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Homefront The Revolution Review - No War Of Mine

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I've played 10 hours of Homefront: The Revolution, and that's more time than the game deserves. I wanted so badly for the single-player campaign to be good, but it's not. It's terrible and boring, but most of all, it's a bit broken on PC. In retrospect, Deep Silver's advertising of the game now looks like a big con. They promised "30 hours of dark and brutal storytelling," and after playing through one-third of that story, I can tell you it's a bad playact - and that's all there is to it.

A bad playact

  • All image are screenshots from the PC version
  • Specs: Radeon 9290 OC, i7-4790K

Yes, it's very harsh calling a game a bad playact, but allow me to explain. 

It's a playact because it looks like Deep Silver took some game mechanics that made other games great and placed it in Homefront: The Revolution. It's a bad playact because the game has no soul of its own.

  • Character variety - (strong females, two black leads etc) - check
  • Clear mission structure - check
  • Plenty of side quests - check
  • Weapon variety and customization - check
  • Efficient interface/HUD - check
  • Movement variety - motorcycle is awesome, traversing is cool
  • Location unlock & fast travel - check

The above list is an indication of the many good gameplay mechanics and elements you'll find in Homefront: The Revolution. But playing it feels like the game is a mannequin with nice apparel draped over it. There is no story, no spark, to bring it to life. 

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Meet Dana Moore, one of the characters I was very curious about and excited to meet. In the story trailer, she is shown as a ruthless and deadly resistance fighter. She is also one of the movement's top cell leaders and a tactical leader. In the game, her "ruthlessness" is shown by a few words she drops now and then about killing or torturing people. That's about it. The devs never explain what motivates her aggression, or why she is into torture. Did she suffer at the hands of the KPA? Was her family murdered? Did she lose a child? Her aggression becomes meaningless dribble. There is also no backdrop or display of her tactical abilities or why she is one of the top cell leaders.

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The same can be said of Jack Parrish, leader of the Philadelphia resistance and its greatest tactician. The only thing Jack repeats is that you have to save Ben Walker and so save the resistance. There is not a single character that makes you care about them or their story. There is no story, and this makes it impossible to immerse yourself in the game, or care about the revolution.

Gameplay should be your trump

Story and characters aside, perhaps Homefront: The Revolution provides engaging enough gameplay and action to justify its existence. Sadly, that's exactly where the resistance falls flat.

The greatest flaw of the game is that the developer, Dambuster Studios, couldn't make all the different parts work together to form a complete whole. Some of the parts even struggle to function properly on its own. Homefront: The Revolution released about ten days ago, and they haven't yet given a patch to fix any of the numerous issues plaguing the PC version. That shows me they're in over their heads, and they don't know how to fix the game.

I've delayed this review in the hopes that a patch would at least fix the gameplay issues. I waited for something that never happened - and that sums up the overall game.

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As you can see from the screenshots above, there are some noticeable bugs. My PC is supposed to run the game on ultra with no problem, and it can do so - until it can't. When inside buildings, especially the safe houses, the environment and characters look pretty awesome. It lasts for a while when you move around in the open spaces outside, but it all comes crashing down when the action starts - and the more enemies, the worse it gets. The game grinds to a halt with terrible lag that makes it impossible to play. The framerate drops dramatically and it's like the game starts to freeze. Even reducing the quality to high doesn't help. There are times when the game simply lags too much to play properly. At times, the landscape also looks flat, almost like a curtain backdrop in a bad play.

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In closing; there are moments in Homefront: The Revolution when you glimpse a spark of genius. When you get a sense that there is a soul inside this mannequin, that's waiting to be resurrected. At times, I almost felt like I was in Half-Life's City 17, or in a Far Cry action scene. It's like Dambuster Studios overreached, and in doing so crippled something that could've been a very decent game. After playing the game at the SA launch event, Turkish said about HTR, "the game doesn't want you to play it," and those first impressions still hold.

If Dambuster can fix the issues, and lower the price (R589 currently), then I will highly recommend Homefront: The Revolution. Sadly, at the moment, it's a bad playact. Maybe Zombie_Dredd had a better time in the multiplayer division.

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Called a friend to join the Resistance

After my underwhelming beta experience with Homefront: The Revolution, I still had some hope that Dambuster Studios would manage to pull the rabbit out of the hat and present the world with a fully rounded single-player, co-op and multiplayer experience. Sadly, I also knew a full multiplayer component was not on the table and that would have been perfectly acceptable if the co-op mode – known as Resistance – brought something thrilling and even a little unique to the table.

The truth of the matter is that they haven’t. What is more disturbing is that with the original Homefront in 2011, there was the makings of a great full-blown multiplayer component if they simply spent a few months of the last five years between games working on it. It appears as if Dambusters wanted to carve their own path with the co-op missions, but they really missed the mark.

Always at a disadvantage

Much like the single-player campaign, the movement and gunplay in Homefront: The Revolution’s co-op is far from fluid, and when gunfights happen, you always feel at a disadvantage. And let’s be fair, gunfights will happen. While the co-op missions suggest opportunities for stealth and the various co-op missions offer both fixed and optional objectives, it takes one small misstep to bring the entire KPA (the invading Korean force) to your vicinity - and they don’t struggle quite as much with sluggish movement. On top of that, the game does suffer from performance issues that include temporary freezes and poor framerates.

And that is when you can actually find a partner to buddy up with. Much like the beta, the co-op world of Homefront’s Philadelphia is a desolate wasteland, and you will spend more time in the lobby than completing objectives. If you’re happy to do so, you can go it alone by setting up a private match and forgetting that you’re actually playing co-op missions. However, in doing just that, you realise the real potential for the co-op and teammates, as many scenarios would be better with an ally (or allies) watching your back.

The missions are also pretty varied - rescue captured rebels, blow up stock piles, ambush KPA patrols, repel invaders and generally shoot the bad guys in your neighbourhood - and with more promised in the future, there is definitely an untapped potential in the co-op.

And it is all a real pity, because much like the 2011 multiplayer that had promise, the co-op could have delivered an experience that would have kept players coming back. As it is, it seems players have already given up on Philadelphia and have left it to be overrun by the Korean invading army.

The sad end.

Han: Twitter / Zombie Dredd: Twitter/ MWEB GameZone: Twitter | Facebook


"waited for something that never happened"

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