May 31, 2016

Homefront The Revolution - Review

Homefront is a series about Americans resisting the occupation of their homeland by Korean forces, by using guerrilla tactics and methods in order to become free people once more. The Revolution is set in the year 2029 and is set in a different timeline than that of the first game, with this time it focusing on the people of Philadelphia fighting back.

The story starts off with the player Ethan Brady helping out members of a resistance cell, just as members of the KPA burst through the door and arrest them. When Brady comes too, he is tied up and the other members of the group are starting to be questioned, harshly, about the location of the resistance leader Ben Walker and just as your companions are killed, Walker busts through the door and saves your life, but is injured in the process. After escaping to relative safety, Walker sends you out to get supplies and contact the rest of the resistance, but as you return, Walker is arrested by the KPA and you have to head to meet the resistance alone and this is where the game really kicks in.

Over the course of the campaign, you meet various people within the resistance, from the tough as nails Dana to the sympathetic Dr Burnett and others, the problem is each of the characters you interact with are so one note that once you get told what they think, they never change. There are loads of resistance members that you can find throughout the city, but they are all interchangeable and offer no reason to care about them. Crawford and Parrish are the most interesting of the resistance, but even they tend to be one sided for the most part, but they do offer the most interesting character arcs. The story itself is pretty by the numbers and does nothing that challenges you, except by causing events that you must play through.

It is the gameplay where Homefront The Revolution shines, while you attempt to liberate sections of the city at a time, you can reclaim former resistance bases and take over KPA facilities to give yourself more ground. This works out in your favour in two ways, first that you gain more spaces to rest and resupply as needed, but secondly, it removes more and more of the KPA from an area, which is more important than it sounds. The areas are broken up into types, Red are locations where the KPA will shoot anyone suspicious on sight and Yellow, where there is a basic semblance of life as it used to be. The distinction in the two zones is what keeps the gameplay for being to similar all the way through.

The different zones allow for different ways of playing, with Red zones being more about open combat, shooting and what not, whereas Yellow zones require the more stealth like approach, keeping your weapons concealed and staying out of sight of the KPA. Because of this dual nature, when one area starts to feel repetitive, you move onto another and start anew, which helps keep things fresh. Red zones will make the shoot first type feel better as if they are not with the resistance, they are the enemy, but the same is said of the inverse, the KPA will hunt you down and shoot you, if you are spotted by them. The biggest difference for the Red zones is that there are loads of snipers and airships around, which means you will always feel the presence of the KPA. Yellow zones are still covered with KPA, but there is less of an overhead presence and as long as you avoid the patrols and cameras, you should do ok.

What stands out though is in the ways you can tackle taking strongholds and such down, you can approach directly, which is not really advised, or you can be a real daredevil and launch a motorbike over the wall, or you can us a number of gadgets to gain access. How you approach will impact the enemies’ response, go in guns blazing and they will descend upon you right away, take the silent approach and you can deal some damage before you get noticed. This multiple approach also carries over to the weapons and gear you can use, at first you get a pistol, standard weapon, but you can then modify it, to make it more like an Uzi, but if you want, you can swap back to the pistol or even change it out to be more like an air rifle. Each variant of the base gun has its perks and choosing the one that suits your playstyle is going to be important to you and the same options are available for the other weapons as well, but taking it one step further, you can also change the sight for the gun, grip, barrel and more, making each gun truly your own.

As far as multiplayer goes, the game does not offer the usual fare of deathmatch and such, but instead takes four players and assigns them to complete objectives, much like you would do in the single player. However this is not a multiplayer version of the single player campaign, this is a new story driven experience, the only real difference to this is you are likely to have better luck with other human players than with the games AI in the single player, but don’t let that think you will get off scott free, the game is more challenging when playing with friends. Given that you need to be able to work with the players you are playing with, friends are key to having fun in this mode, random connections can drag it down if you get a bad group. The gameplay elements from the single player mode are here though, so even if you are all sporting the assault rifle, you can still have wildly different results when you modify it. What makes both single player and the multiplayer modes hard to enjoy though is the controls, even just accessing the map is strange, but more than that, the shooting mechanics are too loose at times, then too hard and all that stems from the games technical issues.

Every time the game saved, usually when taking over a stronghold or quitting the shop, it would lock up for a good five seconds, every single time, if it auto saved other times it would happen as well. The first few times it happened, I got angry at the game, but as I played more of it, I knew it was going to happen, so I made sure to account for it. Sadly, if that was the worst issue, things would not be so bad, the game suffers from exceptionally long loading times, so going between the areas is something you will want to avoid doing unless you need to. The other problem is the engine is not able to keep up with the vision that the developers had, with textures flickering in and out, constantly, enemies and allies alike, both getting stuck on stairs, in doors and more and finally things just appearing and disappearing at random. That in and of itself can be a pain at the best of times, but I had more than a few instances of enemies spawning right behind me and one case of next to me, while I was trying to be stealthy, which resulted in my death.

Homefront The Revolution is a game with a lot more ambition than most, sadly though its technical faults hold it down way too much, but, no matter how many times I had issues, the game still kept drawing me back to it. If a post release patch fixes the issues with the game, it will be something really worth playing, until then only the most dedicated to should enlist in this revolution.

Thanks to Deep Silver for supplying the game for review

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