that could have been so much better.
America has gone and got itself involved with too many foreign wars and made too many mistakes. They end up owing money to North Koreans who have an Apple-like status in the computing world. When they come looking for their money America tries to fight back, there is one problem though, all of the US’s military hardware runs on Apex Technology, which was created by, yes you guessed it, the North Koreans. They have the ability to switch everything off, and they do, easiest war ever.
Or so they think, there is a Resistance Army who are fighting back and you are about to be in the thick of it. You play as Ethan Brady, a silent but rather useful character who seems to be the only person capable of helping The Resistance free their inspirational leader, Benjamin Walker. You meet briefly at the beginning, he rescues you before being captured by the North Koreans. With Walker out the way its up to you and his most trusted compatriots to help rally the American people.
It isn’t long before you meet Dana, who loves any excuse to get violent, Jack, the man who is now in charge and Doctor Sam, who runs the various medical facilities and the only person who doesn’t want violence. Although I never really got on with any of the characters I felt a bit sorry for Sam, he was clearly a good guy in a terrible situation.
During the 20-hour campaign you are sent around the different parts of Philadelphia to complete a fairly repetitive set of tasks, you will move between two distinct zones, red and yellow. Red Zones would have the North Korean army shoot anyone on sight, whereas Yellow Zones gave you the opportunity to move with slightly more freedom, though you would still have to be careful not to get spotted by the North Korean troops in the open. Going through the different a zones is fun, especially the Yellow Zone, there will be small side missions that appear such as saving prisoners, or destroying equipment deployed around the city. Doing this will will inspire the American people to rise up against the KPA, when you reach 100% you’ll be able to broadcast an inspirational message that will see your people start to fight back. It’s great to see how the different parts of the city change when this happens, though the bloke just hitting a car with a baseball bat doesn’t appear to be helping very much…
The Red zone is a frustrating experience, the KPA have many ways of trying to detect the enemy, there are patrols, drones that fly round scanning areas, security cameras and a huge blimp, if they detect you they will do all they can to find you, there are spots where you are able to hide, if successful the manhunt will end, otherwise they will keep hinting until you are dead. This is where things become frustrating, enemies appear from nowhere, they are also complete bullet sponges. When the blimp finds you it sends a huge amount of enemies after you at once, giving you little chance to survive. It was a neat idea having to consider combat and movement at different levels, it’s just a shame the gunplay is poor. When you die you go back to the most recent safehouse you were in. Trouble is, that could be along way from where you died, so making your way back a third or fourth time can become quite tiresome.
What is great is the on the fly gun customisation. Pulling up the weapon wheel will give you the option to customise your weapon, providing you have the right amount of cash or upgrade points that are earned by completing missions. There are a good number of weapons you can play with, and there are also some cool gadgets to get your hands on too. My favourite is the hacking tool that can help you unlock doors or even change the propaganda on advertising boards around the city. You can even purchase remote control cars that can break into more secure areas.
Despite the weapons being quite good, the general missions and story are a let down, bar the odd interesting sections. Graphically the game looks quite good, especially the during the night, the lighting effects are very impressive. The audio is pretty good, apart from the constant soundtrack in the background which got pretty annoying after a while. Performance wise the game needs some real help, anytime you visited a safe house to restock the game basically locks for up to 30 seconds, I’ve also had to restart the game 5 or 6 times which is unacceptable. If they could do something to eradicate the issue it would definitely improve my experience of the game.
Thankfully, there is a small glimmer of hope for this game in the form of the co-op Resistance mode. This mode allows you to create your own member of the Resistance to take online with other players to complete missions. There isn’t a huge amount of customisation available to you features wise, but you can select a background for your character which will determine the skill tree your character will progress along. You can create multiple characters who level up independently, but unlocked equipment or currency you unlock is shared across them.
You can team up with three friends in Private mode or try your luck with three random players, the missions are fairly forgettable, but with the right players they can be quite good fun. At the end of a mission you can earn citations for meeting different criteria such as reviving team mates or collectively getting a certain number of kills. The XP you earn can be used to upgrade your character, and the money you earn can be used in the armory to buy and upgrade your weapons. If more missions get added to Resistance mode over time it will keep players coming back, but as with all games if there isn’t enough support it will lose momentum.
Homefront: The Revolution is game that has lots of great ideas, that end up not quite reaching their potential. The performance issues need desperately sorting out. Its well worth playing through the Co-Op missions but apart from that I’d wait for this to drop in price before thinking about picking this up.