GAME REVIEW | "Homefront" Sequel Lacks Spirit of True "Revolution"
Cold and emotionless.
This is how I felt during my time with Dambuster Studios' Homefront: The Revolution. I remember playing the first game back in 2011, and while it wasn't perfect, Homefront made me feel something as I tried to free America from its North Korean invaders. There was tension, shock, and fear all throughout the original's campaign, giving you reason to care for the soldiers around you. Homefront showed you why the need to fight was there.
How sad that Homefront: The Revolution couldn't do the same. Instead of a will to live, this poor sequel could only give me the will to shut it off and put on something with actual personality.
Completely wiping away the back story of the first game, Homefront: The Revolution instead tells of a tale where North Korea has become a technical marvel, to the point where everyone in the world owns something created by the country. The economy of the United States has collapsed, with North Korea stripping away America's supplies and shutting down the entire US military. Taking place in 2029 -- four years into the occupation -- you play as Ethan Brady, who gets attacked by the KPA during a visit from freedom fighter Benjamin Walker. After Walker is captured, you are tasked to find the Resistance headquarters, rendezvous with the top aides, and take down the Korean invaders.
The game's biggest issue is its way of telling the story. You're seemingly dropped right in the midst of when things have gone the most sour on American soil, as your character is dragged around to accomplish task after task after task, all of which gets rather same-y the longer you play. Take down some Korean soldiers, grab an item or save a life, then head either back to the headquarters or towards the next mission. Lather, rinse, and repeat; only instead of using shampoo and conditioner, you're filling your hair with battery acid and the tears of sad puppies.
A story needs to have something to drag a gamer in, and the best way to do that is with the characters it surrounds you with. Unfortunately, the characters this Homefront sequel/reboot tosses your way have no real justification of why you are doing the things they're tasking you to do. Yes, there are bad people doing bad things to your country, but with "allies" like Dana Moore and Ned Sharpe, I'd rather be on the winning side instead of the one clawing its way to breathe again, especially with the way these people treat you throughout the game. When you start to wish to see the bad guys be victorious in their actions, that's when you know you've failed at telling a good story. (I may take a swing or two at Call of Duty from time-to-time, but even I can admit that Activision at least tries to fill its franchise with some sort of emotion!)
What's worse is that The Revolution's combat system is one of the worst I've come across in a first-person shooter in ages. Aiming seems non-existent, as even when using my scope my bullets don't seem to hit the targets I'm trying to take down. Ethan shoots like he's never held a gun before the events of this game, and odds are his shoulders must be covered in nasty bruises from not holding a rifle properly. The only time I could take an opponent down properly is via a melee attack, as if my shooting techniques can only serve as a distraction for my so-called allies. At least pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails hit their mark, although you'll be riddled with enemy bullets after one toss.
An open world game must leave something for players to want to seek out and explore, and sadly there's nothing of that sort here. There is nothing remotely catching about this futuristic Philadelphia, as I'm surrounded by rubble and despair at around every corner. Yes, it's trying to convey the message that America has gone to Hell under Korean rule. However, without an inkling of hope, there is no reason to trek through and search for necessities & clues to keep the fight going (something that indie darling This War of Mine was able to encapsulate so much better).
Glitches are everywhere throughout the game, with allied resistance fighters sometimes getting stuck inside of me as I hid for cover. Every time I reached a checkpoint, the game froze for roughly ten seconds as it saved my progress. Framerates would dip lower than the current worth of a British Pound, adding on to the many other frustrations this game throws at you at every turn. These sorts of errors would be okay if it were a PS2 game, but on a PS4 title, it's simply unforgivable.
The only thing I can say is redeeming is the game's Resistance Mode, where you and three other players online can take on missions, level up your characters, and earn some perks. It isn't as glitchy and a nightmare to deal with as the main campaign, but it surprisingly has more fun with its surroundings thanks to the fact that you're not alone in this battle. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend a $60 game just for its online mode when something better like Overwatch is around.
For those who can get through the game's 30-hour campaign, I commend you for your services. This here reviewer could only last seven hours before turning it off and putting on a game that actually makes me feel something. There's so much a man can play before having their well-being sucked away, and Homefront: The Revolution showed me that there are things in life that aren't worth suffering through.
- Has a substandard co-op mode
- Lackluster story & characters
- Missions get repetitive
- Horrible control scheme
Homefront: The Revolution lacks any sort of feeling that its predecessor had, and instead goes the route of yet another open-world shooter without any sort of soul intact. What could've been a nice returning franchise is instead a wet blanket of a game. Homefront: The Revolution is the gaming equivalent of a fart stuck in a hurricane: it lacks the power of its surroundings, and it just plain stinks. Take my advice: if you want to play a revolution-worthy game that has you taking down some bad guys and is filled with much personality, stick with Broforce.
PS4 review code provided by Heather Sorensen of Tinsley PR