When entering the first-person shooter genre any developer, and publisher, will be well aware that there are so many FPS titles out there with budgets bigger than NASA’s annual spend. It takes serious guts to take on the FPS juggernauts out there and that’s why Homefront: The Revolution is ambitious, but sadly ambition alone doesn’t make a game great, and I suspect developers Dambuster Studios had a few problems in getting Homefront: The Revolution out on time.
Something borrowed, something new
The best way to describe Homefront: The Revolution would be calling it an urban Far Cry with a dash of Freedom Fighters thrown in. It’s an interesting combination that makes for a fun game that certainly trumps the first Homefront title. The premise of the game is that the US has spent decades relying on Korea for most of their imports from technology to even weapons. Eventually the US is in a position where they can’t pay back their massive debt to Korea and the Koreans end up pulling the plug on all their technology leaving the US crippled, which leaves the front door open for Korean soldiers to stroll in and make themselves at home on US soil.
In a town called Philadelphia
It’s a very far-fetched and has your typical generic storyline, but it does the trick in terms of setting the scene for a post-apocalyptic Philadelphia. After a drawn-out tutorial you are finally set free to explore the ruins of Philadelphia to try and capture key strategic points in an effort to take back the city. Once you capture points they become strongholds for your freedom fighters and a base of operations for you to operate out of. You can recruit other rebels to join you before you tackle a stronghold, and surprisingly they actually do a good job of keeping the enemies back and in return giving you a chance to activate a radio beacon or whatever other acts of sabotage that need to be played out. There are three zones in Philadelphia: Green, Yellow and Red.
As you can imagine the Red zones have the strongest military presence and are the hardest to liberate. Liberating districts leads to the people fighting back and changing the physical look to each location, which is a nice touch as it looks like an uprising has taken place instead of just having people stroll down the street thanking you for your efforts.
Loot and shoot
Homefront: The Revolution actually has a very good looting and upgrading system. Downed enemies drop money for upgrades as well as other goodies to help you in your fight. Once you have enough cash you can head to a stronghold to buy upgrades and then equip them where ever you are, just like in Crysis. The weapon upgrade system looks like it was ripped straight from Crysis actually, which makes sense since the game runs on the latest Crytek engine. The engine allows Homefront: The Revolution to look the part with locations in the game being highly detailed and atmospheric. Everything from lighting to the very impressive character models are on point, but it comes at a cost sadly. That cost is performance, and while my rig managed to keep the framerate above 30 FPS in most areas, at high settings, there were a few performance drops in certain locations. The PC version could use some performance optimization but luckily it doesn’t suffer from the terrible framerate the console version does.
Homefront: The Revolution is anything but revolutionary in terms of gameplay but it does have a few great moments even if the story is completely forgettable. I personally thought that Homefront: The Revolution would be a bit of a disaster after hearing all the negative reviews but I found my time with it rather enjoyable. I had fun creeping around Philadelphia under the cover of darkness planning my next ambush on unsuspecting KPA soldiers. Sometimes I would equip a Sniper rifle and get to a vantage point just to pick off a few soldiers for the hell of it. Even if it didn’t actually make any difference to the game, it still felt rewarding to me.
Homefront: The Revolution is a little bit of a mindless shooter thanks to its silent protagonist and weak story but there is a fun game underneath all the boring storytelling. There is even a 4 player co-op mode where you can tackle objectives all over Philadelphia to add a little extra meat to the bone. So, at the end of the day would I recommend Homefront: The Revolution to FPS fans? Yes I would, well certainly the PC version that is, there is certainly fun to be had with the latest Homefront, but it’s the kind of fun that could maybe wait for a sale.