Dated, Buggy & Boring – Homefront: The Revolution Review (PC)

Dated, Buggy & Boring – Homefront: The Revolution Review (PC)

*PC version reviewed*

Homefront: The Revolution has a lot of history. Spawned from the ashes of THQ’s final attempts to stay afloat, Dambuster studios was left to finish work on the game. Stuck in development hell, The Revolution has been passed around various developers, all while a new generation of systems of arose. Unfortunately for the final product, its history shows.

The plot is still set in the same established of the 2011 original, only this time with a new cast of characters. Player’s jump into the boots of Ethan ”Birdy” Brady, the youngest member of the resistance. After years of Korean rule, the resistance is rising, with Brady lighting the fuse.

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A rare time the game can look okay

In all fairness, Homefront: The Revolution does a fairly decent job of building its world. Streets are littered with the KPA ( Korean People’s Army) and oppressed civilians. Propaganda booms from every street corner, the military presence looms over each and every street corner.

Homefront’s plot attempts to come off as a tale of struggle, while proposing ethical questions. Various actions during the campaign force the player to listen to ham fisted attempts at drama along with winks and nudges towards the value of human life. This is where things quickly get messy.

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This as far as stealth goes

For all the decent work Dambuster have done crafting a occupied America,  every character in it is detestable. The protagonist is a mute, pushed from pillar to post. Within the first five minutes of the campaign, the player is introduced to the core of the Resistance. They kidnap Brady and begin to threaten him with torture and murder. These people act like demented serial killers, enjoying the though of cutting Brady up. These people are supposed to be ‘the good guys’.

Homefront’s story is confused mixture of Teen-adult drama and neutered pondering of the price of freedom. The game’s core missions involve being dropped into a district of the city, tasked with taking out KPA targets. Enemy checkpoints, trucks, resources and propaganda are all there for the taken. After taking out 100% of KPA assets. The district will rise up in rebellion.

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Watching districts descend into chaos is one of the very few good things Homefront has to offer

The results of Brady’s actions does have a tangible effect. Streets with become awash with anti-KPA graffiti, civilians begin to protest. Upon the player’s mark, the resistance takes to the street. Soon the district is ablaze with flames and gun fire. Civilians will beat KPA forces to death, as well as laying into the environment.

All of this is followed with the before mentioned questions of how ethical the revolt is. Characters go from fighting for freedom to pinning the loss of life squarely on Brady’s shoulders. It’s not subtle, nor does it ever feel compelling. In truth, nearly every character comes off as bipolar. One moment they lambaste you, the next they support and order you around. It destroy any sense of immersion, trashing the attempts to build a believe universe.

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Many already destroyed cars will be beaten…some post boxes too

Homefront’s problems aren’t limited to its story. The game is trapped in 2012, doing little new or interesting. Player’s will experience everything the game has to offer within the first five hours. Clearing out each district is hugely repetitive, mostly due to repeating the same objectives over and over. Go there, destroy that, kill this guy, repeat. It never changes.

Each zone is essentially a checklist of chores. It’s a design structure seen in Ubisoft titles like Far Cry 3, a game that has had a obvious influence upon Homefront: The Revolution. With very little variation between objectives, single player quickly becomes a frustrating grind with a even more frustrating story to accompany it.

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Animations tend to create laughs…for the wrong reasons

The only  interesting element the campaign offers is the weaponry. Players can scavenge bits and bobs scattered across city, using it to craft weaponry and tools. Molotov cocktails, bombs and hacking devices all provide some flashes of fun. All three can be enhanced by buying upgrades at rebel camps. Weaponry can be altered to create more powerful fire arms, all by the touch of a button. Attachments and stat boosting gear can also purchased, supplying some very light RPG elements to the core gameplay.

Away from the single player, there’s a four player co-op campaign. Each mission tasks players with either attacking a KPA position or defending a resistance post. Player’s use created character by choosing their background and speciality. Character backgrounds provides a perk, most of which buff stats or effectiveness with certain weapons. Further customization comes in the form on unlocking clothing and gear via crate bought with in-game currency.

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The co-op campaign’s visuals are lowered, making it look like a Xbox 360 games

Homefront’s co-op campaign has its moments, but it is nothing more than areas from the single player cut down to size. It feels quite cheap, even more so given the lack of missions available. With each mission rewarding players with experience and money, you’d think there would be some depth on offer, not quite. Levelling is a slow process, with most of the skill trees never offering anything all that appealing or tangible. Unlocking items is a case of dumb luck, cheaply adding replay value in the process.

Boring gameplay and dated mechanics are one thing, but there’s much deeper issues at play. Homefront: The Revolution is plagued with technical issues. Even when the game is running on low, medium, high and ultra, it stutters spurts. Dropped frames are common place, even though the game never looks up to snuff. Homefront’s visual quality looks dated and tired, making the frame rate issue questionable.

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This is not rare, 80% of the NPCs will hover around

AI seems to struggle throughout the game. KPA soldiers will walk into walls, stick to obstacles and just stop reacting. The same can be said about friendly AI. Most NPCs will constantly walk into the player or stand on top of planted explosives. It seems anything that is angled has the ability to trap AI into a constant loop of running on the spot.

The biggest issue is tied to one of the core mechanics. A number of times throughout the game, liberating districts became impossible due to objectives never registering as completed. When this happens, players can no longer progress. Trapped in a state of limbo, the only answer is to reload a save and hope it was before the issue arose.

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Homefront: The Revolution is not fit for release. Its development hell is clear for all to see. The game is frozen in time,complete with dated mechanics and gameplay. Bland visuals, awful performance and filled with bugs, this game had no business being released. Dambuster Studios have said they plan to address the frame rate issue, but that’s just one of numerous issues.

It says a lot when Homefront can release in its current state and have the gall to offer a season pass. Dated and only partly functional, this revolution is not worth your time until its patched and on the cheap. Development hell claims another victim.

 

Sean Halliday


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