Homefront: The Revolution
Deepsilver – Dambuster Studios – 1 Player – Available now on PC, PS4 (version played) & Xbox One
US invasion is a subject that isn’t often touched upon in games. There’s been a few crop up from time to time, like the impressive Freedom Fighters, which saw the russkies take the east coast, Turning Point: Fall of Liberty, which imagined the Nazi’s trying to take over, and of course there’s the original Homefront, which saw North Korea invade. Homefront: The Revolution continues in the same vein and shows us how North Korea invaded the US through technology and arms deals. The original Homefront was not particularly successful, and critically panned. So with expectations not particularly high, how does The Revolution measure up?
The first hour is very exposition heavy, with there being more videos and conversations than actual gameplay. The opening video is wonderfully 90’s, with a mixture of actors over CGI backgrounds. The way it’s rendered is actually pretty decent and the lack of actual acting prevents it from becoming a Command and Conquer esque camp fest. However, this doesn’t last as the game then opts for character models that wouldn’t have been out of place in your average Xbox 360 shooter. The first couple of missions are slow ambles from A to B with barely any action involved as the story is set up. Once you’re armed and you’ve completed the first couple of missions, it switches from a linear crawl to an open world with access to vehicles (well, a motorcycle) and fast travel networks. Whilst the first couple of hours are pretty unremarkable, with more and more mechanics and side missions being introduced, the gameplay becomes compulsive. Once you start occupying various areas of town, you start recruiting more civilians to the cause by planting propaganda, reducing military presence, and showing the oppressed masses that they no longer have to put up with this oppression. The more areas you capture, the less of a presence the Korean army has and the uprising gets stronger.
Even on the lowest difficulty the game can be tough going, with some missions and sections being very challenging. Unlike a lot of FPS’s, you can’t just run in guns a blazing. You need to attack your opponent using your surroundings for cover, as staying exposed can make it easier for you to get cut down. Add to that the enemies flanking you and you really have to think on your feet. Normally if it’s just one on one, a quick knife to the jaw or eyeball will see you on your way, but when there’s a few enemies surrounding you, you definitely need your wits about you. Luckily there’s ways of distracting the enemy, allowing you to strike while their attention is diverted. Alternatively there’s good old fashioned explosives, for when things get worse. A molotov cocktail tends to get the bad guys stopping, dropping and rolling.
There are some excellent weapons on offer, all of which are made of reclaimed parts from the enemy and can be modified and upgraded. They range from handguns to semi automatics, and automatic rifles to rocket launchers, as well an array of IED’s. Getting to grips with weapons is no walk in the park. Remember, you’re an average Joe, standing up against an invading army, not a weapons expert. Each weapon takes some getting used to and you pick up on their advantages and restrictions. Some work better in ironsight mode, whereas others can work better just shooting from the hip, so to speak.
There’s a multiplayer mode which switches the action up, and you can participate in skirmishes against the Koreans, taking out their arsenals and strongholds etc. You can do this with several other players, but much like the single player campaign, you can’t just run and gun, you need to watch your back as well as your team mates. If you get shot down there’s no respawning, you have to rely on your team mates to come and revive you. The multiplayer is entertaining but not quite as engrossing as the single player story. However…
The frame rate dips quite often and the game freezes momentarily when progress is saving, which can happen regularly when reaching checkpoints etc. This can become a frustration, particularly when you’re in the middle of a fire fight. This, at the time of writing is apparently being worked on, so assuming a patch is released that sorts out these issues, the performance of the game will be vastly improved. Another issue, that at the moment could be potentially game breaking, is the game crashing and shutting itself down. This has happened several times on the same mission and in fact has halted progress to such an extent, I’m not sure it’s possible to finish the game using the save file. And it’s too disheartening to start from the beginning after all the progress made. Hopefully this gets fixed soon so we can re-evaluate the game and enjoy the rest of it, as the way it was heading was actually rather promising. Until then…